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GRIFFINS MAKE IT 10 OUT OF 12 WITH 2-1 WIN

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Bryan Helmer’s elusive rocket from the blueline with 4:11 remaining on Saturday lifted the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 2-1 victory over the Utah Grizzlies, before a crowd of 7,638 at Van Andel Arena. Drew MacIntyre logged 24 saves in his third straight impressive performance at home, helping the Griffins earn their tenth win in the last 12 outings and improve to a remarkable 11-3-1-0 this season in games decided by one goal.

The Griffins (15-5-1-0) become the first squad in franchise history to win 15 of its first 21 games, and they maintain a share of first place in the West Division with Milwaukee.

Grand Rapids will now put its team-record seven-game road winning streak and perfect 7-0 record in foreign buildings to the test, beginning with its last visit to St. John’s, Newfoundland, for games this Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Griffins took advantage of a power play to score the lone goal of the opening period. From behind the net, Eric Manlow found Nathan Robinson wide-open in the slot, and he put a one-timer past Jean-Marc Pelletier at the 9:38 mark.

Following a scoreless second period, the Grizzlies (4-14-0-2) spoiled MacIntyre’s shutout bid midway through the final frame, dashing a Griffins shutout streak of 114:55 and notching just the second goal allowed by Grand Rapids over a span of 210:15. Jakub Koreis maneuvered along the left boards and sent a pass toward the slot for a streaking Justin Cox, who got ahead of a Griffins defenseman and tapped the puck into the cage at 9:22.

Grand Rapids received its fifth power play chance of the night with 4:20 remaining and took only nine seconds to tally the game-winner. After Matt Ellis won the faceoff in Utah’s zone, Todd Robinson dished the puck out to the point to Helmer, who unleashed a 55-foot cannon that dented the mesh behind Pelletier.

Pelletier headed to the bench for an extra attacker with 1:40 remaining, but the Grizzlies were unable to net the equalizer against MacIntyre, who improved to 3-1-0 with a 2.01 GAA and a 0.930 save percentage on the season.

Todd Robinson, signed from UHL Muskegon on Nov. 12, continues to be a significant factor in the Griffins’ good fortune. In Grand Rapids’ four wins over the last eight days, he assisted on an overtime game-winner (Nov. 27 in Chicago), scored the decisive goal in a shootout (Sunday vs. Cincinnati), tallied the lone goal of a contest (Friday in Milwaukee) and assisted on another game-winning goal tonight.


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