Strong First Period Sends Griffins Past Amerks, 4-1
(Grand Rapids, MI)... The Grand Rapids Griffins used a trio of first period goals less than three minutes apart to top the Rochester Americans by a score of 4-1 tonight at Van Andel Arena. The game marked the second of back-to-back tilts between the two clubs, with Rochester pulling out a 4-3 shootout victory on Saturday night.
Former Amerks Jamie Johnson and Doug Janik each contributed a goal and an assist to the lead the charge for the Griffins, while Chris Connor also provided a pair of assists. Fabian Brunnstrom and Brent Raedeke rounded out the goal scoring for Grand Rapids, with netminder Joey MacDonald turning away 30 of 31 shots in the winning effort.
Derek Whitmore scored the lone goal for Rochester, with assists going to Phil Varone and Drew Schiestel. David Leggio finished with 32 saves between the pipes.
The Griffins struck first in the contest as Brunnstrom beat Leggio on a two-on-one rush with a wrister from the right circle high to the glove side. The tally came at 9:17 and represented his third goal of the season.
Grand Rapids notched two quick goals just 24 seconds apart less than three minutes later to extend its lead to 3-0. At 11:15, Raedeke deposited a cross-ice feed from the right circle after an offensive zone face-off win by the Griffins. Johnson then followed up at 11:39 with his team-leading 16th goal, as he jammed home a centering pass from the left corner just outside Leggio's crease.
The Amerks got on the board at 5:59 of the middle frame to cut the Griffins lead to 3-1. From the middle of the slot, Whitmore buried the rebound of Schiestel's blast from the left point for his team-leading 16th goal of the season. Varone also picked up an assist on the play, his 18th point in the last 19 games.
Grand Rapids restored its three-goal cushion with a power-play goal at 5:27 of the third period to make the score 4-1. Janik's long range slapper from the left point found its way through a maze of bodies in front and past a screened Leggio.
The Amerks continue their four-game road swing on Friday, January 27 as they journey to Central New York to take on the Syracuse Crunch at the War Memorial at Oncenter. The 7:30 p.m. matchup will be the fifth of 10 get-togethers between the longtime intrastate rivals and can be heard live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester's Sports Talk.
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