(Rochester, NY)… The Grand Rapids Griffins accounted for two first-period power-play goals en route to a 3-1 win over the Rochester Americans tonight at Van Andel Arena. The contest was the final meeting this season between the North Division rivals as Rochester dropped its third straight to the Griffins and its sixth in its last seven games to fall to 30-33-3-3 on the campaign.
Tomas Tatar netted a pair of goals for the hometown Griffins, while Chris Minard (1+1) and Jamie Tardif (0+2) each notched two points apiece. Jordan Pearce stopped 25 of 26 shots to collect his 18th win of the season.
Rochester netminder Tyer Plante turned aside 33 of 35 shots in the losing effort as Bill Thomas
scored the lone goal for the visiting Amerks.
The Griffins opened the scoring just over five minutes into the contest with Tatar’s first of the night and 20th of the season on the power-play at 5:34. Grand Rapids needed all but 35 seconds on the man-advantage to take a 1-0 lead after Amerks defenseman Paul Baier took an interference penalty at 4:59. Ilari Filpula and Tardif assisted on the play as the Griffins outshot Rochester 24-8 through the first 20 minutes of play.
Grand Rapids doubled its lead later in the frame, again on the power-play, as Minard potted his 17th goal of the season to put his team up by a pair. Similar to their first tally, the Griffins required only 30 seconds of the man-up opportunity this time to extend their lead to 2-0. Cory Emmerton and Derek Meech earned the helpers on the goal scored at 15:59.
After a scoreless middle stanza, Rochester was finally able to cut its deficit in half as Thomas’ 12th of the season brought the Amerks back within one. Mark Cullen
recorded the only assist on the goal at 10:13 midway through the third period.
With Plante on the bench in a last-minute attempt to knot the game and force overtime, Tatar added his second of the night in the game’s final 10 seconds with an empty-netter to deny Rochester’s bid for a comeback and secure the 3-1 win for the Griffins.
Rochester remains on the road as they visit the Lake Erie Monsters on Tuesday, March 22nd for a North Division showdown at Quicken Loans Arena. The 7:00 p.m. contest will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester’s Sports Talk.