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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)


H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38 is the official Web site of the Detroit Red Wings. Detroit Red Wings and are trademarks of the Detroit Red Wings. NHL, the NHL Shield and the word mark NHL Winter Classic are registered trademarks and Original Six is a trademark of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Detroit Red Wings and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.
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