11/22/2008 10:11 PM
CHICAGO – The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped their fourth consecutive game on Saturday, falling to the Chicago Wolves 6-3 at Allstate Arena. The Wolves went 3-for-7 with the man advantage, despite coming into the game with the league’s worst power play at 5.6 percent.
The Griffins (8-5-2-2) entered the game with the AHL’s fourth-best penalty kill at 89.3 percent, but gave up three power-play goals in the loss. Darren Helm recorded an assist to extend his Griffins’ season-high point streak to seven games. Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots in net for the Griffins, while Dan Turple notched 31 saves for the Wolves (12-4-1-1).
The Griffins drew first blood off the stick of Evan McGrath at the 18:24 mark of the first period. After applying pressure in the Chicago zone, Corey Emmerton forced a turnover that created a two-on-none against Turple. Emmerton controlled on the left post and fed it across to McGrath, who buried it to put the Griffins up 1-0.
Steve Martins responded with a short-handed goal one minute later. Martins ripped a slap shot from just inside the Griffins’ blue line that found the top-left corner of the net to tie the game 1-1 with 36 seconds remaining in the first period. The Wolves then took the lead 4:34 into the second period when Jeff Hamilton scored a power-play goal. Chicago scored its third consecutive goal at the 12:57 mark of the second. On the power-play, Hamilton fired a pass from the right point to the left circle and Joe Motzko one-timed the puck past Howard.
Darren Haydar, who captained the Wolves to the 2007-08 Calder Cup, scored against his former team to bring the Griffins to within one with 3:16 left in the second during an odd-man rush with Helm. His first shot was saved by Turple, but he got his own rebound and his backhand try went off Turple and trickled over the line to make the score 3-2.
Brett Sterling gave the Wolves a 4-2 lead at the 5:37 mark of the third period. Sterling took the puck behind the net and then walked in front of the net and wristed a shot to the top corner of the net. Scott Lehman made it a three-goal game with his slap shot from the right point 2:04 later. Martins scored his second goal of the game on a power play 44 seconds after that, jamming the puck past Daniel Larsson, who had come on in replacement of Howard.
The Griffins made it 6-3 with a shorthanded goal from Mattias Ritola with 5:38 left in the contest. Emmerton poked a loose puck out to center ice and Ritola went five-hole on the ensuing breakaway to make it a three-goal game.
Three Stars: 1. CHI Hamilton (Goal, 3 assists); 2. CHI Martins (2 goals, assist); 3. CHI Motzko (Goal, assist)