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WILD NIGHT ENDS POORLY FOR GRIFFINS

Iowa Wild 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2

Jan. 10, 2014

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Despite owning a commanding 43-26 advantage in shots, the Grand Rapids Griffins no longer possess a perfect record against the Iowa Wild, who earned their first series win in four tries with a 3-2 decision on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
 
Johan Gustafsson made 41 saves and watched perhaps a dozen other Griffins chances sail high or wide of his net, while his teammates took advantage of their breaks to conclude their first-ever visit to Grand Rapids in celebration.
 
The Midwest Division-leading Griffins (24-10-1-2) will get another crack at the fifth-place Wild (15-14-2-2) on Saturday in a 7 p.m. rematch at Van Andel Arena.
 
Each netminder surrendered an early goal that he no doubt would like back. Just 50 seconds into the game, a Cory Emmerton wrist shot from the top of the right circle popped high into the air after being turned away by Gustafsson, but both the goalie and an Iowa defender lost sight of the puck, allowing Emmerton to swoop in and bat it into the yawning net.
 
The Wild evened matters at 6:53 after McCollum gloved a long shot by Brian Connelly but inadvertently dropped the puck at the top of his crease, enabling Raphael Bussieres to grab it and quickly stuff it inside the left post.
 
Iowa tallied another unlikely goal 9:30 into the second to move ahead 2-1. After intercepting Grand Rapids’ rimming attempt, Carson McMillan threw a sharp-angle shot on net from below the right circle, and the puck glanced off McCollum and slipped through the daylight between him and the near post.
 
A strong drive to the net by Tomas Jurco set up the Griffins’ tying goal at the 7:57 mark of the third period. Gustafsson denied Jurco’s effort but the puck settled just inches from the left post, and Teemu Pulkkinen jammed it across the line. 
 
Iowa notched the game-winner by taking advantage of another fortunate bounce of the puck with just 4:12 remaining in the third. McCollum got a piece of an initial shot from the right side by Marc Hagel, but the puck trickled behind him and a crashing Jake Dowell was able to tap it home.
 
The Griffins were given hope for an equalizer when Hagel was sent off for hooking with 1:40 left, but they couldn’t get another goal despite pulling McCollum for a 6-on-4 advantage in the final minute. Gustafsson stopped a point-blank shot by Ryan Sproul at the buzzer for an exclamation point.
 
McCollum, denied what would have been his 60th career AHL victory, finished with 23 saves.
 
Three Stars: 1. IA Dowell (game-winning goal); 2. GR Pulkkinen (goal, assist); 3. GR Emmerton (goal)

 
Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights & Interviews
WOOD Radio Highlights: Emmerton Goal Tootoo Fight Pulkkinen Goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

 


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