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Checkers Beat Griffins 3-1 On Late Power Play Goal

Anthony Mantha and Brody Sutter, Male Models
Anthony Mantha and Brody Sutter, Male Models
Griffins Hockey

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A late power play goal by Derek Ryan helped him atone for a potentially costly penalty minutes earlier and proved the difference for the Charlotte Checkers on Friday, as they prevailed 3-1 over the Grand Rapids Griffins in a goaltending duel at Van Andel Arena.

Ryan was sent to the box for high-sticking Andreas Athanasiou at 14:26 of the third, the first of consecutive Charlotte penalties that gave the Griffins well over a minute of 5-on-3 power play time in the waning minutes of a 1-1 game. But after the Checkers survived on the penalty kill and subsequently received their own power play, Ryan scored on a deflection with 1:38 remaining to avenge the Griffins' 4-3 win on Wednesday.

Tom McCollum deserved a better fate on this night, stopping 27 of 29 shots, but it was former Griffins netminder Drew MacIntyre who helped Charlotte (4-2-0-0) triumph behind his 28-save effort.

After staging four home games in a span of eight days, the Griffins (1-5-0-0) will play only once in the next 13 - a road date with the Toronto Marlies next Friday - before returning home to face the Rockford IceHogs on Friday, Nov. 6.

Brody Sutter struck for Charlotte during a 4-on-4 at the 14:07 mark of the opening period, sending a slap shot over McCollum's blocker from the top of the left circle. It marked the sixth time in as many games this season that Grand Rapids' opponent scored the contest's first goal.

Despite launching 12 shots on MacIntyre in the first period and another 10 during the second, the Griffins still found themselves trailing 1-0 as the third period began. That deficit only continued for another 1:11, as Brian Lashoff fired a quick shot from the left point that snuck between MacIntyre and the near post.

Grand Rapids received its fifth power play chance of the night with 5:34 remaining when Ryan's stick blade clipped Athanasiou in the face, and the advantage became a 5-on-3 just 38 seconds later when David Wohlberg closed his hand on the puck. But the Griffins' 29th-ranked offense couldn't manage to dent MacIntyre before being whistled for too many men on the ice with eight ticks remaining in Wohlberg's penalty.

The Checkers cashed in on their opportunity for the game-winner when Ryan deflected Zach Boychuk's shot from the slot, and Wohlberg added an empty-netter at 19:19 after McCollum was pulled for an extra attacker.

Grand Rapids finished 0-for-6 on the power play while Charlotte went 1-for-6.

Three Stars: 1. CHA Ryan (game-winning goal, assist); 2. CHA MacIntyre (W, 27 saves); 3. GR McCollum (L, 28 saves)