Evgeny Svechnikov has his first two goal game as a professional and goalie Eddie Pasquale was brilliant collecting his first shutout since December 2013 in the Griffins 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals.
Grand Rapids is now atop the Western Conference in points with 39 and also improving their record to 18-7-1-2. The Griffins also extended their winning streak to four games and have points in 12 of their last 13 games.
Svechnikov got the Griffins on the board just :26 seconds into the game. Robbie Russo passed the puck to a wide open Svechnikov who beat Milwaukee goaltender Marek Mazanec for an early 1-0 lead.
Joe Hicketts delivered possibly the hit of the year on Mike Liambas of Milwaukee that set the tone for the remainder of the contest. That didn’t sit well with Admirals 6 foot 5 Jonathan Diaby who went after Hicketts. Diaby was issued a two minute instigating penalty, five for fighting and a 10 minute misconduct penalty.
Later in the first period Kyle Criscuolo was viciously driven into the boards head first by Cody Bass. Criscuolo went back to the locker room to be looked at but later returned. Bass was issued a five minute boarding major and a game misconduct penalty. This led to Svechnikov scoring his second goal of the night with Criscuolo and Joe Hicketts collecting the assists.
The second period was scoreless with the Griffins taking their 2-0 lead into the final frame.
Robbie Russo made it a 3-0 Griffins advantage when Dominic Turgeon won a faceoff and slipped the puck back to Russo in the left circle who beat Mazanec for the goal.
Criscuolo was once again harmed later on in the third when he took a high stick to the face from Trevor Murphy that resulted in a four minute high sticking penalty for Milwaukee.
Eddie Pasquale was outstanding in goal stopping all 27 shots that came his way. This was his first shutout in a Griffins uniform.
The Griffins are now 3-1 against the Admirals this season.
Grand Rapids will be off until December 28th when they travel to Cleveland to take on the Monsters and then again will be in Cleveland on the 30th. They will return home for a New Year’s eve battle with the Rockford IceHogs.
Matt Ford and Colin Campbell remain on the shelf for the Griffins. Ford is likely going to be back for the Cleveland trip while Campbell will be returning sometime in mid-January.
Three Stars: 1. GR Pasquale (W, 27 saves, SO); 2. GR Svechnikov (two goals); 3. GR Russo (goal, assist)