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Griffins off to Best Start in Franchise History

December 7, 2013 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - No team in the 18-year history of the Grand Rapids Griffins has possessed a better record through 23 games than this year's edition, which improved its AHL-best mark to 17-4-1-1 (0.783) with a 3-1 victory over the Rochester Americans on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

Petr Mrazek earned his ninth straight win as a Griffin behind 29 saves, leading Grand Rapids to its eighth consecutive home victory and its seventh win in a row overall. The Griffins, who beat the Americans 5-1 on Friday to kick off the weekend sweep, have allowed exactly one goal in each of their last three games and have yielded more than one goal just once in their last seven outings.

Grand Rapids now leads the Midwest Division by eight points over Rockford. The team will conclude its season-high seven-game home stand by playing three games in four nights this week, beginning with Wednesday's 7 p.m. visit from the Chicago Wolves.

Rochester (10-10-2-2) scored its lone tally at the 15:55 of the opening period. Mrazek turned aside a long blast by Chad Ruhwedel, but a fat rebound found the stick of Nick Crawford in the left circle and he threw the puck into a gaping cage.

Teemu Pulkkinen's ninth goal of the season knotted the score during a power play 5:25 into the second, as he snapped a shot from the high slot into the top left corner of Nathan Lieuwen's net.

Early in the third, the Americans had a great chance to pull ahead when Alex Hutchings was awarded a penalty shot after being impeded by Alexey Marchenko during a breakaway, but the winger's attempt sailed wide right. That failure's magnitude was amplified just 16 seconds later when David McIntyre ripped a shot past Lieuwen from the slot at 2:44, putting the Griffins on top 2-1.

Mike Zigomanis sealed the Amerks' fate with just 2:04 remaining when he was sent to the penalty box for the second time in three minutes, this time for slashing Jordin Tootoo's stick.Jeff Hoggan made Rochester pay for Zigomanis' transgression at 18:50 when he potted a Luke Glendening feed from the slot for a power play goal and the final 3-1 margin.

The Griffins, who surpassed the 16-5-0-2 start of the 2005-06 AHL regular season champions, have won all three meetings with Rochester this season, by a combined 16-3 score.

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