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HOWARD SHUTS DOOR ON AMERKS


ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Jimmy Howard stopped all 21 shots he faced and Brian Lashoff notched two assists as the Grand Rapids Griffins shut out the Rochester Americans 3-0 at the Blue Cross Arena on Sunday. The shutout was Howard’s fourth of the season, while Lashoff has now recorded a point in all four games he has played with the Griffins since coming out of the Ontario Hockey League on March 29.

The win moved the Griffins (43-23-6-6) past idle Hamilton into sole possession of second place in the North Division with two games remaining in the season. Grand Rapids dominated Rochester (27-42-0-8) in the six-game series, going 5-0-0-1 and earning 11 out of a possible 12 points. David Shantz got the start for the Americans and made 32 saves.

Neither team found the back of the net until just after the halfway point of the contest, when Darren McCarty scored his fifth goal with the Griffins to break the scoreless tie 10:15 into the second period. Tom Galvin took a heavy shot from the point that was deflected and dropped in front of the crease. Justin Abdelkader and several Amerks poked at the puck before McCarty took control and backhanded it into the net for a 1-0 Grand Rapids lead.

Darren Haydar scored a power-play goal 2:55 later to make it a two-goal game. Lashoff and Garrett Stafford worked the puck around the point to Haydar in the right circle and he snapped a shot over Shantz’s shoulder for his 31st of the season. Stafford was in his first game back with the Griffins after a stint with the Dallas Stars, while Lashoff’s point streak is now at four games (1-4-5).

Francis Pare capped off the scoring with his 23rd of the season with 2:08 left in the game, tying Abdelkader for the Griffins franchise record for goals by a rookie. Lashoff launched a shot from the point that Shantz kicked toward Pare on the right side. Shantz made another save on Pare, but Jan Mursak dug the puck out and dropped it to Pare in the slot and the rookie roofed his second opportunity to make it 3-0.

The win marked the final game of a franchise-record eight-game road trip for Grand Rapids and snapped a four-game losing streak. The Griffins will return home for their final home game of the regular season, an all-important match against first-round playoff opponent Hamilton on Friday, April 10 at 7 p.m.

Three Stars: 1. GR Howard (21 saves); 2. GR McCarty (GW goal); 3. GR Haydar (Goal)

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Official Game Report



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