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Sweet 16

Mar 16, 2024
Written By: Dylan Rider
1st 2nd 3rd Final
Iowa Wild 1 1 0 2
Grand Rapids Griffins 1 2 2 5


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. --  With a 5-2 victory over the Iowa Wild at Van Andel Arena on Saturday, the Grand Rapids Griffins tied a franchise record with a point in their 16th straight home game.

The 16-game home point streak was established more than 20 years ago, as it was set from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004 (13-0-3-0). Dominik Shine led the way with a three-point night (1-2--3). Taro Hirose collected an assist tonight, which extended his point streak to three games while it also gave him seven points (2-5--7) in his last nine outings. Matt Luff lit the lamp to put the veteran at six points (3-3--6) in his last seven contests. Sebastian Cossa's .931 save percentage (27-of-29) not only improved the rookie netminder to an overall .911 save percentage on the season but also extended his point streak to 13 games (8-0-5). 

March 16, 2024  ·  2 Minutes

3-16-24 | Highlights | Iowa Wild

Shine started the scoring with a snipe from the right circle, which went past Zane McIntyre and into the net to put the Griffins ahead 1-0 at 13:47 in the opening frame. The Wild answered shortly after Grand Rapids’ tally with a power-play goal, courtesy of Luke Toporowski, who slipped the puck past Cossa while on the doorstep with 4:31 remaining in the first.

Iowa took a 2-1 lead early in the second period when Sammy Walker rifled a shot past Cossa from the high slot at 4:50. The Griffins’ one-goal deficit did not stand for long, as a pinballed pass from Simon Edvinsson was slid into the back of the net by Cross Hanas while in the crease to return the game to a tie with 14:20 remaining in the second stanza. Late in the middle frame, Luff ripped a laser from the left circle that flew into the top right corner of the goal and gave Grand Rapids the lead back at 13:29.

Elmer Soderblom danced around multiple Wild defenders as he entered the Iowa zone and sent a crisp pass to Marco Kasper, which resulted in him sinking a shot past McIntyre from the left circle to make it a 4-2 game in favor of the Griffins with 10:46 remaining. With the Wild’s net empty and their extra attacker on at 17:27, Joel L’Esperance grabbed his second tally of the weekend with an empty-net goal with 1:35 remaining to make it a 5-2 victory over Iowa

March 16, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

3 -16 -24 | Post Game Interviews | Iowa Wild

- Soderblom skated in his 200th game as a pro while Albert Johansson skated in his 250th. 
- L'Esperance participated in his 300th AHL game. 
Tyler Spezia's two assists put him over 50 assists as a Griffin. 
- This home point run is the second franchise-record streak that the Griffins have tied in the last two months, as it piggybacks their seven-game road winning streak from Dec. 27, 2023-Feb. 2, 2024.

Box Score
Iowa 1 1 0 - 2
Grand Rapids 1 2 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Shine 10 (Spezia, Lombardi), 13:47. 2, Iowa, Toporowski 9 (Hunt, Bankier), 15:29 (PP). Penalties-Shine Gr (interference), 7:04; Raska Ia (roughing), 10:28; Kasper Gr (roughing), 10:28; Conley Ia (holding), 11:23; Edvinsson Gr (hooking), 15:14; Bankier Ia (roughing), 20:00; Edvinsson Gr (unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing), 20:00.

2nd Period-3, Iowa, Walker 11 (Elson), 4:50. 4, Grand Rapids, Hanas 7 (Edvinsson, Spezia), 5:40. 5, Grand Rapids, Luff 3 (Shine, Hirose), 13:29. Penalties-Walker Ia (holding), 9:34; O’Rourke Ia (delay of game), 11:24; Lombardi Gr (tripping), 14:26; Hain Ia (slashing, roughing), 17:21; Tuomisto Gr (roughing), 17:21.

3rd Period-6, Grand Rapids, Kasper 11 (Söderblom, Wallinder), 9:14. 7, Grand Rapids, L’Esperance 15 (Aston-Reese, Shine), 18:25 (EN). Penalties-Viro Gr (hooking), 2:47; Johansson Gr (elbowing), 9:24.

Shots on Goal-Iowa 8-6-15-29. Grand Rapids 10-12-8-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Iowa 1 / 6; Grand Rapids 0 / 4.
Goalies-Iowa, McIntyre 3-13-3 (29 shots-25 saves). Grand Rapids, Cossa 14-7-8 (29 shots-27 saves).

Three Stars
1. GR Shine (goal, two assists); 2. GR Luff (goal); 3. GR Spezia (two assists)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 29-17-7-4 (69 pts.) / Tue., March 19 at Manitoba 11:30 a.m. EDT
Iowa: 20-33-3-2 (45 pts.) / Sun., March 17 at Chicago 7 p.m. CDT

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins