Chicago Wolves 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 0
Dec. 31, 2019
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Matching a season-low 20 shots resulted in a 2-0 loss for the Grand Rapids Griffins in their final game before 2020.
Oscar Dansk earned the shutout on Tuesday as the Chicago Wolves took their fourth straight win at Van Andel Arena and broke the Griffins’ four-year winning streak in their annual New Year’s Eve celebration.
Coupled with their 3-0 loss to Milwaukee last Friday, the Griffins (13-17-2-2) have been shut out in consecutive home games for just the third time in franchise history and own a goal drought of 160:36 at Van Andel Arena, having been blanked since Eric Tangradi scored at the 4:24 mark of the second period of their 2-1 shootout loss to Rockford on Dec. 6.
Grand Rapids, which earned a 3-2 win at division-leading Milwaukee last Saturday and is 4-2-1-0 in its last seven games in hostile territory, will now hit the road for its next four games, starting with an 8 p.m. EST visit to San Antonio on Friday.
Chicago (16-16-2-1) first struck at the 8:52 mark of the opening period. On a rush into the Grand Rapids zone, Nicolas Roy fired the puck wide and off the end boards from the right circle, but Tye McGinn beat his defender to the rebound at the goal line and chipped the puck between Pat Nagle and the right post.
After matching the Wolves’ eight shots over the first 20 minutes, the Griffins fired the first five shots of the second, did not yield a shot to Chicago until more than 11 minutes had elapsed, and outgunned the Wolves 9-4 for the period, but they were still unable to dent Dansk, extending their goal drought at home to more than seven full periods.
The Wolves dominated the chances in the third period, outshooting Grand Rapids 11-0 at one point, and they finally doubled their lead with 4:02 remaining when Valentin Zykov whipped home a centering feed from Brandon Pirri.
Nagle, who extended a career-best by making his fourth straight AHL start, finished with 22 saves. His 1-4-1 record belies his performance between the Griffins’ pipes, as he shows a 2.32 goals against average and a 0.914 save percentage in seven appearances for Grand Rapids this season. His GAA ranks 10th among AHL netminders who’ve played at least 380 minutes this season.
The Griffins went 0-for-2 on the power play but held Chicago scoreless in three opportunities.
Notes: The Griffins’ lineup was missing eight regulars due to injuries, loans to the World Junior Championship and recalls to Detroit…The crowd of 10,834 marked Grand Rapids’ seventh straight sellout on New Year’s Eve…The Griffins entered the night with a 7-1-0-1 record in their last nine Dec. 31 affairs…Grand Rapids previously suffered consecutive home shutouts Jan. 23-27, 2016 and Nov. 10-19, 2010…The Griffins also recorded 20 shots in a 5-0 loss at Milwaukee on Nov. 23.
Three Stars: 1. CHI Dansk (W, SO, 20 saves); 2. CHI McGinn (game-winning goal); 3. GR Nagle (L, 22 saves)
Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins