Justin Pogge made 49 saves for his first professional victory as Toronto blanked Grand Rapids, 4-0, at Van Andel Arena on Friday night.
Pogge, named the top goaltender in Canadian major juniors last year, entered the contest with a 3.53 goals-against average and an .868 save percentage, but the highly-touted Maple Leafs prospect shut down the Griffins and posted the first regular-season whitewash by a visiting goalie at Van Andel since Mar. 18, 2005.
A wide-open first period was scoreless thanks to Pogge, who made 16 stops to help deny three Griffins power plays, and Grand Rapids’ Stefan Liv, who thwarted a breakaway by sniper Erik Westrum for one of his 10 saves during the frame.
The Marlies (4-4-1-0) received their first power play early in the second period and needed only 15 seconds to capitalize. From the corner, former Detroit Red Wings forward Boyd Devereaux sent a pass into the right circle to Jeremy Williams, who beat Liv with a slap shot at the 4:07 mark.
Toronto extended its lead with a shorthanded goal during a 2-on-1 break at 11:20, as Brett Engelhardt popped a rebound of Jeff Corey’s shot into a gaping net. Just 1:29 later, Liv’s night ended in favor of Jimmy Howard, after Kris Newbury sailed a shot over Liv’s shoulder from a stride beyond the blue line.
Howard stopped the seven shots he faced over the duration, but the Griffins could not dent Pogge despite launching 19 shots in the second period and another 14 in the third. Eric Himelfarb had the last best chance for Grand Rapids, ringing a shot off the left post with 3:15 left.
Newbury added a 70-foot shorthanded goal into an empty net with 1:44 remaining for the final margin.
The 20-year-old Pogge (1-2-0) was 38-10-6 with a 1.72 GAA and 11 shutouts for Calgary (WHL) last season, and won a gold medal with Canada at the 2006 World Junior Championships.
SPRINGFIELD 6, LOWELL 4
Eric Healey, Norm Milley and Blair Jones combined for 14 points as Springfield rallied from four goals down to stun Lowell, 6-4, at the MassMutual Center on Friday night.
Healey had two goals and three assists, Milley recorded a goal and four assists and Jones scored his first two pro goals and assisted on two others.
Healey started the comeback with 8:37 gone in the second period. Milley made it 4-2 before the second intermission, and Jones scored twice in 73 seconds to tie the score.
Healey then put the Falcons in front with 10:14 to play, and Marek Kvapil gave Springfield some breathing room 1:12 later.
The Falcons scored their six goals on just 19 shots.
HERSHEY 4, ALBANY 3
Joey Tenute scored on a breakaway 9:17 through the third period to lift the Hershey Bears to a 4-3 victory over the Albany River Rats at Pepsi Arena.
Jesse Boulerice had two goals and assist for the River Rats, who lost their third straight game.
Frederic Cassivi finished with 31 saves to record the win for Hershey, which improved to 5-0-0-1 on the season.
NORFOLK 3, HARTFORD 1
Troy Brouwer’s goal midway through the second period stood up as the game-winner as Norfolk posted a 3-1 victory over visiting Hartford.
Ryan Callahan scored the lone goal for the Wolf Pack, breaking up Crawford’s shutout bid with 66 seconds left in regulation.
PROVIDENCE 5, BRIDGEPORT 4 (SO)
Bridgeport scored three times in the third period, but went 0-for-4 in the shootout and dropped a 5-4 decision in Providence.
Peter Ferraro, MVP of the 1999 Calder Cup Playoffs when he led the Bruins to the championship, had a goal and two assists for the Sound Tigers. Robert Nilsson added a goal and an assist, and Eric Boguniecki scored in his Bridgeport debut.
SYRACUSE 5, ROCHESTER 0
Syracuse got in the win column for the first time and ended Rochester’s perfect start with a 5-0 win at the Onondaga County War Memorial at Oncenter.
Adam Dennis stopped 25 shots in defeat for the Amerks, who had won their first seven outings.
WORCESTER 4, PORTLAND 2
Mathieu Darche became the first AHL player to 10 goals this season, scoring twice to lead Worcester to a 4-2 win over Portland.
The Pirates (6-1-0-1) lost in regulation for the first time, while the Sharks closed to within three points of first-place Portland in the Atlantic Division.
Pierre Parenteau led the Pirates with a goal and an assist.
HOUSTON 2, HAMILTON 1
Ryan Hamilton scored the winning goal at 9:39 of the second period and Josh Harding stopped 20 of 21 shots as Houston made it two wins in a row with a 2-1 victory over Hamilton at the Toyota Center.
OMAHA 2, IOWA 1
Omaha ran its points streak to eight games (7-0-1-0), as Dustin Boyd scored with 11:52 left in regulation to lift the Knights over Iowa, 2-1.
It was Omaha’s second win in as many days against the Stars, who had won six in a row previously.
WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON 4, MANITOBA 3
Erik Christensen scored twice and Kyle Brodziak once during a three-goal third period as Wilkes-Barre/Scranton rallied past Manitoba, 4-3, at the MTS Centre.
Jeff Deslauriers made 23 saves as the Penguins extended their winning streak to six games.