Charlotte Checkers 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1
Nov. 5, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Charlotte Checkers rallied for the game’s final two goals and rode Justin Peters’ 26 saves to a 2-1 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at Van Andel Arena, in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
The Griffins (5-6-0-0), whose two-game winning streak was snapped, will complete their three-game homestand on Wednesday by hosting Rockford in their 11th annual matinee game. Faceoff at Van Andel Arena is set for noon.
A fast-paced opening period saw the Griffins score the game’s first goal at the 19:01 mark. Skating up the right side with the puck, Chris Conner worked his way around a defender inside the Charlotte line, darted to the slot and slid a pass to Jamie Johnson, who quickly beat Peters from the bottom of the left circle. Johnson extended his goal streak to three games, tying his AHL career high, while Conner’s assist gave him points in four straight games (2-5—7) and in nine of the Griffins’ 11 contests this season.
An unfortunate carom off a stanchion behind the Griffins’ net enabled Nicolas Blanchard to shovel a backhand from below the left circle past Joey MacDonald for an unassisted goal 6:15 into the second period, breaking MacDonald’s shutout streak at 99:56. Later in the frame, the Checkers (7-4-1-0) needed only 10 seconds of power play time to take the lead, as Justin Faulk ripped a shot over MacDonald’s glove from high in the right circle at 15:11.
With just 16 seconds left in the period, the Griffins were awarded five minutes of power play time after Chris Terry drove the net and barreled into MacDonald, drawing a charging major and a game misconduct. MacDonald suffered an injury in the collision and was forced from the game.
Jordan Pearce finished the night in relief and could only watch as the Griffins were unable to capitalize on their extended power play on the other end of the ice. Despite a 10-4 shot advantage in the third period, Grand Rapids could not solve Peters a second time.
MacDonald suffered the loss with 12 saves on 14 shots, while Pearce turned aside all four tries he faced.
Notes: In addition to MacDonald, the Griffins also lost right wing Mitch Callahan during the game, and defenseman Greg Amadio did not dress due to an injury suffered in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over Lake Erie…Left wing Fabian Brunnstrom, recalled by Detroit earlier today, played for the Red Wings in their 5-0 win over Anaheim, earning an assist on Nicklas Lidstrom’s second-period goal. Brunnstrom became the Griffins’ 119th NHL alumnus…The Checkers are the 47th team the Griffins have faced in their 16-year history.
Three Stars: 1. CHA Faulk (game-winning goal); 2. GR Johnson (goal); 3. CHA Peters (W, 26 saves)