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Smith, Sheahan sparks Griffs' win

Wings' AHL affiliate wins fourth straight

Friday, 11.9.2012 / 11:55 AM ET / Recap
By Randy Cleves  - Griffins Senior Director of Public Relations
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Smith, Sheahan sparks Griffs\' win

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two-goal nights by Riley Sheahan and Brendan Smith powered the Griffins to their fourth consecutive victory on Friday, a 5-3 triumph over the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena.

Trailing 2-1 early in the first period, the Griffins scored four of the game’s last five goals, and rookie netminder Petr Mrazek finished strong with 27 saves to improve to 4-0. Mrazek, who can tie the record for best start as a Griffin by winning his next decision, has backstopped Grand Rapids during every game of its current winning streak.

Now 6-4-1-1 overall and 2-2-1-1 at home, the Griffins will close out the week on the road against the Peoria Rivermen on Saturday in an 8:05 p.m. EST start at Carver Arena.

The Griffins struck just 2:10 into the game when Sheahan potted Francis Pare’s centering pass on the doorstep, but the IceHogs soon took the lead by scoring twice in a span of 36 seconds. Shawn Lalonde’s deflection beat Mrazek at the 5:40 mark, before Brandon Saad finished off a breakaway by unveiling an impressive deke to score his first pro goal.

Grand Rapids finished out the frame with two goals of its own to take a 3-2 advantage into the intermission. In a goal that was originally credited to Sheahan and later corrected, Smith’s shot from the left side caromed off a Rockford stick and past Carter Hutton at 12:40. Later, less than a minute after Gustav Nyquist sustained a hard hit from Philippe Paradis along the boards and left the game, the Griffins gained a measure of revenge on the second goal by Sheahan, who collected a loose puck atop the left circle and quickly whipped it into the back of the net at 16:42.

The teams exchanged long-range goals early in the second period, with Smith getting his second at 4:37 on a blast from the top of the right circle during a power play to put the Griffins ahead 4-2. Then, after Rockford’s Kyle Beach was assessed a match penalty for checking Smith in the head, it was the IceHogs (5-5-0-1) that scored shorthanded during Grand Rapids’ extended power play, as Jimmy Hayes seemed to surprise Mrazek on an innocent-looking shot at 7:50.

The remainder of the game was scoreless until Pare added an empty-netter at 19:52 of the third for the final margin, extending his goal-scoring streak on home ice to a team-high and AHL-leading five games. More impressive, his third point of the night gave him 200 points as a Griffin, a milestone previously reached by only four players: Michel Picard (380), Travis Richards (238), Kip Miller (208) and Derek King (203).

Mrazek is just the third goalie ever to start his Griffins career 4-0, standing one victory shy of the standard set by Mathieu Chouinard and Ty Conklin. The precocious 20-year-old puck-stopper boasts a 1.71 goals against average and a 0.940 save percentage, each of which ranks fifth in the AHL.

GAME NOTES: After notching another assist tonight, rookie defenseman Chad Billins now leads the entire league with 12 assists.

THREE STARS: 1. GR Smith (two goals); 2. GR Sheahan (two goals); 3. RFD Hayes (SH goal, two assists)

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 82 13 37 -15 50
P. Datsyuk 66 16 33 7 49
D. Larkin 80 23 22 11 45
T. Tatar 81 21 24 4 45
G. Nyquist 82 17 26 -2 43
J. Abdelkader 82 19 23 -16 42
M. Green 74 7 28 -6 35
B. Richards 68 10 18 4 28
D. Helm 77 13 13 -2 26
N. Kronwall 64 3 23 -21 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 27 16 6 .921 2.33
J. Howard 14 14 5 .906 2.80