HERSHEY, Pa. – Behind a 21-save effort, Tom McCollum produced his first shutout of the season propelling the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-0 victory over the Hershey Bears on Sundayafternoon. It was the Griffins’ first trip to the Giant Center since Feb. 26, 2006.
The clean sheet was McCollum’s eighth career shutout as a Griffin. He passes Petr Mrazek for sole possession of sixth place all-time on the shutout list in franchise history. His last shutout occurred on March 21, 2017 against the Iowa Wild as a member of the Charlotte Checkers.
The Griffins (32-22-1-6) are back in action on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. against the Iowa Wild from Van Andel Arena.
Matthew Ford put Grand Rapids on the board first with a power play goal at the 12:16 mark of the opening period. The captain was tussling for a rebound with a defender when he took a quick wrist shot from the left circle. Goaltender Pheonix Copley was caught off guard as the puck sailed past his right arm for the 1-0 lead.
Nearly two minutes later, Ben Street added an insurance goal from a rebound off of a Matt Puempel shot. Eric Tangradi made a centering pass to Puempel from behind the net which led to the opportunity. Street was standing near the right post when the puck fell into the crease and he hammered it into the net.
Each team had at least one power play opportunity in the second frame, but neither team was successful. The Bears (25-29-4-5) accrued two man-advantages thanks to penalties from Ford andAxel Holmstrom.
Six minutes into the final stanza, Street lit the lamp up again. He was assisted again by Puempel who forced a turnover in the Hershey zone behind the net. After Puempel collected the puck, he made a quick pass to Street who sent a laser over Copley’s glove for the 3-goal decision.
McCollum finished with 21 saves to bring his record to 11-11-3, while Copley stopped 20 shots to bring his record to 13-15-6-4.
The Griffins finished 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Bears went 0-for-5 with the man advantage.
Three Stars: 1. GR Street (two goals); 2. GR Puempel (two assists); 3. GR McCollum (W, 21 saves, SO)