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TWO-MINUTE STRETCH SPELLS DOOM FOR GRIFFINS

Grand Rapids, Mich. – So much for the close calls. Following seven straight one-goal decisions and three consecutive wins, the Grand Rapids Griffins surrendered four goals within a 1:48 span of the second period en route to a 6-2 loss to the Chicago Wolves on Thursday at Van Andel Arena.

In an uncharacteristic team performance, Joey MacDonald was chased from the crease after allowing four goals on 20 shots, and the Griffins’ four-goal margin of defeat equaled the cumulative margin of their four previous losses.

After concluding their record nine-game homestand with a 4-4-1-0 mark, the Griffins (8-4-1-0) will play their first road game in 26 days on Friday, when they visit Cleveland for a 7 p.m. start against the Barons.

Chicago held a 1-0 lead at the first intermission, courtesy of a Brian Maloney backhander just 2:23 into the contest. Griffins captain Blake Sloan tied the score at 1:38 of the second frame, crashing the net to deposit a rebound of Eric Himelfarb’s shot from the left circle, but the wheels would soon fall off the home team’s bus.

A tip-in by Tommi Santala at the 7:32 mark restored the Wolves’ lead, and J.P. Vigier opened the floodgates with a rocket from the right circle just 10 seconds later. When Cory Larose scored at 8:21, it spelled the end of MacDonald’s evening, as he gave way to Drew MacIntyre.

MacIntyre, who would finish with nine saves, was rudely welcomed to the game by Larose’s second goal 59 seconds later, a power play tally that made it a 5-1 contest with 10:40 still showing on the second period clock.

Himelfarb restored a little order for the Griffins soon after during a penalty kill, notching his second shorthanded goal of the campaign from the right circle at 10:29.

Chicago’s Travis Roche completed the scoring at 10:03 of the third period, as the Wolves (5-5-1-1) earned only their second road win in seven tries this season, both coming at Van Andel Arena. Dating back to the 2003-04 regular season and playoffs, the Wolves have now won their last five games in Grand Rapids.


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