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Griffins Ride Terry to Shootout Win Over Cleveland

Cleveland Monsters 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 SO

Mark Newman/Griffins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. Chris Terry registered a goal and two assists in regulation before scoring the only tally of the shootout, pacing the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Monsters on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

The win pushed the Griffins’ point streak to four games (3-0-1-0) and improved their overall record to 18-11-3-2 (41 points), maintaining a tie with Iowa for second place in the Central Division race while keeping them only three points behind Chicago.

Grand Rapids, now 11-3-1-2 at Van Andel Arena, will close out 2018 on Monday with its 22nd annual New Year’s Eve game. Faceoff against the Rockford IceHogs is set for 6 p.m.

Terry and Axel Holmstrom scored remarkably similar goals 36 seconds apart midway through the opening frame to stake Grand Rapids to a 2-0 lead. After picking up the puck deep in his own end, Carter Camper maneuvered through the neutral zone and down the right boards before turning a defender inside-out in the circle and sending a feed across to Terry, who chipped a shot over Brad Thiessen’s blocker from the bottom of the left arc at 9:46 for his AHL-leading 21st goal of the campaign.

Terry then set up Holmstrom’s goal at 10:22, collecting the puck along the right goal line and sliding it across the goalmouth to Holmstrom for another high-blocker shot from nearly the same spot on the ice.

Sonny Milano sliced Grand Rapids’ margin in half late in the period. From above the left circle, Adam Clendening found Milano on the back door for a low, sharp-angle one-timer that snuck past Patrik Rybar with 1:15 showing on the clock.

Clendening returned to the stat sheet 10:29 into the second period for all the wrong reasons. His open-ice check to the head of Givani Smith drew an ejection for a match penalty along with the ire of Dylan McIlrath, but Clendening escaped physical retribution by turtling in self-preservation as McIlrath attempted to fight him. Although momentarily shaken by the hit, Smith quickly resumed a regular shift.

Cleveland (17-11-4-1) evened the score at 2-2 on a power play goal 2:51 into the third period, with Kole Sherwood connecting on a slap shot from high in the left circle, but Camper, the former Monster, answered less than a minute later to put Grand Rapids back on top. Terry carried the puck down the right side and into the Monsters’ zone with speed before feathering a pass across to a wide-open Camper, who skated into the left circle before snapping a shot top-shelf into the far corner at 3:46.

The Monsters again fought back to tie matters with 8:44 remaining, as Doyle Somerby took Mark Letestu’s pass from the end boards and fired the puck past Rybar from the left hashmarks.

The game progressed to a scoreless overtime controlled by the Griffins and then, eventually, to the shootout, where Rybar denied Letestu and Nathan Gerbe before making a game-clinching save on Milano on the game’s final attempt. Theissen, meanwhile, got the best of Camper in round one and Dominic Turgeon in round three, but Terry ripped a forehand past his stick to garner the extra point for Grand Rapids.

Rybar, the AHL’s fourth-ranked netminder entering the night, stopped 33 of 36 for the win, besting Theissen’s 29 saves.

Notes: The Griffins failed to convert on five power play chances and allowed the Monsters to cash in on one of their four attempts…After being sent to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye earlier today for their game in Kalamazoo, forward Tyler Spezia and defenseman Trevor Hamilton are expected to rejoin the Griffins on Sunday.

Three Stars: 1. GR Terry (goal, two assists, shootout goal); 2. GR Camper (goal, assist); 3. CLE Letestu (two assists)

Official Game Report