11/26/2010 9:19 PM
Nov. 26, 2010 – Rockford IceHogs 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 SO
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins rallied from a 2-0 deficit to earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids, which hadn’t earned a point in eight previous games this season in which it trailed after two periods, fired 15 shots at Alec Richards in the third as part of a season-high 42 attempts, knotting the score on Doug Janik’s goal 4:27 into the frame. But the IceHogs eventually prevailed by a 2-0 count in the shootout, as the Griffins fell to 1-7-1-1 against Rockford over the last two seasons, with seven of those defeats coming by a single goal.
The Griffins (8-8-0-4) travel to the Windy City on Saturday for an 8 p.m. start against the Chicago Wolves before returning home on Sunday to host the Peoria Rivermen at 4 p.m.
Jordan Pearce denied a penalty shot for the second time in three weeks just 2:22 into the contest, making a left pad save on Kyle Beach to keep the game scoreless. However, Rockford (8-10-0-2) ultimately scored the only goal of period at the 10:51 mark, as Brandon Pirri took a pass at center ice, skated to the top of the left circle and fired a slap shot that avoided Janik’s sliding block attempt and found the inside of the left post.
Jan Mursak had a great opportunity to even the score on a shorthanded break with nine minutes left in the second, but Richards stuck out his right pad to keep the Griffins off the board.
Ryan Potulny extended Rockford’s lead with a power play goal at 12:12 of the middle frame, darting across the slot to redirect Nick Leddy’s shot from the left point. Grand Rapids finally lit the lamp 2:14 later, when Greg Amadio’s blast from just inside the blue line was tipped out front by Francis Pare, marking the Griffins’ second goal on home ice over a span of 219:50. The goal prompted a cascade of stuffed animals to be thrown onto the ice from all corners of the arena as part of the Griffins’ 11th annual Teddy Bear Toss, which collected an estimated 1,100 toys for Hug-A-Bears of Kent County.
Afforded 1:37 of a 5-on-3 advantage early in the third, the Griffins netted the equalizer one second after the first IceHogs penalty expired, with Janik slipping an ice-hugger beneath Richards’ pads to make it 2-2. Grand Rapids thought it tallied the go-ahead goal just 24 seconds later during a scramble in front of the net, but referee Shaun Davis ruled that Jordan Owens kicked the puck across the line.
The Griffins continued to furiously press for the winning goal in the waning minutes, but thanks in part to a brilliant glove save by Richards on a Chris Minard cannon with 1:16 left, the game advanced to overtime. Minard had another chance early in the extra frame but fanned on a pass while trying to finish a 2-on-1, and the shootout soon beckoned.
In the skills competition, Richards denied Jamie Johnson, Jamie Tardif, Cory Emmerton and Tomas Tatar in succession, while Pearce allowed goals to Pirri and Beach before stifling Jeremy Morin.
Pearce enjoyed another strong outing for Grand Rapids, stopping 24-of-26 in the shootout loss, but Richards earned First Star honors by turning back 40 shots on the night.
Three Stars: 1. RFD Richards (W, 40 saves); 2. GR Pearce (SOL, 24 saves); 3. GR Janik (power play goal, assist)
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