GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Rockford IceHogs 2
Dec. 16, 2018
ROCKFORD, Ill. — It took 51 minutes and 31 seconds for the puck to finally find twine in Sunday’s matchup between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs.
The late goal was knocked in from Rockford’s Lucas Carlsson on the power play and eventually propelled the IceHogs (13-10-2-4) to a 2-1 win over the Griffins at BMO Harris Bank Center.
After playing three games in three days, Grand Rapids (15-10-2-2) will head home to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday to host the Cleveland Monsters at 7 p.m. before traveling north for a two-game series with the Manitoba Moose, starting Friday at 8 p.m.
Despite missing five of their top six scorers who account for 43 percent of their offense, the Griffins recorded a number of chances while outshooting the IceHogs 16-9 in the first period and 14-11 in the second.
The Griffins’ best opportunity of the scoreless second period came with 5:39 remaining in the frame when Matt Ford brought the puck up the right side of Rockford goaltender Collin Delia and sent a backhand pass to David Pope on the doorstep. However, Delia extended his left leg just far enough to stuff the shot, maintaining the stalemate.
Less than two minutes later, Ford paired with Dominic Turgeon for a two-on-one in Rockford’s zone. Turgeon sent the puck to Ford from the left-wing circle, but Delia blocked back-to-back shots from Ford and Chris Terry to keep the match stalled at zero headed into the third period.
After a breakaway opportunity was knocked away by Delia, Bryan Moore was penalized for tripping at 9:46 to put the IceHogs on the power play. With only 15 seconds left in the opportunity, Victor Ejdsell took a shot from the slot that bounced off goaltender Patrik Rybar. Alexandre Fortin attempted to drive it back into the net, but Carlsson eventually cleaned it off the doorstep to give the IceHogs the lead.
Rockford extended its score to two at 16:03 when a slapshot from Carlsson fell off Rybar into the hands of Jordan Schroeder, who pushed it past the goaltender’s extended glove to make it 2-0.
A last ditch effort to close the two-goal deficit left Grand Rapids with an empty net at 3:34. Almost a minute later, a penalty to IceHog forward Joni Tuulola gave the Griffins a two-man advantage. But after just 12 seconds, that advantage was cut to 5-on-4 when Ford was called for delay of game.
However, it wasn't until there were only 10 seconds left in the frame that Grand Rapids managed to capitalize. Off a pass from Colin Campbell across Rockford's zone, Terry whipped in a one-timer from the right-wing circle to put the Griffins within one.
Ten seconds wasn’t enough time to erase Rockford’s lead, though, as the IceHogs stifled any remaining chances for Grand Rapids and secured a 2-1 victory.
With 37 saves on the night, Delia took second-star honors and the win, while Rybar finished with 27.
Notes: The Griffins fell to 0-for-4 on the power play and 2-for-3 on the penalty kill for the night...Carter Camper missed his fourth straight game due to injury, while Filip Zadina, Turner Elson, Givani Smith, and Matt Puempel were all out of the lineup after Saturday's 5-4 shootout win over the Milwaukee Admirals...The game marked Grand Rapids’ eighth consecutive loss to Rockford in BMO Harris Bank Center.
Three Stars: 1. RFD Carlsson (goal, assist); 2. RFD Delia (W, 37 saves); 3. RFD Schroeder (game-winning goal)
Photo by Rockford IceHogs