[From the Griffins]
CLEVELAND – In their final road game of the 2020-21 season, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell to the Cleveland Monsters by a 6-4 count on Friday at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
After getting shut out by Kaden Fulcher and the Griffins 2-0 here on Tuesday, the Monsters opened the scoring 6:07 into this contest, when Tristan Mullin roofed a shot over Fulcher from low in the left circle. Cleveland’s potent power play then connected just seven seconds into its first opportunity, as Carson Meyer scored from the slot at 8:18 to make it 2-0 for the home team.
Chase Pearson put Grand Rapids on the board at 12:56 by deflecting Seth Barton’s shot, giving Barton his first pro point in his third game, but Cliff Pu got it right back at 13:43 by taking a shot that glanced off Joe Hicketts and past Fulcher, giving the Monsters a 3-1 advantage.
Pat Nagle replaced Fulcher between the Griffins’ pipes, and Grand Rapids immediately responded by scoring two quick goals to knot the score at 3-3. Max Humitz got a stick on Givani Smith’s feed at 15:17, before Smith redirected Taro Hirose’s pass into the top of Daniil Tarasov’s net from the right post 50 seconds later for a power play goal.
Cleveland received a full two-minute 5-on-3 advantage 50 seconds into the middle frame after an interference call on Patrick Curry and a violation by Pearson on the ensuing faceoff, and the Monsters capitalized on Gavin Bayreuther’s one-timer from the right circle at 2:06 to move back ahead 4-3.
That margin held until the 3:49 mark of the third, when Josh Dunne cleaned up a rebound in front of Nagle to post Cleveland to its second two-goal cushion of the evening. Riley Barber unleashed his deadly snap shot from above the right circle during a power play at 12:27 for his 19th goal of the campaign and a 5-4 score, but the Griffins could get no closer. Dunne sealed matters with an empty-netter at 18:55.
• Grand Rapids played its fifth game in the last eight days and its 11th game in the last 19 days. The Griffins will make it 6-in-9 and 12-in-20 with Saturday’s season finale against the Monsters at Van Andel Arena.
• The Griffins managed an 8-8 road record this season despite bussing to and from the host city on the same day of 14 of those 16 games.
• Hicketts’ assist on Smith’s goal was the 100th of his Griffins/AHL career.
Grand Rapids 3 0 1 - 4
Cleveland 3 1 2 - 6
1st Period-1, Cleveland, Mullin 3 (Moncada), 6:07. 2, Cleveland, Meyer 9 (Sikura, Fonstad), 8:18 (PP). 3, Grand Rapids, Pearson 8 (Barton, Dello), 12:56. 4, Cleveland, Pu 3 (Angle), 13:43. 5, Grand Rapids, Humitz 3 (Smith, MacLeod), 15:17. 6, Grand Rapids, Smith 8 (Hirose, Hicketts), 16:07 (PP). Penalties-Dello Gr (slashing), 8:11; Crawley Cle (interference), 15:28.
2nd Period-7, Cleveland, Bayreuther 2 (Simpson, Angle), 2:06 (PP). Penalties-Curry Gr (interference), 0:50; Pearson Gr (delay of game - faceoff violation (batting puck with hand)), 0:50.
3rd Period-8, Cleveland, Dunne 7 (Pu, Newpower), 3:49. 9, Grand Rapids, Barber 19 (Hirose, Pearson), 12:27 (PP). 10, Cleveland, Dunne 8 18:55 (EN). Penalties-Pu Cle (high-sticking), 1:27; Curry Gr (high-sticking, misconduct), 3:49; Gallant Cle (slashing, misconduct), 3:49; Struthers Cle (tripping), 11:08.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 10-11-8-29. Cleveland 9-14-7-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 2 / 3; Cleveland 2 / 3.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Fulcher 2-2-2 (8 shots-5 saves); Nagle 6-6-0 (21 shots-19 saves). Cleveland, Tarasov 4-1-0 (29 shots-25 saves).
1. CLE Pu (G,A); 2. CLE Angle (2A); 3. CLE Dunne (2G)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 15-12-3-1 (34 pts.) / Sat., May 15 vs. Cleveland 7 p.m.
Cleveland: 16-9-1-2 (35 pts.) / Sat., May 15 at Grand Rapids 7 p.m.