The Griffins and Lake Erie Monsters went into overtime at the Quicken Loans Arena for the second consecutive game on Saturday and this time the Griffins came out on top with a 4-3 shootout victory. Jimmy Howard stopped four shootout chances and Cory Emmerton went top shelf in the fifth round for the game winner.
The Griffins scored two power play goals and came back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period to earn their first win of the season. Grand Rapids (1-0-1-0) will travel to Toronto for their next match, Sunday at 4 p.m. Howard finished with 25 saves for the Griffins, while Jason Bacashihua made 38 for Lake Erie.
Brian Willsie broke the scoreless tie with a short-handed marker at the 4:33 mark of the second period. After breaking up a pass, Willsie went in all alone on the Griffins’ net. Howard made the first save, but the rebound bounced right back to Willsie, who swatted it out of midair and into the back of the net. The Monsters went up 2-0 with a power play goal by Chris Stewart with 6:16 left in the second stanza. Marty Sertich controlled the puck in the right corner and centered a pass that Stewart one-timed past Howard from in close on the left side for his first goal of the season.
Justin Abdelkader put Grand Rapids on the board with 3:35 remaining in the second period. With the Griffins on the power play, Ville Leino forced a turnover deep in the Monsters’ zone and Abdelkader took a quick shot from the slot that beat Bacashihua. The goal was Abdelkader’s second in as many professional games, and it made the score 2-1.
Lake Erie started the third period on a power play and made it count just 50 seconds in when T.J. Hensick scored the team’s second power play goal in four opportunities. After a short-handed rush by the Griffins, Stewart brought the puck down the left side and fired a pass to the right side of the net that Hensick touched past Howard for a 3-1 Monsters lead.
Just 2:18 later, Landon Wilson scored the fourth power play goal of the game to bring the Griffins back to within one. Mattias Ritola fired a shot from the right point on the man advantage and, after a save by Bacashihua, Wilson out-muscled a defender and scored on the ensuing scramble.
The Griffins tied it at the 7:34 mark of the third as Darren Haydar notched his first goal in a Griffins uniform. Abdelkader picked up his second point with a nice pass back to Jonathan Ericsson, who launched a heavy shot. Bacashihua kicked the save out into the slot where a waiting Haydar snapped a wrist shot past the Monsters’ goalie.
In the shootout, Stewart gave the Monsters an early advantage with a goal but then the goalies stopped eight consecutive shooters. Wilson scored on a backhander in the fourth round and Emmerton sealed the win by going high glove side.