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Nifty 50 for Griffins’ MacLean

Donald MacLean has become the first AHL player in five years to score 50 goals in a season, reaching the milestone during Grand Rapids’ 7-3 win over Chicago at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., on Sunday.

With the win the Griffins become the first team in the Western Conference to clinch a playoff spot.

MacLean tied the score at 1-1 with his 49th of the year in the first period, then extended the Griffins’ lead to 5-2 with number 50 at the 7:53 mark of the second. MacLean would add his 25th assist of the season to give him a total of 75 points on the year.

Brad Smyth was the last AHL player to hit the magical 50-goal mark, finishing with exactly 50 during the 2000-01 season with the Hartford Wolf Pack, and scoring 68 goals in 68 games with the Carolina Monarchs in 1995-96.

MacLean won the AHL’s scoring title back in 2001-02 when he registered 87 points, including what was then a career high with 33 goals.

Nate DiCasmirro led the Griffins with four points on the night, scoring his 15th goal of the season, and adding three more assists. Joey MacDonald made 25 saves to pick up his 17th win of the season.

Elsewhere on Sunday:

  • Eric Christensen led the way with two goals and an assist as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton beat Binghamton 4-1 and became the second team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a playoff spot.
  • Jordan Sigalet earned his first shutout of the season, making 34 saves in Providence’s 4-0 win over Hershey.
  • Manitoba’s Jesse Schultz recorded a hat trick in the Moose 5-2 win over the Toronto Marlies.
  • David Moss scored two goals and added two assists to help Omaha to a 6-1 rout of Houston.
  • Nathan Paetsch scored twice in Rochester’s 5-2 win over Syracuse.
  • Zdenek Blatny picked up a goal and two assists, plus a goal during the shootout, to lead Springfield to a 4-3 victory over Lowell.