GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
Four Grand Rapids goals in a span of 4:39 of the third period turned a one-goal Griffins deficit into a 6-3 rout of the Cleveland Barons on Friday at Van Andel Arena. Valtteri Filppula and Darryl Bootland tied a franchise record with three points apiece during the third period, and Tomas Kopecky chipped in three assists on the night to help Grand Rapids improve to 7-1-0-1 in its last nine.
After playing seven of those nine games at Van Andel Arena - where theyve tied their best home start at 7-1-0-1 - the Griffins (11-3-0-1) will play four straight, seven of the next eight and 13 of their next 17 games on the road. The odyssey begins Saturday in a 7:05 p.m. rematch with the Barons (7-8-1-0) at Quicken Loans Arena.
With the Griffins whistled for five minors in a span of six and a half minutes during the first period, the Barons took full advantage of two 5-on-3 power plays to take a 2-0 lead. Grant Stevenson scored from a sharp angle along the left goal line at 11:10, and Mike Iggulden converted during a scramble 3:27 later.
Grand Rapids rally began at 4:50 of the second, when Ryan Oulahen flashed through the slot to tip a Nick Martens blast past Dimitri Patzold for his first pro goal. Minutes later, just after being thwarted on a scoring chance in close, Nate DiCasmirro sped down the right boards, cut in to the hash marks and ripped a shot past Patzolds glove at 6:48. DiCasmirros tying tally gave him goals in four of the last five games and points in nine of the last 11 outings.
The Griffins, who enjoyed an 18-4 shot advantage during the second period, had their momentum checked just 26 seconds into the third, when an aggressive Cleveland forecheck paid off in the form of a Josh Prudden goal and a 3-2 Barons lead.
Once again, though, Grand Rapids asserted its third-period dominance with a quick quartet of unanswered goals. Filppula staked out position at the left post and tipped-in a Kopecky feed from the right boards at 3:10. The home squad finally took its first lead 2:07 later, when Bootland received a pass from Filppula in close and beat Patzold with a low shot inside the far post. Donald MacLeans tally at 6:22 and Filppulas second of the game at 7:49 made it a three-goal cushion and increased the Griffins third-period scoring margin this season to a whopping 27-9.
Drew MacIntyre improved to 6-1-0 on the season by making 23 saves, benefiting from an offense that has out-shot the opposition by a 133-69 count over the last three games. Patzold suffered the loss with 36 stops. Two significant streaks ended tonight for the Griffins: Jiri Hudlers 14-game point streak, the second-longest in franchise history, and the teams record run of 11 straight games with a power play goal.