GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WTVO/WQRF)–Forward Dylan McLaughlin struck on the power play and rookie Mitch Fossier converted on a third-period penalty shot, but the Grand Rapids Griffins held on for a 3-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena Wednesday night.
The Griffins opened the scoring early in the contest as forward Patrick Curry found room under the pads of IceHogs goaltender Cale Morris (9 saves on 11 shots) off the right-wing corner 1:48 into the game. McLaughlin carried over his hot play from last weekend (one goal and two assists at Iowa on Saturday) with a power-play goal at 11:51 to make it 1-1 with a crafty shot past Griffins goalie Kevin Boyle (W, 20 saves on 22 shots).
Late in the period, Griffins leading scorer Riley Barber took advantage of a fallen IceHogs defenseman and open ice and placed a perfect shot over the glove of Morris for this team-leading 15th goal of the season at 18:36.
After a quiet second period, the final frame would open with a goaltending change as Ivan Nalimov (L, 9 saves on 10 shots) took over the IceHogs net in relief of Morris. The offense opened up in the third as well as Fossier was awarded a penalty shot at 4:58 after sneaking past the Griffins defense and being pulled down to the ice. Fossier buried the IceHogs’ first penalty shot of the season to make it 2-2. Forward Gregor MacLeod and the Griffins would respond at 8:14 for another one-goal advantage. Griffins forwards Taro Hirose had a chance to extend the lead with a penalty shot attempt on Nalimov, but would be denied by the right leg pad at 17:34.
The IceHogs went 1-for-3 on the power play while the Griffins went 0-for-2. With the victory, the Griffins become the first home team through six games in the head-to-head series to earn the victory. The IceHogs are now 2-1-0 at Van Andel Arena this season.