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POWERFUL PERFORMANCE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Goals by Kent McDonell and Nate DiCasmirro just 1:46 apart in the third period rallied the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

Drew MacIntyre made 27 saves in his first action since Oct. 15 to improve to 4-1 and help the Griffins sweep their two-game set against the Crunch (4-6-0-0). The Griffins (8-2-0-1), who completed their five-game homestand with a near-flawless 4-0-0-1 mark, will finish their first three-in-three of the season on Sunday against the Hamilton Bulldogs, in a 4 p.m. start at Copps Coliseum.

For the second straight night, Syracuse used its power play to take a 1-0 lead in the opening period. Joakim Lindstrom walked in to the left faceoff dot and ripped a pinpoint shot by MacIntyre’s glove into the right corner of the net at 10:51.

The Griffins got it back during a power play 1:56 into the second period, when Eric Manlow tipped a Jiri Hudler one-timer past Andrew Penner. With the assist, Hudler extended his AHL-high point streak to 11 games, tying for the third-longest streak in franchise history. Glen Metropolit had an identical run in 1998-99, Hudler enjoyed a 12-game streak in 2003-04, and Derek King set the record with 17 straight games in 2000-01.

The tie was short-lived, however, as the Crunch capitalized on a two-man advantage to go up 2-1. Erstwhile Detroit Red Wings defenseman Andy Delmore fired a rocket from the point that Geoff Platt deflected through MacIntyre’s five-hole at 5:02. At the 8:18 mark, an injury forced Penner from the Crunch crease in favor of Pascal Leclaire, who suffered the 5-2 loss here on Friday. Penner finished with 25 saves, while Leclaire denied eight shots over the remainder of the frame.

Leclaire’s good fortune ended 5:49 into the final period during a 5-on-3 Grand Rapids power play. Just 10 seconds into the advantage, McDonell took a pass from Kyle Quincey at center ice, skated to the top of the circles and sent a blast high into the net. The Griffins went back to work with a 5-on-4 advantage and capitalized four seconds before it expired, when DiCasmirro’s shot from the slot somehow found its way through Leclaire.

Leclaire finished the night with 14 saves on 16 shots, as Grand Rapids increased its third-period scoring advantage this season to 17-6.

A capacity crowd of 10,834 witnessed the game, marking the Griffins’ first November sellout since 1999 and the earliest date for their second sellout of the season since 1997.

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