Grand Rapids Griffins Matt Lorito tallied in the fourth round of the shootout, giving the Central Division a 1-0 victory over the Atlantic Division in the 2017 AHL All-Star Challenge Championship Game on Monday night at the PPL Center.
It was a tough ending for the Atlantic squad, which allowed just two goals in three games during round robin play, but couldn’t solve the goaltending tandem of Michale Leighton (Charlotte Checkers) and Anton Forsberg (Cleveland Monsters) in the finale.
The Atlantic Division, helmed by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins head coach Clark Donatelli, defeated the Central in the opening contest of the night, 2-1, then notched a convincing 6-1 victory against the Pacific team. A 2-0 win over the North squad in Game Six gave the Atlantic the only unblemished record headed into the final.
After falling in the first game, the Central posted a 2-1 win over the North and a 5-3 victory against the Central, but then had to pull for a regulation victory by the Atlantic over the North to clinch the spot in the championship.
Despite suffering defeat in the final game, Lehigh Valley Phantoms forward Taylor Leier was named the tournament MVP with a three goal performance on the night.