Chicago Wolves 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4 OT
Feb. 28, 2016
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Minutes after having his face bloodied by a high stick, Andy Miele returned to the ice late in overtime during the ensuing four-minute power play and scored the game-winning goal, extending the Grand Rapids Griffins’ winning streak to five games with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Sunday at Van Andel Arena.
Miele’s blast from the point 4:25 into the extra session capped off the Griffins’ rally from a 3-1 third-period deficit and gave them their AHL-best 21st home win of the season, three of which have come since Friday.
The Griffins (33-20-1-1) will complete their four-game homestand by hosting the Central Division-leading Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday at 7 p.m., after which they’ll play only six of their final 20 regular season games within Van Andel Arena’s friendly confines.
Mitch Callahan staked Grand Rapids to a 1-0 lead at 12:26 of the opening period, driving the net and speeding around Justin Crandall to pot a slick centering pass from Mark Zengerle.
The Wolves answered with a pair of power play goals before the period was out to go on top 2-1. As Nathan Paetsch tied up Jeremy Welsh in front of the net, a blast by Jeremie Blain from the right point deflected off Paetsch’s skate and past Jared Coreau at 15:01. Chicago then went ahead just 19 seconds before intermission, when Andre Benoit took a cross-ice feed from Danny Kristo at the bottom of the right circle and quickly went top shelf on Coreau.
Those Chicago goals broke Grand Rapids’ 18-1 scoring run against its opposition that dated to the second period of its Feb. 20 win over Charlotte.
Former Griffin Jared Nightingale increased the visitors’ margin to two at 7:08 of the second period, taking a shot from the point that deflected off two Griffins before bouncing between Coreau’s pads.
Tomas Nosek cut the deficit to 3-2 by scoring on a rebound 1:25 into the final frame, a goal made possible by Ryan Sproul, who put the initial shot on Jordan Binnington after barely managing to keep a Chicago clearing attempt inside the zone. Ryan Russo then forced overtime with 2:42 remaining when his slap shot from the right point sailed into the far corner of Binnington’s cage.
While the Griffins could not capitalize on a late boarding penalty to Kristo that extended into overtime, they received another opportunity in short order when Welsh was whistled for a double-minor for clipping Miele in the nose with his stick at the 1:03 mark. Miele left the ice for several minutes to get medical attention before returning for his vengeance, which came in the form of the game-winner and his team-high 40th point of the season.
Coreau fought back from his early misfortunes to earn his 26th win behind 18 saves, while Binnington turned aside 39 of the 43 shots Grand Rapids sent his way.
Notes: The Griffins welcomed 25,863 fans over their three home games this weekend, bumping their season average to 8,137. They need to average only 7,839 over their final seven home games to achieve an average attendance increase at Van Andel Arena for the sixth straight season and ninth time in the last 10 years.
Three Stars: 1. GR Miele (overtime goal); 2. GR Russo (game-tying goal, assist); 3. CHI Kristo (two assists)