GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins avenged two of this season’s four regulation losses and doubled their lead atop the Midwest Division with a 5-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
The Admirals (8-4-3-1), who entered the night with a two-point deficit to and a pair of one-goal wins over the Griffins, had a chance to pull even with the division leaders with a regulation victory. But instead, Petr Mrazek posted a 16-save shutout, Mitch Callahan netted a hat trick and Grand Rapids (11-4-1-1) claimed its fourth straight home win, improving to 9-2 in its last 11 overall.
The Griffins dominated the first period in all areas but the scoreboard, building a 12-0 cushion in shots before the Admirals’ first attempt with 6:09 remaining and finishing the scoreless frame with a 14-4 advantage.
Grand Rapids used a power play to light the first lamp 1:49 into the second. A Nathan Paetschblast from the right point was turned aside by Magnus Hellberg, but the rebound came to Riley Sheahan in the left circle for an easy shot into a gaping cage.
The Griffins then grabbed the first two-goal lead for either team in the season series with a shorthanded goal at the 9:55 mark. Off a rush into the Milwaukee zone, Luke Glendening took a shot from the right boards that Hellberg initially corralled, but when the puck fell from the goalie’s grasp, Callahan pounced and punched it through Hellberg’s pads.
With a 28-12 lead in shots entering the third period, the Griffins cashed in on their first try to make it 3-0 just 49 seconds in. Cory Emmerton took a pass from newcomer Patrick Eaves and scored five-hole on Hellberg from the right circle.
Callahan notched his second goal at 10:08, redirecting a Sheahan feed to bring a close to Hellberg’s evening. He was replaced by Scott Darling after stopping 35 of 39 shots.
Callahan rounded out the scoring by beating Darling at 18:57. Milwaukee’s understudy stopped three of four shots, as the Griffins finished the game with an overwhelming 43-16 shot margin.
Grand Rapids will try to improve upon its impressive 7-2-1-1 mark away from Van Andel Arena during a pair of road games this weekend, beginning with an 8:05 p.m. EST visit to Des Moines on Friday against the Iowa Wild.
Notes: Adam Almquist had three assists…Griffins leading scorer Gustav Nyquist was held out of the lineup due to his potential recall to the Red Wings tomorrow, while captain Jeff Hogganand alternate captain Brennan Evans were healthy scratches as part of the Griffins’ rotation of their abundant veterans. For Hoggan and Evans, it marked the first games they did not play since joining Grand Rapids in the summer of 2012, ending their mutual streak of regular season and playoff games at 116…Eaves made his Griffins debut and played his first AHL game since his rookie 2005-06 season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Callahan (hat trick); 2. GR Mrazek (W, 16 saves, SO); 3. GR Sheahan (power play goal, assist)