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HOGWASH


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - One longtime Grand Rapids Griffins streak continued on Saturday while a two-week-old run came to an end. The 12th consecutive home opening sellout saw the Griffins suffer the first blemish on their 2007-08 record, a 5-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins, who entered the night with a perfect 3-0 mark on their resume, will get back at it on Sunday when they host the Quad City Flames at 4 p.m.

In the first-ever meeting of these clubs, the IceHogs built a 3-0 advantage by the time the contest was nine minutes old. The damage started just 3:17 in, as Adam Berti took a backhand pass from Bryan Bickell and blasted a one-timer past Jimmy Howard’s glove from the right hashmarks.

Longtime Griffins nemesis Wade Flaherty, now sporting the red and black uniform of the Chicago Blackhawks’ top affiliate, made a brilliant glove save on Randall Gelech’s point-blank effort two minutes later to maintain Rockford’s lead, which they would quickly build upon. Troy Brouwer slipped the puck through Howard’s pads during a power play at 7:27, and a turnover deep in the Griffins’ zone resulted in a Michael Blunden goal at the nine-minute mark.

The Griffins began to rouse following a timeout but Flaherty stayed strong, kicking out a Mark Hartigan breakaway attempt with his left pad with five minutes and change remaining in the frame. Grand Rapids finally got on the board on its 17th shot with 3:43 left in the period, as Johan Ryno’s blast from the point rebounded to Brett Engelhardt, who slapped the puck past Flaherty from the left side for a power play marker.  

After an uneventful start to the second period, Howard kept the Griffins’ deficit at two by denying a Blunden break in the tenth minute. Grand Rapids’ Adam Keefe and Rockford’s Jake Dowell soon after went toe-to-toe in a wild bout at center ice, but penalty troubles would extinguish any energy the home team gained by Keefe’s victory. With three minutes left in the period, and just five seconds into a 5-on-3 advantage for the Hogs, David Bolland connected on a rocket from the point to reassert Rockford’s three-goal cushion heading into the final 20 minutes.

The visitors made it a 5-1 game with their third power play goal at the 3:56 mark of the third period, when an unfortunate bounce enabled Prestin Ryan to pop the puck into a gaping net.

Flaherty turned aside 38 shots to earn First Star honors, while Howard fell to 2-1 on the season despite 31 stops.

Griffins Game Rewind
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2
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Official Game Report



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