Rockford IceHogs 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 SO
Jan. 15, 2020
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A netminding battle between Kevin Poulin and Collin Delia was ultimately decided in the visitor’s favor on Wednesday, as the Rockford IceHogs rallied for a 2-1 shootout victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Poulin’s Van Andel Arena debut was a memorable one, as he turned aside 25 of 26 shots to give the Griffins every chance to extend their winning streak to four, but Grand Rapids lost a third-period lead then squandered a power play in overtime to fall to 2-0-0-1 on its season-high eight-game homestand.
After an idle day on Thursday, these two Central Division rivals will get back at it on Friday when they stage a 7 p.m. rematch at Van Andel Arena.
Poulin, a veteran of 50 NHL games and a 2018 Olympic bronze medalist with Canada making his second appearance as a Griffin, helped deny the IceHogs’ lone power play of the game before ensuring that a scoreless first period would remain just that during the final minute of the frame. He stuffed a breakaway attempt by Jacob Nilsson with 48 seconds left then made two more stops during an IceHogs flurry to finish with nine saves to Delia’s seven over the opening 20 minutes.
Grand Rapids (17-19-2-3) held the upper hand during a speedy and efficient second period, outshooting Rockford 10-4, but the two netminders proved to be just as impenetrable, threatening that either the home or visiting team could be blanked for the fourth time in the last five games played at Van Andel Arena.
Joe Veleno spoiled Delia’s shutout bid 7:46 into the third. Off a nice play by Taro Hirose to knock down the puck in the right corner, Matt Puempel fed it to Veleno in the bottom of the circle, and the rookie sped across the slot and got Delia to commit before slipping a shot under the goalie’s outstretched right pad.
First-year IceHog Chad Krys returned the favor at the 12:33 mark, chasing down a wayward pass at the left half-wall and whipping a short-side shot that sailed over Poulin’s shoulder to knot the score and mark his first goal as a professional.
The game progressed to overtime, where Poulin was called upon to make three point-blank saves early in the session. A slashing penalty on Dylan McLaughlin then gave the Griffins their only power play of the game, but Delia fended off a pair of blasts by Chris Terry, ushering in the shootout. Despite that power play, Grand Rapids was outshot 5-2 during the five-minute overtime.
In the skills competition, Ben Youds and Joseph Cramarossa tallied in the first and third rounds for Rockford (19-18-1-1), while Delia denied both Puempel and Dominic Turgeon. Delia finished with 29 saves.
The IceHogs, whose 1-8-1-0 skid entering the night had seen them fall from second to fourth in the division, snapped a three-game winless streak.
Three Stars: 1. RFD Delia (SOW, 29 saves); 2. GR Poulin (SOL, 25 saves); 3. RFD Youds (deciding shootout goal)
Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins