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THE DONALD



PEORIA, Ill. – The AHL’s leading goal-scorer did not disappoint Saturday night, as Donald MacLean paced the Grand Rapids Griffins with two markers en route to a 4-2 victory over the Peoria Rivermen at Carver Arena.

The Rivermen capitalized on a 5-on-3 just 4:15 into the contest, as Jon DiSalvatore rattled a shot past Joey MacDonald for a 1-0 lead. Penalties were called for too many men on the ice three times in the first period, with two going against Grand Rapids. The first infraction, coupled with a hooking call on Eric Manlow, led to Peoria’s two-man advantage.

Defenseman Nick Martens made a tremendous play pinching in on the left side at 3:07 of the second, finding Manlow wide open between the circles for a quick redirect goal to tie the score at one.

In a wild exchange on a Griffins power play, MacLean nixed a short-handed break by the Rivermen and carried across center 4-on-2. With the Rivermen kill on its heels, Jiri Hudler sent an off-balanced shot from the high slot that goaltender Patrick Lalime coughed up for a ripe rebound. MacLean lied in wait for the leftovers, and cashed in with 4:56 remaining in the frame for the Griffins’ first lead of the night at 2-1.

MacLean added another tally to his league-leading total at 5:55 of the third with a display of sheer will and brute strength, as the Team Canada All-Star plowed his way through two defenders-turned-pylons and backhanded a shot past a flailing Lalime for a 3-1 edge. The goal was MacLean’s 32nd of the season.

Grand Rapids did not hesitate to strike again, as Hudler deftly snuck a no-look backhand pass across the goal mouth for a prepared Ryan Oulahen. The rookie winger flung the puck into the net at 7:25 for his sixth goal of the campaign and a 4-1 lead. Peoria answered late with Cam Keith’s first career AHL goal on a power play to account for the final score.

MacDonald turned in another masterful performance in net, stopping 27 of 29 shots to win his fourth straight game.

The Griffins are currently riding a 15-2-1-0 wave over their last 18 games, maintaining a six-point advantage over the hard-charging Manitoba Moose in the North Division. Grand Rapids takes a 33-12-1-2 record into Iowa tomorrow afternoon against the Stars for the final game on a three-games-in-three-nights road swing. Faceoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Arena.

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