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ROCKFORD REPELS RALLY


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A furious third-period rally before a boisterous crowd of 8,985 came up just short for the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday, as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena.

Down 4-1 four minutes into the third, the Griffins responded with goals from Mattias Ritola and Tomas Tatar but could not net the equalizer, despite generating several other scoring chances and pulling Thomas McCollum for an extra attacker in the final minute.

The Griffins (12-7-0-0) will look to snap a two-game skid on Saturday when they visit Peoria for an 8 p.m. EST start against the Rivermen.

For the fourth time in their last nine outings, the Griffins fell behind 1-0 before the game was five minutes old. At the 2:32 mark, Jassen Cullimore took a shot from the left point that was denied by McCollum, but Pete MacArthur banged home the rebound from the doorstep.

Grand Rapids tied matters with 1:45 remaining in the frame, prompting a cascade of 1,000 stuffed animals to rain down from the stands as part of the team’s 10th annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Hug-A-Bears of Kent County. Speeding down the right boards, Francis Pare dropped a pass inside the Rockford line for Evan McGrath, who ripped a shot from the top of the circle past Alec Richards’ blocker.

The IceHogs (10-11-2-1) grabbed another lead midway through the second, as Kyle Greentree finished off an odd-man rush by potting Bracken Kearns’ pass from the left side for a 2-1 lead at 9:37. Rockford then increased its advantage to two thanks to a fortunate bounce at the 18:03 mark, when Akim Aliu’s try from below the goal line banked off McCollum’s stick and into the net.

A turnover in the Griffins’ zone resulted in a Nathan Davis goal and a short-lived 4-1 lead for the visitors 3:54 into the third period, but Ritola answered during a goal-mouth scramble 2:03 later to cut Grand Rapids’ deficit back to two.

Tatar pulled the Griffins within one at 11:52, tapping home a Jan Mursak pass to extend his goal streak to three games and his point streak to four, but Grand Rapids could get no closer.

McCollum finished with 29 saves, while Richards earned his first career AHL win behind 27 stops.

Three Stars: 1. RFD Davis (game-winning goal, assist); 2. GR Pare (two assists); 3. RFD MacArthur (goal, assist)
 

Griffins Game Rewind
GriffVision Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: McGrath  McCollum  Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Ritola goal   Tatar goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: McGrath   McCollum   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

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