Strong First Period Sparks Griffins' 4-1 Win
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich . - Joey MacDonald stopped 30 of 31 shots and Doug Janik and Jamie Johnson both had a goal and an assist against their former team to pace the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-1 win over the Rochester Americans on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins (17-16-4-4) finished off their three-game homestand with five of a possible six points and avenged a 4-3 home shootout loss to the Americans (18-16-5-3) on Saturday, in the process leap-frogging from fifth place to third in a claustrophobic North Division.
Grand Rapids will face a two-game road set against the Peoria Rivermen this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. EST before returning to Van Andel Arena to play five straight and 10 of its next 12 games.
The Griffins abused the glove of Rochester netminder David Leggio in the opening period, whipping three shots past it in a span of 2:22. Fabian Brunnstrom started the scoring at the 9:17 mark, bringing the puck across the Amerks' line on a 2-on-1 and firing it high into the corner of the cage from the right circle.
Brent Raedeke and Johnson then combined for the Griffins' fastest two goals this season. Wide-open in the right circle, Raedeke cradled a long cross-ice pass from Janik and snuck a shot just beneath the crossbar at 11:15. Only 24 seconds later, Johnson was alone in the slot when he took a feed from Chris Conner out of the left corner and deposited the puck inside the right post.
Rochester's Derek Whitmore made it a 3-1 contest 5:59 into the second period, putting a rebound past MacDonald from the slot. But the Griffins re-established that three-goal lead with a power play goal at 5:27 of the third, as a Janik one-timer from the left point pinballed past Leggio for the defenseman's first goal since Dec. 2.
MacDonald backstopped a Grand Rapids penalty kill that denied each of Rochester's four chances, marking the third consecutive game in which the Griffins did not surrender a power play goal.
Leggio made 32 saves in the losing effort.
Three Stars : 1. GR Janik (power play goal, assist); 2. GR Johnson (goal, assist); 3. GR Lashoff (assist)
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