We Go Where Eagles Dare
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 at Colorado Eagles 6
LOVELAND, Colo. - In their first-ever matchup in Loveland, Colorado, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell 6-3 to the Colorado Eagles in their road debut on Friday. Leading the Griffins in the loss was Michael Hutchinson with 35 saves.
The defeat spoiled the Griffins’ bid for a 3-0-0-0 start on the season and was their first loss in the 2023-24 campaign. Rookies Marco Kasper and William Wallinder each tallied their first AHL goals in the contest, while Brogan Rafferty bagged an assist in his 200th pro game. Taro Hirose extended his point streak to three games with a goal and now leads the team with five points (3-2–5).
10/20/23: Griffins 3, Eagles 6
The Griffins turned the puck over deep in their defensive zone, which resulted in a slot shot gloveside from Peter Holland, putting Grand Rapids down 1-0 at 9:31. Holland’s goal continued a three-game goal streak against the Griffins. Colorado increased its lead at 11:16, as Riley Tufte slid a rebound into the net from the top of the crease. Over the first seven periods against Colorado, the Eagles outshot the Griffins 106-58, but Grand Rapids held an 8-6 advantage in goals. Hutchinson posted 59 saves in four periods against Colorado, including a season-high 19 in the first.
Wallinder snapped a shot from the left circle that went short side on Justus Annunen to cut the Eagles’ lead to one with 13:50 left in the second. Sam Malinski scored his second goal in two games when he fired the puck from the right point over the shoulder of Hutchinson to keep the Griffins at a two-goal deficit at 12:47. The Eagles’ scoring continued with a five-hole blast at the bottom of the right circle from Holland with 4:22 remaining in the second during a power play. Holland’s second goal of the night was his fourth over three games against Grand Rapids.
While playing 4-on-4, Kasper ripped the disc from the top of the left circle at 18:09 in the second to make it a 4-2 game in favor of Colorado.
Down two in the third, Nolan Stevens forced Annunen to make an acrobatic save for Colorado with 16:26 remaining. While on a 6-on-5 delayed penalty, Hirose took a shot from behind the net, which bounced off Annunen for a Griffins goal, moving them within one at 11:01. Colorado added another tally as Spencer Smallman scored from the bottom of the left circle with 1:38 remaining. The Eagles sealed the game at 19:52 with an empty-net goal from Tufte.
The Griffins have allowed 40-plus shots in all three games this season.
With the loss, the Griffins are now 17-19-2-1 all-time against current Pacific-Division foes in the regular season, including 7-10-2-1 on the road.
Dominik Shine moved into sixth place on the Griffins’ all-time games played list with 360.
Grand Rapids 0 2 1 - 3
Colorado 2 2 2 - 6
1st Period-1, Colorado, Holland 3 (Bowlby), 9:31. 2, Colorado, Tufte 1 (Meyers, Jones), 11:16. Penalties-Spezia Gr (roughing), 13:50; Stienburg Col (roughing), 13:50; Smallman Col (slashing), 16:17.
2nd Period-3, Grand Rapids, Wallinder 1 6:10. 4, Colorado, Malinski 2 (Jones), 12:47. 5, Colorado, Holland 4 (Ahcan, Hunt), 15:38 (PP). 6, Grand Rapids, Kasper 1 (Newpower, Hanas), 18:09. Penalties-Shine Gr (slashing), 2:22; Johansson Gr (hooking), 15:14; Johansson Gr (tripping), 16:47; Polin Col (holding), 16:56; Newpower Gr (tripping), 18:13.
3rd Period-7, Grand Rapids, Hirose 3 (Rafferty, Lombardi), 11:01. 8, Colorado, Smallman 1 (Holland), 18:21. 9, Colorado, Tufte 2 19:50 (EN). Penalties-Edvinsson Gr (roughing), 0:38; Tufte Col (roughing), 0:38; Hanas Gr (roughing, misconduct - continuing altercation), 9:00; Ahcan Col (slashing, misconduct - continuing altercation), 9:00.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 8-6-10-24. Colorado 21-11-9-41.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 2; Colorado 1 / 4.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Hutchinson 1-1-0 (40 shots-35 saves). Colorado, Annunen 1-0-0 (24 shots-21 saves).
1. COL Holland (two goals, assist); 2. COL Tufte (two goals); 3. COL Malinski (goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 2-1-0-0 (4 pts.) / Sat., Oct. 21 at Colorado 9:05 p.m. EDT
Colorado: 1-2-0-0 (2 pts.) / Sat., Oct. 21 vs. Grand Rapids 7:05 p.m. MDT
Photo by Colorado Eagles