Griffins Drop 6-5 OT Decision to Wolves
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Sebastian Wannstrom knocked home a rebound during a power play 1:56 into overtime on Friday to lift the Chicago Wolves to a wild 6-5 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins sprinted out to an early 3-0 advantage by lighting the lamp on their first three shots against Matt Climie, but the Wolves clawed back to take a 4-3 lead and, eventually, the win in the first meeting of the season between these Midwest Division rivals.
Grand Rapids (3-3-1-0), winless over its first four home games for the first time since its 2012-13 Calder Cup championship season, will try to earn that first victory at Van Andel Arena next Wednesday morning when it hosts an 11 a.m. rematch with the Wolves.
Andy Miele scored twice within the opening 5:53 to stake Grand Rapids to its first two-goal lead on home ice this season. He set up just outside the crease to redirect Teemu Pulkkinen's pass behind Climie just 1:22 into the contest, then burst down the right side minutes later and scooped a backhand top-shelf before colliding with the Wolves' netminder.
Andreas Athanasiou maintained the Griffins' perfect shooting percentage with 6:03 left in the frame, taking a pass from Ryan Sproul at the Grand Rapids blue line, speeding behind the defense and ripping a wrist shot from the top of the left circle inside the far post.
Chicago (4-1-2-0) got on the board at the 16:51 mark on a goal similar to Miele's first, with Shane Harper deflecting Terry Broadhurst's feed past Petr Mrazek from the doorstep.
A pair of Wolves minor penalties assessed 27 seconds before intermission gave the Griffins a full two-minute 5-on-3 advantage that carried over into the second period, but the home squad managed only two fruitless shots in 1:33 on the fresh ice.
That failure to convert proved costly, as the Wolves scored three times in less than five minutes to seize a shocking 4-3 lead and chase Mrazek from the game in favor of Tom McCollum. Philip McRae popped home a rebound of Chris Butler's point shot at 2:51, Ty Rattie connected on a long shot from the left boards at 6:33 to tie it, and Jeremy Welsh scored from the slot at 7:30.
Undaunted by the flurry of goals by the visitors, the Griffins took advantage of a misplay by Climie to knot the score at the 10:52 mark. Climie wandered out to the right of his cage to play the puck but his attempted pass deflected onto the stick of Athanasiou, who quickly threw it into the crease to a waiting Martin Frk for a tap-in into the vacated net.
McRae's second goal of the night, on a redirection at 17:16, put Chicago ahead 5-4 and represented a rare power play goal for the opposition, as the Griffins to that point had killed off all 14 opponent power plays at home this season and 27 of 28 overall.
Landon Ferraro netted the equalizer with his first goal of the season 8:14 into the third, cleaning up on the left side on assists from Jeff Hoggan and Alexey Marchenko after a Wolves turnover deep in the Chicago zone.
An offensive-zone boarding penalty on Mitch Callahan with one second remaining in regulation put Chicago on a 4-on-3 power play to begin the Griffins' first foray into the AHL's new seven-minute overtime period, setting the stage for Wannstrom's heroics.
McCollum took the hard-luck loss despite allowing only two goals on 22 shots, while Climie escaped with the victory while stopping only 21 of 26. Mrazek turned aside 15 of 19 in the no-decision.
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American Hockey League Stories from October 31, 2014
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