CLEVELAND – Anthony Mantha scored a pair of second-period goals while Jared Coreau stopped 47 shots as the Grand Rapids Griffins set a franchise record with their 12th consecutive win, holding off the Lake Erie Monsters 3-2 on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The current winning streak breaks the club record of 11 straight set during the 2005-06 campaign (March 5-31, 2006) under coach Greg Ireland. The streak is also the longest by any American Hockey League team during the 2015-16 season.
Robbie Russo opened the scoring on the power play for the Griffins (14-8-0-1) 9:17 into the opening period. After Xavier Ouellet fed Martin Frk with a one-timer from the top of the left circle that produced a toe save from Anton Forsberg, Russo sent the rebound from the right circle past Forsberg’s glove. The goal ended the Griffins’ 0-for-19 power play slump.
Mantha added to the Griffins’ lead 1:27 into the middle frame. A wrist shot by Russo from the right circle went off Forsberg’s blocker, but Mantha crashed the net near the left post, with the puck ricocheting off his left arm and in. The goal was upheld following a brief video review.
Josh Anderson put Lake Erie (15-7-1-2) on the score sheet with 9:11 remaining. Kerby Rychel’s backhanded centering pass from behind the net found Anderson alone at the bottom of the left circle, firing a wrist shot top shelf on the stick side.
Grand Rapids restored its two-goal advantage with 4:18 left. Mark Zengerle gained the zone on the left side, but when surrounded by two Lake Erie backcheckers, found Mantha uncovered at the point. Mantha had a clear path to the net and scored on a breakaway, freezing Forsberg with a shot between the Lake Erie netminder’s right arm and body.
Oliver Bjorkstrand made it a one-goal game 2:45 into the final frame. T. J. Tynan sent a pass from below the left circle across the goal mouth, tapped in at the far post by a diving Bjorkstrand.
The Griffins went 1-for-2 on the power play, while Lake Erie failed to score on two opportunities. Forsberg saved 25 of 28 shots in a losing effort.
GRIFFINS NOTES: The Griffins’ current winning streak is the longest in the AHL since the Norfolk Admirals won 28 consecutive games en route to winning the 2012 Calder Cup. ... Grand Rapids' 12-game run includes a 10-0-0-0 (W-L-T-OTL) record against teams with winning records.
THREE STARS: 1. GR Mantha (two goals); 2. GR Coreau (W, 47 saves); 3. LE Bjorkstrand (goal).