[From the Griffins]
CLEVELAND – Givani Smith and Chase Pearson enjoyed their first two-goal games of the campaign to power the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 5-2 win over the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
The Griffins, 3-0 against Cleveland this season, claimed their third straight road game and now have earned points in five straight outings (3-0-2-0) and nine of their last 10 overall (7-1-2-0).
Dillon Simpson scored the lone goal of the opening frame at 11:01, jamming his own rebound past Pat Nagle for a 1-0 Cleveland lead.
The Griffins dominated the second period, outscoring the Monsters 3-1 while outshooting them 12-3. Smith scored his first goal just 51 seconds in, connecting from the left point through traffic, but Wyatt Newpower answered with a one-timer from the blue line for his first pro goal at the three-minute mark to put Cleveland back on top at 2-1.
The rest of the stanza was all Griffins. Smith picked up a loose puck at the right post and popped it over Brad Thiessen at 10:20 for the third two-goal game of his Grand Rapids career, before Pearson was sprung for a breakaway at the Monsters’ line by a beautiful pass from Turner Elson. Pearson put the puck past Thiessen’s glove at 15:27 to give the visitors their first lead.
Pearson’s second goal came at 5:23 of the third off a nice play by Dominik Shine. He intercepted a pass at center ice, broke in on Theissen and was pulled down while getting a shot off, but a trailing Pearson put the rebound home for a 4-2 advantage. Pearson, who has points in five of the last six games (3-4—7), notched the second two-goal game of his career.
Riley Barber finished off the scoring with 1:27 remaining by sending the puck 150 feet into an empty net.
• Nagle has earned all three wins against the Monsters this season, sporting a 1.33 goals against average and a 0.947 save percentage versus Cleveland.
• The Griffins held the Monsters’ league-leading power play without a goal in two opportunities. Grand Rapids did not have a power play chance.
• For the third straight game a Griffin played his 200th regular season contest for the franchise. Shine accomplished the feat tonight, following Elson (Tuesday) and Dylan McIlrath (last Saturday). Of the 531 players in Griffins history, 48 have now reached that milestone.
Grand Rapids 0 3 2 – 5
Cleveland 1 1 0 – 2
1st Period-1, Cleveland, Simpson 3 (Gerbe, Fix-Wolansky), 11:01. Penalties-No Penalties
2nd Period-2, Grand Rapids, Smith 2 (Lindstrom), 0:51. 3, Cleveland, Newpower 1 (Angle, Sherwood), 3:00. 4, Grand Rapids, Smith 3 (Turgeon, Elson), 10:20. 5, Grand Rapids, Pearson 3 (Elson, Lashoff), 15:27. Penalties-Elson Gr (tripping), 3:14.
3rd Period-6, Grand Rapids, Pearson 4 (Shine), 5:23. 7, Grand Rapids, Barber 9 18:33 (EN). Penalties-McIlrath Gr (fighting), 8:46; Polei Cle (fighting), 8:46; Lashoff Gr (elbowing), 10:45.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 9-12-15-36. Cleveland 12-3-11-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 0; Cleveland 0 / 2.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Nagle 4-2-0 (26 shots-24 saves). Cleveland, Thiessen 1-3-1 (35 shots-31 saves).
1. GR Pearson (two goals, GWG); 2. GR Smith (two goals); 3. CLE Newpower (goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 7-3-2-0 (16 pts.) / Tue., March 23 vs. Chicago 7 p.m.
Cleveland: 4-4-1-0 (9 pts.) / Thurs., March 25 vs. Texas 7 p.m