Calder Cup Champions - 2013 & 2017
AHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings
Hero Image

Third Time's The Charm

May 03, 2024
Written By: Dylan Rider
1st 2nd 3rd OT Final
Rockford IceHogs 0 1 2 0 3
Grand Rapids Griffins 0 1 2 1 4

Calder Cup Playoffs - Central Division Semifinals - Game 3 - Grand Rapids Leads Best-of-Five Series, 2-1

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 vs. Rockford IceHogs 3 (OT)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After potting the overtime winner in Game 1 in Rockford last Saturday, Jonatan Berggren repeated his heroics in front of a partisan throng on Friday. His goal 8:12 into the extra session lifted the roof off Van Andel Arena and made visitors’ two-goal rally late in regulation all for naught, as the Grand Rapids Griffins took both a 4-3 Game 3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs and a 2-1 series lead in the Central Division Semifinals. 

The Griffins' victory came in front of 8,825 fans, the team’s largest playoff crowd since a sellout of 10,834 witnessed the clinching Game 6 of the 2017 Calder Cup Finals. It was also their largest for an opening-round playoff game since their inaugural season in 1997.

Grand Rapids can close out its best-of-five series against the IceHogs with Game 4 at the BMO Center in Rockford on Sunday at 5 p.m. EDT.

May 4, 2024  ·  4 Minutes

5-3-24 | Central Division Semifinals Game 3 Highlights | Rockford IceHogs

After outshooting the IceHogs 19-7 over a scoreless opening 20 minutes, the Griffins solved Drew Commesso on their first shot of the second period. From the top of the circles, Marco Kasper sniped his first career Calder Cup Playoff goal into the top right corner of the net off a Dominik Shine setup just 24 seconds into the frame.

Rockford took advantage of a fortunate bounce in the final minute of the period to pull even. Rem Pitlick’s blast sailed over the net, deflected off the glass and rebounded back over the crossbar into the crease, where Pitlick bunted it across the line to make it a 1-1 game with 31 seconds remaining.

In the third, Grand Rapids scored twice before the midway point. Driving down the slot, Austin Czarnik collected a Berggren pass and put a bullet through Commesso’s five-hole from the doorstep just 57 seconds in. Elmer Soderblom, making his playoff debut, slammed home a Shine feed from just outside the crease at 9:25 to extend Grand Rapids’ lead to 3-1 with 10:35 remaining.

A flurry of IceHogs shots in the waning minutes of the third period allowed them to claw back once again. Zach Sanford’s right-circle shot rattled past Sebastian Cossa to pull the visitors within one at 16:22, and just 59 seconds later, Jackson Cates scored the equalizer on a sharp-angled attempt from the left side of the net.

With the outing freshly tied at three, the contest was stretched to the series’ second overtime period. After Carter Mazur forced a turnover in the neutral zone, he made a beeline for the net and backhanded Berggren’s feed off the left post, but the Griffins’ leading scorer during the regular season was there to tap home the rebound, making him the only Griffin and just the 13th player in AHL history to score two sudden-death overtime goals in a single playoff series.

Cossa finished with 27 saves to earn his second AHL playoff win.

May 4, 2024  ·  19 Minutes

5 -3 -24 | Post Game Interviews | Rockford Icehogs


- This marks the fifth series all time in which the Griffins have logged a pair of overtime wins. The last was the 2017 Central Division Semifinals against Milwaukee, which began their march to the Calder Cup.
- Stacy Roest (2003) is the only other Griffin besides Berggren to net two overtime goals in a playoff year, and Matt Ellis (2006 and 2007) joins them with two career playoff OT goals.
- Grand Rapids returns to Rockford with an all-time record of 11-6 on the road when its opponent faces elimination

Box Score
Rockford 0 1 2 0 - 3
Grand Rapids 0 1 2 1 - 4

1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Strand Rfd (holding), 11:35.

2nd Period-1, Grand Rapids, Kasper 1 (Shine, Edvinsson), 0:24. 2, Rockford, Pitlick 1 (Sanford, Phillips), 19:29. Penalties-Seney Rfd (tripping), 3:20; Seney Rfd (goaltender interference), 7:11; Edvinsson Gr (roughing), 7:11.

3rd Period-3, Grand Rapids, Czarnik 2 (Berggren, Rafferty), 0:57. 4, Grand Rapids, Söderblom 1 (Shine, L’Esperance), 9:25. 5, Rockford, Sanford 2 (Pitlick, Roos), 16:22. 6, Rockford, Cates 1 (Gust, Seney), 17:21. Penalties-Shine Gr (slashing), 6:11; Söderblom Gr (high-sticking), 12:29.

OT Period-7, Grand Rapids, Berggren 2 (Mazur), 8:12. Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Rockford 7-13-8-2-30. Grand Rapids 19-10-8-5-42.
Power Play Opportunities-Rockford 0 / 2; Grand Rapids 0 / 2.
Goalies-Rockford, Commesso 1-1 (42 shots-38 saves). Grand Rapids, Cossa 2-1 (30 shots-27 saves).

Three Stars
1. GR Berggren (overtime-winner, assist); 2. GR Kasper (goal); 3. RFD Pitlick (goal, assist)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 2-1 / Central Division Semifinals Game 4 / Sun., May 5 at Rockford 5 p.m. EDT
Rockford: 1-2 / Central Division Semifinals Game 4 / Sun., May 5 vs. Grand Rapids 4 p.m CDT

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins