GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Calvin Pickard logged 26 saves to earn his first shutout of the season and backstop the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
Behind a defense that was bolstered earlier today by the assignment of veteran defenseman Jonathan Ericsson from the Detroit Red Wings, Pickard secured his first shutout since Nov. 23, 2018 (PHI vs. NYR) and his first AHL whitewash since Jan. 20, 2018 (TOR at BNG).
As a result, the Griffins improved to 3-2-0-1 and kicked off their four-game homestand with their first home-ice win of the season. They’ll look to make it two in a row on Friday when they host the Manitoba Moose at 7 p.m.
The Griffins controlled the action during the first period, outshooting Milwaukee by a 10-3 count, not allowing a shot by the visitors for the first 17:56 of play, and striking first with just 1.4 seconds remaining in the frame. On a rush into the Admirals’ zone, Matt Puempel took a feed from Michael Rasmussen inside the blue line and drove down the right side before centering a pass to Chris Terry, who slammed a top-shelf shot past Connor Ingram from the bottom of the left circle for his team-high third goal of the season.
Grand Rapids withstood four Milwaukee shots in the opening two minutes of the second period and eventually seized a 2-0 lead at the 8:57 mark. Gregor MacLeod got the puck to Ryan Kuffner along the right boards and the Princeton product sped toward the net, taking a shot from the edge of the arc that Ingram denied before popping home his own rebound.
By the time 40 minutes had elapsed, Milwaukee held a 19-17 advantage in shots but still found itself in a two-goal hole thanks to Pickard, who turned aside 16 shots during a much busier middle period of work.
The Admirals had significantly fewer shots in the third, getting outgunned 10-7 for the frame and 27-26 on the night, and Grand Rapids salted the game away on Puempel’s empty-net goal from center ice with 1:43 remaining.
Ingram stopped 24 of 26 shots faced as Milwaukee fell to 2-2-1-2 and saw its winless streak extend to four games (0-1-1-2). Each team finished 0-for-3 on the power play.
Notes: Ericsson, who played 176 games for Grand Rapids from 2006-09, set a new standard for the longest time span between Griffins appearances at 3,888 days, or 10 years, 7 months and 22 days (March 1, 2009 to Oct. 23, 2019). The record had been held by Jimmy Howard at 2,831 days, or seven years, eight months and 28 days (May 6, 2009 to Feb. 4, 2017).
Three Stars: 1. GR Pickard, (SO, W, 26 saves); 2. GR Terry (game-winning goal); 3. GR Rasmussen (two assists)