11.13.14: Griffins win at home
GRAND RAPIDS (Mlive) — The struggling Grand Rapids Griffins needed the puck to bounce their way, and it finally did — literally — against Lake Erie on Wednesday.
Ryan Sproul’s long slap shot in the second period careened off the back glass and off the back of goalie Calvin Pickard and into the net, a welcome sight for the Griffins, who held on for a 5-3 win before 3,798 at Van Andel Arena.
The outcome snapped the Griffins’ six-game losing streak and marked the team’s first win in six attempts at home.
The Griffins (4-6-1-0) jumped out front 2-0 with first-period goals by Mitch Callahan and Teemu Pulkkinen. Goalie Petr Mrazek withstood a threegoal third period for the team’s first win since Oct. 18 against Charlotte.
Callahan also scored in the second period, his fourth of the year, followed by Sproul’s odd goal with just more than 12 minutes left in the second. It was the defenseman’s first goal of the season.
Callahan, who also had an assist for a three-point night, said the team hasn’t played poorly during the skid.
“Most of the time, you can’t fault our work ethic,” he said. “So, (Wednesday) was a big step in the confidence for the guys to get back to where it was and get the ball rolling on the positive side.”
Mrazek, playing for the first time since he was pulled in the second period at home against Chicago on Oct. 31, lost the shutout a little more than 3 minutes into the third period.
He ranged outside the crease to his left to face a rebound from Troy Bourke, whose shot trickled through Mrazek’s pads.
The Monsters then scored twice more — at the 7:03 mark by Sam Henley, and with 2 minutes left on a rebound by Andrew Agozzino.
In the closing minutes, the Griffins withstood a six-on-four and got a shorthanded, empty-net goal by Andreas Athanasiou, who also had two assists.
The Monsters (4-6-1-1), losers of three in a row, already had beaten the Griffins twice at home.
• Pulkkinen, who leads the Griffins in scoring, added his team-leading fifth goal and assisted on Callahan’s goal, both in the first period. He has 10 points (5-5-10) through 11 games.
• The Griffins, who entered the game leading the league in penalty killing (92.7percent— 3goals in41), stopped all three attempts.