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4-0 EQUALS 5-0

Griffins Off to Best Start in Team History


Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins set a franchise record for consecutive wins to start a season on Tuesday, earning a 4-0 shutout of the Rochester Americans to remain undefeated at 5-0.


Joey MacDonald made 20 saves to match Mathieu Chouinard’s individual-record 5-0 start from 2000-01 and claim the tenth shutout of his Griffins career, equaling the standard set by his former teammate, Marc Lamothe. The victory also marked MacDonald’s 41st with Grand Rapids, tying Ian Gordon for third on the team’s all-time list.


Meanwhile, Bryan Helmer, Danny Groulx, Eric Manlow and Derek Meech each scored his first goal of the season to keep the struggling Amerks (0-3-1-1) winless. The Griffins, who kicked off an unprecedented nine-game homestand tonight, will look to continue their good fortune when they host the Chicago Wolves (Fri.) and San Antonio Rampage (Sat.) this weekend.


The Griffins used their third power play to light the scoreboard in the waning moments of the first period. During a 4-on-3 advantage, Helmer took a pass from Niklas Kronwall high in the left circle and one-timed a blast past Tom Askey with just 23.2 ticks left before intermission. For Kronwall, the assist marked his seventh in only five games this season.


The playmaking of the Griffins’ top scorer, Jiri Hudler (5-5-10), resulted in a 2-0 advantage at the 8:51 mark of the second period. Cycling behind the Rochester goal with Matt Ellis and Darryl Bootland, Hudler skated out to the right of the net and sent a cross-ice pass to a wide-open Groulx, who snapped a wrist shot from the left circle that eluded Askey.


The Griffins’ continued hard work was rewarded with a three-goal lead at 15:44, as Kory Karlander sent a pass out front to a streaking Manlow, who put a shot through Askey’s pads from point-blank range.


Rochester had a chance to get back into the contest during a power play late in the period, controlling the puck in the Grand Rapids zone for nearly a full two minutes. However, MacDonald and the captains quartet of Helmer, Manlow, Blake Sloan and Travis Richards blocked numerous shots and kept the frustrated Amerks off the board.


Meech rounded out the scoring at 5:14 of the third period, as the Griffins bested the 4-0 start of their 2000-01 squad that went on to post the best record in team history (53-22-7, 113 pts.) and claim the IHL’s final regular season championship.


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