GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – With another strong offensive effort, including their fourth shorthanded goal in the last two nights, the Grand Rapids Griffins matched their season high with their sixth straight win on Saturday, a 4-2 decision over the San Antonio Rampage at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids (26-20-4-2), which owned a 7-9-2-2 record on home ice in late December, earned its fifth consecutive victory at Van Andel Arena and won for the eighth time in its last nine games before the faithful.
The Griffins will hit the road Sunday for their third game in as many nights, taking on a Peoria Rivermen squad with which they are tied in the race for a playoff spot. Game time at Carver Arena is set for 5 p.m.
Scott Barney got the scoring underway in unconventional fashion for the Griffins during a power play at 4:46 of the opening period, banking a shot off goaltender David LeNeveu from below the goal line. Stefan Liv maintained that 1-0 lead by stopping Yanick Lehoux on a shorthanded breakaway attempt with 4:30 left in the period.
Another power play goal at 6:26 of the second made it a two-goal advantage, as Kip Miller skated out of the right corner and popped a shot over LeNeveu’s left shoulder from the bottom of the circle. Derek Meech earned the second assist on the play to extend his career-high scoring streak to four games, doubling his previous best.
That goal ushered Josh Tordjman into the game for the second straight night, and Matt Ellis welcomed the reliever by scoring his team-high 20th goal of the season at the 15:23 mark. Ellis, who matched his AHL high established last season, became just the fifth player in Griffins history to record back-to-back 20-goal campaigns, joining Michel Picard (1996-98), Glen Metropolit (1997-99), Slava Butsayev (1999-01) and Eric Manlow (2004-06).
Liv, who notched his third straight win behind 22 saves, saw his shutout bid end 1:47 into the third period, as Randall Gelech’s 40-foot slap shot sailed past the his stick. Later, as the Griffins were killing their third penalty of the period, they reasserted their advantage when Eric Himelfarb took a pass from Matt Hussey and finished off a 2-on-1 with a blast from the left side at 11:48. Hussey pushed his career-high point streak to nine games, the longest on the team this season.
Former Griffin Donald MacLean capped off the scoring with a redirection at 17:30, his second goal in as many nights.
The Griffins, who’ve now earned points in all eight meetings with the Rampage over the last two seasons (7-0-1-0), extended their streak of scoring at least four goals to six games, their longest since an identical run from Dec. 18-30, 2005.