Griffins off to Best Start in Franchise History
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.
• Discuss this story on the American Hockey League message board...
American Hockey League Stories from December 7, 2013
- Comets lose to Adirondack - Utica Comets
- Barons rally to beat Wolves 5-2 - Oklahoma City Barons
- Griffins off to Best Start in Franchise History - Grand Rapids Griffins
- Falcons Outlast Wolf Pack, Win 3-2 - Springfield Falcons
- Monarchs Outshoot Pirates, Take VIP Cup Series Lead - Portland Pirates
- B-Sens Lose 4-3 in Shootout to Albany - Binghamton Senators
- Wolves Rally First, But It Doesn't Last - Chicago Wolves
- Sceviour's Overtime Goal Hands Texas 2-1 Win over Iowa - Texas Stars
- Holmstrom Makes It Rain Teddy Bears - Adirondack Phantoms
- Falcons beat Hartford - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Sound Tigers beat Bears - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Ross Leads Hogs Past Checkers - Rockford IceHogs
- Zach Puts Them Back on Track - Manchester Monarchs
- Stars Slip by Wild in OT 2-1 - Iowa Wild
- Checkers Lose Rockford Rematch - Charlotte Checkers
- Crunch Defeated by Admiral 2-1 - Syracuse Crunch
- Sound Tigers Power Past Bears - Hershey Bears
- Sharks Extend Point Streak to Five Games After 4-3 Shootout Loss to Bruins - Worcester Sharks
- P-Bruins Stun Sharks 4-3 in Shootout - Providence Bruins
- Devils Withstand Senators, Win in SO - Albany Devils
- Norfolk Completes Weekend Sweep of Syracuse with 2-1 Win - Norfolk Admirals
- RECAP: Penguins Shutout IceCaps to Split Weekend Series - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins
- IceCaps Fall to Penguins 3-0 - St. John's IceCaps
- Marlies Fall 2-1 against Hamilton - Toronto Marlies
- Bulldogs Hold on for 2-1 Win over Marlies - Hamilton Bulldogs
- Anaheim Reassigns Goaltender Igor Bobkov to Norfolk - Norfolk Admirals
- Connolly Recalled, Sivak Released from PTO - Abbotsford Heat
- Forward Michael St. Croix Reassigned to Greenville - Hartford Wolf Pack
- Blackhawks Reassign Nordstrom to Rockford - Rockford IceHogs
- Banwell Released from PTO - Bridgeport Sound Tigers
- Pirates Recall Louis Domingue from Gwinnett - Portland Pirates
- Gameday: Comets at Adirondack - Utica Comets
- Pirates Look to Take VIP Cup Advantage vs. Monarch - Portland Pirates
- Heat Defeat Rampage on Teddy Bear Toss Night - Abbotsford Heat
- Admirals Top Oklahoma City 5-2 - Milwaukee Admirals
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.