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PIG ROAST


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A classic goaltending duel between Grand Rapids’ Jimmy Howard and Rockford’s Corey Crawford extended to the limit on Friday, with the Griffins taking down the West Division-leading IceHogs by a 2-1 count in a shootout.

After Evan McGrath roofed the puck in round five to keep the Griffins alive, Howard stoned Kris Versteeg and Mark Hartigan blasted a slap shot past Crawford to give Grand Rapids its sixth win in the last eight home games.

The Griffins (13-15-1-2) will set their sights on the West’s second-place team on Saturday, when they host the Chicago Wolves in a 7 p.m. start.

The IceHogs (18-6-2-5) got the upper hand during a power play 6:13 into the contest. From the right boards, Bryan Bickell threaded a pass through the slot to an unmarked Versteeg, who patiently stickhandled to the top of the crease before slipping the puck behind Howard into a gaping cage. 

Despite carrying the play for most of the frame, Rockford would head to the locker room in a 1-1 deadlock. With only 2:06 left before intermission, Brad Ference kept a clearing attempt in at the blue line and quickly launched a shot from the right point that found its way into the top of the net for his first goal of the campaign.

A scoreless second period featured spirited play on both ends, highlighted by several spectacular saves by Crawford and near-misses by both clubs. Then, a melee five minutes into the third period piled insult upon injury for Rockford’s Prestin Ryan, who sustained a pummeling from Jonathan Ericsson before earning a game misconduct for a heated altercation with a fan through the penalty box glass.

Both teams had a chance to end matters in regulation during a frantic final minute, as the Griffins had several whacks around the IceHogs’ net before Rockford’s Danny Richmond misfired on a rebound attempt at a wide-open net a few seconds before the buzzer.

A pair of ‘Hogs penalties in a span of 44 seconds gave the Griffins a rare 5-on-3 overtime power play. But a Grand Rapids infraction less than a minute later balanced the scales somewhat and eventually gave Rockford its own 57-second advantage, with no harm suffered by either side.

Howard continued his recent brilliance, making 34 saves to capture First Star honors, while Crawford turned aside 38 shots to give the IceHogs points for their 12th consecutive game (8-0-0-4).

Griffins Game Rewind
Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2 3 4
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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