Griffins Fall 4-3 to Chicago Wolves
ROSEMONT, Ill. - After jumping out to a 3-1 lead less than seven minutes into the second period, the Grand Rapids Griffins surrendered three unanswered goals in a 4-3 defeat to the Chicago Wolves on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
With four games remaining in the regular season for each of the top four teams in the Central Division, Grand Rapids (90 pts.) is one point behind second-place Lake Erie following the Monsters' overtime win at Rochester. Meanwhile, the Griffins remain two points above Rockford as Manitoba beat the IceHogs in regulation.
For the first time this campaign, the Griffins were unable to earn at least a point against the Wolves, finishing 6-1-1-0 in the season series. The result also snapped Chicago's four-game losing streak.
Tomas Nosek started the scoring for Grand Rapids (44-26-1-1) at the 8:34 mark of the opening period. On a tic-tac-toe sequence, Ryan Sproul's pass from below the right circle found Mark Zengerle at the left circle, who fed Nosek in the slot for a shot along the ice into an open net.
Tyler Bertuzzi gave the Griffins a 2-0 edge on the power play with 4:19 left in the first. Just as a Jordan Caron high-sticking minor was about to expire, Zengerle's backhand pass from the left half-boards reached Bertuzzi at the left circle for a one-timer off Pheonix Copley's right post and in.
Danny Kristo got Chicago (31-34-5-3) on the scoresheet on a 5-on-3 power play 22 seconds into the middle frame. Ty Rattie's sharp-angle shot from below the left circle was fought off by Jared Coreau, but the rebound came to Kristo in front for a shot high to the glove side.
Colin Campbell restored the Griffins' two-goal advantage at the 6:38 mark of the second. After Campbell's initial effort from the right circle hit the left post and rolled behind Copley, he beat Scooter Vaughan to the rebound and stabbed the puck into an empty cage.
Vaughan cut the deficit to one with 5:29 to play in the second. Justin Selman's one-timer from the right circle was stopped by the right pad of Coreau, but Vaughan was alone at the far post to put home the rebound.
Jordan Schmaltz evened the score for Chicago 6:09 into the third. Yannick Veilleux's pass from near the left corner found Schmaltz at the left circle for a shot low to the blocker side.
Rattie scored the game-winner for the Wolves on the power play with 10:42 remaining. Zach O'Brien's backhand pass from the left circle reached Rattie at the top of the right circle, sending a shot over the blocker-side shoulder that rang off the crossbar and in.
The Griffins finished 1-for-3 on the power play, while Chicago scored twice on five opportunities. Copley turned away 24 of 27 shots for the victory, while Coreau stopped 25 of 29 shots in defeat.
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