Grand Rapids Griffins Weekend Recap
The Griffins capped off the week and with two big wins over the Manitoba Moose (11-16-2-0) on Friday and Saturday night making them 4-1-0-0 against the Moose this season.
Game one of this weekend series saw the Griffins run away with a 4-1 victory after a big three goal third period. Grand Rapids center Dominic Turgeon netted his third goal of the year at 5:42 of the third period and that would hold on to be the game winner. This was followed closely by goals from Matthew Ford and Chris Terry to seal the game at 4-1 for Grand Rapids. These three goals all came within a two minute and 13 second stretch of the third period. Harri Sateri recorded his 10th win of the season with a stellar performance in which he stopped 27 of the 28 shots he faced. This effort improves his overall record to 10-6-1-0 with a goals against average of 3.22 and a save percentage of 0.833.
The Griffins were able to win again in the second game of this back-to-back in Manitoba as well. They won the game 3-1 after a strong first period in which Chris Terry notched his league leading 20th goal of the year at 6:32. Later in the frame Bowling Green Alum Tyler Spezia put the Griffins up 2-0 by scoring his first AHL goal and point at 15:17 of the first period. Spezia made his AHL debut on December 16 when Grand Rapids fell 2-1 to the Rockford IceHogs. This goal would end up being the game winner. Axel Holmstrom scored in the third period to put Grand Rapids up 3-0. Manitoba Moose defenseman Peter Stoykewych scored the lone Manitoba goal, spoiling the shutout with 5:02 left in the game. Patrik Rybar looked solid in net recording 25 saves on 26 shots. This moves his record to 7-5-3-0 with a goals against average of 2.39 (which ranks fourth in the league) and a save percentage of 0.909.
Grand Rapids has received excellent goaltending the last four games behind three strong starts from Patrik Rybar and one from Harri Sateri. Although the Griffins are only 2-2-0-0 in these four games, they have only surrendered six goals (excluding one empty netter) in this span. During this span Grand Rapids goalies have faced a total of 114 shots and have stopped 108 of them, good for a combined save percentage of 0.947.
These two wins come after a stretch that saw the Griffins lose six of their previous seven games with the only win coming in a shootout. This was the perfect way for them to enter the Christmas break and they will hope to harness this momentum and come out strong in Cleveland on December 28. These wins move their record to 17-11-2-2 which gives them 38 points to put them in a tie atop the Central Division with Chicago (17-9-3-1) and Milwaukee (16-10-5-1).
Matt Puempel looked very strong in his first two games back after receiving two game suspension for an illegal check to the head against Milwaukee on December 15. In these two games Puempel recorded one goal and two assists. This puts him at 13 goals and 11 assists on the season. These 24 points are good for second on the team behind only Chris Terry who has 32 (20g, 12a).
The Griffins do not play again until December 28 when they face the Cleveland Monsters in Cleveland. These teams last faced each other recently on December 19 which resulted in a 3-1 loss for the Griffins after a poor offensive showing. Grand Rapids won their first meeting this year by a score of 8-4 putting the season series at an even 1-1-0-0. Cleveland currently sits in a tie for second in the North Division with 36 points and overall record of 16-10-4-0.