(Rochester, NY)… Francis Pare scored three consecutive goals before the game was 40 minutes old to power the Grand Rapids Griffins over the Rochester Americans 5-2 this evening at Van Andel Arena. The win was the second in as many nights for the Griffins, who earn the two-game sweep over their North Division rivals to improve to 29-25-1-8 on the season. Rochester, coming off its three-game winning streak, falls to 29-29-3-3 as it returns to the cellar of the American Hockey League’s North Division.
Pare netted a natural hat trick in the first 39:29 of the game for the hometown Griffins, while Brendan Smith and Joakim Andersson assisted on two goals each. Grand Rapids goaltender Jordan Pearce stopped 27 of 29 to pick up his 10th win of the season.
Michael Duco and Mark Cullen
each provided single tallies for the Amerks as Tyler Plante turned aside 37 shots in his 14th consecutive appearance between the pipes.
Pare notched his first of the game before the contest was even five minutes old to put the Griffins on top 1-0 at 4:56 of the opening frame. Andersson and Smith would pick up their first points of the night with helpers on the play as Grand Rapids preserved the one-goal advantage throughout the rest of the period.
Duco scored his team-leading 17th goal of the season 3:10 into the second stanza on the power-play to knot the game at one apiece. Clay Wilson extended his current point streak to five games with an assist on the goal.
Pare would respond at 7:41 to give his team the go-ahead goal, but the lead would be short-lived, however, as Cullen answered back just over a minute later with his third of the season to make it a 2-2 game. Hugh Jessiman and former Griffin Patrick Rissmiller each picked up assists on the goal, their second in as many nights.
Pare would complete the hat trick with just 31 seconds left in the second period to restore Grand Rapids’ one-goal lead. The goal would prove to be the eventual game-winner, giving the third-year pro more individual tallies on the evening than the Amerks combined.
Chris Minard’s 15th goal of the campaign at 16:56 of the final frame would provide Grand Rapids with a little breathing room and Tomas Tatar secured the 5-2 victory for the Griffins with an empty-netter in the final minute of regulation.
The Amerks return home on Friday, March 11th as they play host to the Toronto Marlies at The Blue Cross Arena. The 7:35 p.m. North Division matchup will be broadcast live on SportsRadio 1280 WHTK and FM 107.3, Rochester’s Sports Talk.