01/15/2010 9:17 PM
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Peoria Rivermen’s AHL-best road power play took full advantage of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ league-worst penalty kill on Friday, tallying three times during the second period before holding on for a 3-2 victory at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids (20-20-0-1) will continue a rare three-in-three at home on Saturday when it hosts the Western Conference-leading Hamilton Bulldogs at 7 p.m.
Neither team was able to break through during the opening frame despite Peoria’s 13-10 advantage in shots, marking the first time since Dec. 12 that the Griffins did not allow a first-period goal at home, as well as the first time since that date that Daniel Larsson escaped the first 20 minutes of a game unscathed.
Grand Rapids’ good fortune ended on the Rivermen’s 20th shot of the game at 8:10 of the second, however, with Peoria’s first power play tally of the period. Pascal Pelletier tried to center a pass from the right side, but the puck deflected off the stick of defenseman Logan Pyett and into the net for a 1-0 Peoria lead.
The visitors grabbed a 2-0 advantage at the 11-minute mark, as Pelletier set up in the slot and tipped home Bryce Lampman’s blast from the left point. However, the Griffins would answer during a 2-on-1 just 1:02 later, with Evan McGrath deftly redirecting Jeremy Williams’ feed past Ben Bishop from the doorstep.
The Rivermen (21-15-1-3) regained their two-goal cushion at 3-1, thanks to yet another power play goal with 2:12 remaining. A scramble around the Griffins’ net ended with Barry Tallackson slamming a shot into a wide-open cage from the slot.
Defenseman Doug Janik, who had missed the Griffins’ last 13 games while on recall to Detroit, made an impact on the scoresheet 10:49 into the third period, scoring top-shelf on a wrister from the high slot to again pull Grand Rapids within one.
The Griffins outshot the Rivermen 9-2 during the third and pressed for the equalizer with Larsson pulled in the final minute, but an Andy Delmore shot rang off the right post and Grand Rapids could not score again despite keeping the puck in the Peoria zone for the duration of play.
Larsson made 25 stops in a solid effort, while Bishop earned the win behind 27 saves.
The Griffins, whose record fell to 0.500 for the first time since Oct. 28, tied a team mark with their seventh straight regulation loss on home ice. Since their overall 3-10-0-1 skid began with a 4-3 shootout loss to Peoria on Dec. 15, the Griffins have allowed their opposition to convert 20 of 61 (32.8%) power play chances, and they’ve been outscored by a 32-12 margin during the second period.
Three Stars: 1. PEO Pelletier (two power play goals, assist); 2. GR Janik (goal); 3. PEO Lampman (two assists)