SAN ANTONIO – Jimmy Howard stopped all 21 shots he faced as the Grand Rapids Griffins blanked the San Antonio Rampage 3-0 on Tuesday at the AT&T Center.
Earning his first AHL shutout since a 3-0 victory over the Rochester Americans on April 5, 2009, Howard finished 3-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a 0.920 save percentage in four starts over two conditioning stints with Grand Rapids. The result also gives the Griffins (38-16-1-2) their third consecutive win as they lead the Chicago Wolves in the Central Division standings by two points with two games in hand.
Grad Rapids won all four games in the regular season series against San Antonio, outscoring the Rampage 18-3. The Griffins look to sweep the Texas portion of their seven-game road trip on Wednesday against the Texas Stars with puck drop from the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST.
Following an unremarkable opening period, the Griffins broke out for three second-period goals with Colin Campbell breaking the scoreless tie at the 1:13 mark. After Ben Street fanned on an effort in close, the puck fell right onto the stick of Campbell at the lower part of the right circle for a quick shot inside the right post.
The visitors doubled their lead near the halfway point of the middle frame, capitalizing on a delayed penalty when Kyle Criscuolo gained the zone and dropped the puck to Brian Lashoff at the right point for a high wrist shot that deflected off the stick of Matt Lorito in front for his 19th goal of the campaign.
Criscuolo gave the Griffins a three-goal cushion with 3:29 remaining. Lorito’s intended rinkwide pass from the right circle deflected off a San Antonio stick and straight to Criscuolo in the high slot for a one-timer inside the left post past a screened Joe Cannata.
Forced to kill three penalties in the final period, the Rampage (21-32-4-1) were held to six shots on goal over the final 20 minutes and saw their winless streak climb to 12 consecutive games (0-11-0-1).
Grand Rapids finished 0-for-5 on the power play while San Antonio failed to convert on four opportunities. Cannata turned away 20 shots in defeat in his Rampage debut.
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