Many people would think the absence of players like Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Brian Lashoff would have put the Griffins in a hole, but that is far from the case with this young Griffins team.
The Griffins completed a 2 game weekend sweep of the Charlotte Checkers by outscoring them 9-2 in both games combined. Grand Rapids has outscored their opponents 16-3 in the past 3 games with their 7-1 beating of the Chicago Wolves this past Thursday.
Grand Rapids began the scoring in the first period when Martin Frk passed the puck to Matt Lorito at the right circle who then sent a pass to Mitch Callahan at the left side of the cage but the puck hit the stick of Tomas Nosek and into the back of the next for a 1-0 Griffins lead.
Levko Koper evened the game up in the second period by scoring a goal just inside the left post of Eddie Pasquale’s net.
Evgeny Svechnikov fired a shot into a sea of Checkers which rebounded off the defense to Kyle Criscuolo, who gathered the puck and scored his ninth goal of the season. That goal was the eventual game winner.
Ben Street added an empty net goal for a 3-1 Griffins victory. Grand Rapids improved their record to 17-7-1-2 and are dead even with their division rival Milwaukee Admirals with 37 points, which is tied for the most in the Western Conference.
The Griffins now have points in 11 of their last 12 games.
The power play is continuing to shine for the Griffins this season. Grand Rapids finished 1 for 2 on the man advantage while the Checkers were denied three times on the power play.
Eddie Pasquale was solid in net for Grand Rapids stopping 26 of 27 shots while Alex Nedeljkovic turned away 23 of 25 shots for Charlotte.
Matt Lorito scored another point and now finds himself in a 3-way tie for the most points in the AHL (10-20-30).
Matt Ford and Colin Campbell remain injured for the Griffins. Ford is hoping to be back sometime this week while Campbell is aiming for a return in mid-January.
The Griffins will welcome the Milwaukee Admirals to the Van Andel Arena for a mid-week battle on Wednesday evening. Puck drop is set for just after 7 p.m. ET.