Griffins' Offensive Stampede Tramples Rampage
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - With one-third of their regular season schedule remaining, the Grand Rapids Griffins are on pace for 50 wins and 105 points, the latest of each coming courtesy of a 6-0 trampling of the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
Eddie Pasquale made 18 saves to post his third shutout of the season and Matt Lorito lit the lamp twice to spearhead a Griffins attack that saw 13 players notch points. Grand Rapids out-shot San Antonio by a 2-to-1 margin en route to claiming its fourth consecutive win and sending the Rampage to their seventh straight loss.
The Central Division-leading Griffins (34-14-1-2) swept their weekend series against the Pacific Division's cellar-dwellers by a cumulative 11-1 score, on the heels of a 7-5 home win against Manitoba on Wednesday. Grand Rapids' 18 goals are its most over a three-game span since Dec. 18-26, 2015, which also marked the last time the Griffins scored five or more goals in each of three consecutive outings.
Lorito scored the lone goal of the opening period at the 15:51 mark. Mitch Callahan's shot from atop the right circle was stopped by Spencer Martin, but the netminder lost sight of the rebound and Lorito swooped in to knock it home.
The Griffins doubled their lead 2:19 into the second when Tyler Bertuzzi took a feed from Tomas Nosek and sped toward the net before slipping a backhand through Martin's five-hole.
A pair of goals late in the frame blew the game open, putting the Griffins up by four entering the final period. Ben Street slashed across the goal mouth to redirect Matt Caito's wrister at 15:36, and Lorito notched his second on a similar play off a Matthew Ford shot at 17:53.
Grand Rapids' power play struck for the first time at 2:21 of the third, with Eric Tangradi putting a bow on his seven-point week by scoring from the left circle, giving him four goals and three assists since Wednesday.
Caito followed up his first AHL point - the assist on Street's goal - by scoring his first goal during a power play with 3:48 left, as the Griffins finished 2-for-4 with the man-advantage.
Martin made 30 saves for the Rampage, who fell to 21-27-4-1.
Notes: Conor Allen posted the first three-assist game of his career and the second three-point night, duplicating his feat from Nov. 19, 2014 (Hartford vs. Syracuse)...The Griffins earned the last of their three 50-win campaigns in 2005-06 (55) and the most recent of their five 100-point seasons in 2014-15 (100).
Three Stars: 1. GR Pasquale (W, 18 saves, SO); 2. GR Lorito (two goals); 3. GR Allen (three assists)
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