GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 3
May 1, 2021
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Grand Rapids Griffins’ rally from a 3-0 deficit came up a goal short on Saturday, as they lost in regulation to the Rockford IceHogs for the first time in seven meetings this season.
The Griffins missed a chance to sweep a road series against the IceHogs for the first time ever but still finished the campaign 3-1 at the BMO Harris Bank Center, a venue in which they went 3-7-2-3 in 15 visits from 2017-20.
The IceHogs converted just six seconds into their first power play opportunity with 4:18 left in the opening period, as Brandon Pirri slammed the puck into the back door from the right circle.
With the Griffins on their second power play late in the frame, they allowed their fourth shorthanded goal of the season at the 18:59 mark, as Dylan McLaughlin broke in alone on Kevin Boyle and slid a shot inside the left post. McLaughlin now has a goal in four straight games against Grand Rapids.
Former Detroit draft pick Alec Regula pushed the margin to 3-0 at 6:21 of the second period, threading a puck through traffic from the right point. But Taro Hirose cut the Griffins’ deficit back to two just 13 seconds later, scoring from the right circle off a feed from Hayden Verbeek to give the recently acquired forward an assist in his Grand Rapids debut.
A redirection by Dominic Turgeon at 7:05 of the third tightened the score to 3-2. He darted through the slot to tip Jared McIsaac’s shot, and Ivan Nalimov could not come up with the bouncing puck. The assist marked the first pro point for the rookie blueliner, playing in just his sixth game as a Griffin.
The Griffins pulled Boyle for an extra attacker then controlled the puck in Rockford’s end for the final 67 seconds after Ben Simon called his timeout, but Nalimov and the IceHogs withstood the pressure to drop Grand Rapids’ record in the season series to 4-1-2-0.
Starting with Monday’s rematch against the IceHogs at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins will play eight games over the final 13 days of the regular season.
- The Griffins were held to a season-low 19 shots, three nights after Rockford limited them to 21 shots in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 home win.
- Grand Rapids had four rookie defensemen in their lineup for the second straight game, with Patrick Holway appearing in his first pro contest.
- The Griffins played their first game in May since their run to the Calder Cup in 2017 as well as their first-ever regular season contest during the month.
Grand Rapids 0 1 1 - 2
Rockford 2 1 0 - 3
1st Period-1, Rockford, Pirri 6 (Entwistle, McLaughlin), 15:42 (PP). 2, Rockford, McLaughlin 7 18:59 (SH). Penalties-Johnson Rfd (cross-checking), 9:16; Dello Gr (high-sticking), 15:36; Franson Rfd (high-sticking), 18:32.
2nd Period-3, Rockford, Regula 3 (Osipov, Teply), 6:21. 4, Grand Rapids, Hirose 5 (Verbeek, Barber), 6:34. Penalties-Grewe Gr (tripping), 3:03; Altybarmakian Rfd (tripping), 17:00.
3rd Period-5, Grand Rapids, Turgeon 5 (McIsaac, Elson), 7:05. Penalties-Dello Gr (tripping), 2:05; Regula Rfd (cross-checking), 9:41.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 7-4-8-19. Rockford 10-10-5-25.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 4; Rockford 1 / 3.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Boyle 6-3-1 (25 shots-22 saves). Rockford, Nalimov 3-2-0 (19 shots-17 saves).
1. RFD McLaughlin (shorthanded goal, assist); 2. RFD Regula (game-winning goal); 3. RFD Pirri (power play goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 12-9-3-0 (27 pts.) / Mon., May 3 vs. Rockford 7 p.m.
Rockford: 10-15-1-0 (21 pts.) / Mon., May 3 at Grand Rapids 6 p.m. CDT
Photo by Todd Reicher/IceHogs