Wolves Can't Grab Midwest Division Lead in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --- The Chicago Wolves saw their four-game win streak snapped as they suffered a 4-2 loss to Grand Rapids on Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena. If the Wolves had won in regulation, they would have assumed the Midwest Division lead from the Griffins by percentage points.
Right wings Michael Davies and Ty Rattie opened the first and second periods, respectively, with goals to give the Wolves one-goal leads. Goaltender Jake Allen made 36 saves, but became the Griffins' latest victim as they pushed their winning streak to six games.
For the second game in a row, the Wolves (33-18-4-2) scored in the first two minutes to take an early lead. Right wing Shane Harper muscled the puck up the ice after Chicago won a faceoff in its defensive zone. Davies picked it up, skated in alone on Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek and fired a shot that caught Mrazek's glove and trickled in.
Grand Rapids (36-17-2-3) took advantage of a power play and Allen's equipment malfunction to tie the score at 16:29. A hard shot hit Allen's mask, causing a strap to come undone and dislodge the helmet. Allen removed his mask per league rules, but play did not stop because neither team had clear possession of the puck and there was a scoring opportunity. With the puck sitting loose in the crease, right wing Martin Frk poked it in to knot the game.
Continuing to build on his impressive rookie campaign, Rattie restored the Wolves' lead 3:26 into the second period with his team-leading 23rd goal of the season. Forward Nathan Longpre carried play into the Wolves' offensive zone following a Griffins rush. He whipped a shot on net that produced a rebound on the other side of the cage, which Rattie swooped in to clean up.
An equipment misfortune again plagued Allen as the Griffins knotted the score 2-2 at 14:45. Center Landon Ferraro made a move around the back of the cage, converting on a wraparound. Allen pushed off to get to the other side of his crease and protect his post, but was held up as his stick got caught in the mesh of the net.
The Griffins took their first lead of the game late in the middle frame as left wing Triston Grant broke free from the penalty box, took a pass on a two-on-one rush, and deked to get around Allen. The score boosted Grand Rapids up 3-2 at 18:15.
Defenseman Nathan Paetsch added an empty-net goal with 24 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Griffins.
Allen's record moved to 25-13-2 as he remained tied with Toronto's Drew MacIntyre for the league lead in wins. Mrazek improved to 17-5-1 with 32 saves.
The Wolves travel to Abbotsford for a weekend doubleheader that kicks off at 9 p.m. Saturday, but will return home to face off against Texas on March 15 and 16. For tickets call 1-800-THE-WOLVES or visit ChicagoWolves.com.
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