GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The Grand Rapids Griffins played their final game of this shortened 32-game slate and close out the campaign by beating the Cleveland Monsters, 4-1. Riley Barber notched his 20th goal of the season that broke a 1-1 tie in the third period.
The Griffins needed less than a minute into the opening period to get on the board. Chase Pearson got a faceoff win from the left circle and Kyle Criscuolo pounced on a loose puck and fired it upstairs to beat Monsters goaltender Daniil Tarasov. The first period ended with the Griffins holding the 1-0 advantage.
The second period provided no scoring, but there was still a slew of activity. Grand Rapids went on an offensive barrage getting off shots on Tarasov, but the Monsters netminder was able to keep the visiting team in the game. The middle frame featured four penalties from the Monster and three from the Griffins.
The solid goaltending from Tarasov allowed Cleveland to tie the game up at a goal apiece at the 4:01 mark of the third period. Gavin Bayreuther collected the power-play tally from the point.
Grand Rapids also had solid play from their netminder, Calvin Pickard. Pickard did not face as many shots as Tarasov, thanks to the Griffins defense, but Pickard was able to make timely saves down the stretch to keep the game tied at a goal apiece.
As he has all season, Riley Barber took matters into his own hands and broke the tie by scoring the eventual game-winning goal for Grand Rapids. Barber converted on the power play after he found some space from the right circle and sniped a shot from inside the far corner. Dominic Turgeon and Givani Smith provided empty-net goals to bury the Monsters in the final minutes.
Calvin Pickard got the win stopping 30 of 31 shots. This was his only win of the season in his third game with the Griffins. Pickard spent a better part of the season on the Detroit Red Wings taxi squad.
Grand Rapids finishes the season with a record of 16-12-4, good for third place in the Central Division. Riley Barber led the team in points with 34 (20-14-34). Kevin Boyle led the Griffins in wins with seven.
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