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Wolves Blank Griffins to Claim Central Division

Chicago Wolves 7 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 0

Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins

[From the Griffins]

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – One night after registering their first shutout of the season, the Grand Rapids Griffins suffered their first blanking on Wednesday in a 7-0 loss to the Chicago Wolves at Van Andel Arena.

Chicago only led 2-0 through 39 minutes and 57 seconds of play before a late second-period tally opened the door to a four-goal third for the Wolves, who used a hat trick by David Cotton and 35 saves by rookie Beck Warm to clinch the Central Division crown.

The visitors drew first blood 12:17 into the contest when Sean Malone roofed a backhand over Calvin Pickard at the right post, then Cotton made it 2-0 during a power play at 13:33 by firing a shot at point-blank range that trickled over the line.

Chicago stretched its lead with just 2.6 seconds left in the middle period, as Sheldon Rempel popped a shot into a wide-open back door off a centering feed from Anthony Richard. Max Lajoie pushed the margin to 4-0 at 4:48 of the third, threading a long shot from the left point through traffic and past a screened Pickard.

Cotton scored his second of the night at the 8:10 mark, one second after a Chicago power play expired, by whipping home a shot from the bottom of the right circle. He completed his hat trick with a 5-on-3 goal at 15:41, and Frederic Allard provided the nightcap with the Wolves’ third power play goal 1:10 later.

The Griffins, who had swept two games against Chicago last weekend, will close out their 32-game schedule with a home-and-home set against Cleveland. They’ll travel to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Friday before hosting the Monsters for Saturday’s season finale.

Notes

• The Griffins have played four games in the last six days and 10 games in the last 17 days.

• Grand Rapids suffered its second 7-0 defeat in 25 seasons (Jan. 3, 2004 at Milwaukee) and its worst shutout ever on home ice, following a trio of 6-0 losses. The most recent came on April 8, 2011 versus Abbotsford.

• The seven-goal margin of defeat tied the Griffins’ records both overall and at home. It happened at Van Andel Arena on Nov. 14, 2006 (8-1 loss to Milwaukee) and twice earlier on the road.

Highlights

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Box Score

Chicago 2 1 4 - 7

Grand Rapids 0 0 0 - 0

1st Period-1, Chicago, Malone 4 (Cotton, Solow), 12:17. 2, Chicago, Cotton 12 (Tomasino), 13:33 (PP). Penalties-served by Cotton Chi (bench minor - too many men), 3:13; Loggins Gr (holding), 12:54; Dello Gr (interference), 14:03; Criscuolo Gr (goaltender interference), 19:05; Cotton Chi (slashing), 20:00.

2nd Period-3, Chicago, Rempal 4 (Richard, Keane), 19:57. Penalties-served by Barber Gr (bench minor - too many men), 2:53; Allard Chi (interference), 6:38; Elson Gr (slashing), 17:50.

3rd Period-4, Chicago, Lajoie 6 (Malone), 4:48. 5, Chicago, Cotton 13 (Novak, Tomasino), 8:10. 6, Chicago, Cotton 14 (Warsofsky, Tomasino), 15:41 (PP). 7, Chicago, Allard 3 (Lajoie, Rempal), 16:51 (PP). Penalties-Spezia Gr (holding), 6:09; Barton Gr (tripping), 13:42; Smith Gr (goaltender interference, misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:08; Healey Chi (roughing), 18:11; McIlrath Gr (roughing), 18:11.

Shots on Goal-Chicago 10-12-10-32. Grand Rapids 12-8-15-35.

Power Play Opportunities-Chicago 3 / 8; Grand Rapids 0 / 3.

Goalies-Chicago, Warm 8-3-1 (35 shots-35 saves). Grand Rapids, Pickard 0-1-1 (32 shots-25 saves).

A-750

Three Stars

1. CHI Cotton (hat trick, assist); 2. CHI Warm (W, SO, 35 saves); 3. CHI Tomasino (three assists)

Record / Next Game

Grand Rapids: 15-11-3-1 (34 pts.) / Fri., May 14 at Cleveland 7 p.m.

Chicago: 20-8-1-2 (43 pts.) / Fri., May 14 at Rockford 6 p.m. CDT