GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Chicago Wolves 4
April 15, 2023
ROSEMONT, Ill. - In their final game of the season, the Grand Rapids Griffins suffered a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Wolves on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
The Griffins finished the season with a 28-36-4-4 record for a grand total of 64 points. In 10 meetings with Chicago, Grand Rapids secured a 5-3-1-1 record. Taro Hirose posted 57 points during the 2022-23 campaign, his career high and the most by a Griffin this season (16-41–57). Joel L’Esperance led Grand Rapids in goals, lighting the lamp 25 times, including a power-play tally in the loss tonight.
The Griffins held the Wolves without a shot for the opening 6:33 of play, but the Wolves quickly changed their fortune to the tune of four goals. Malte Stromwall played a key role in the first two tallies, adding an assist on Mackenzie MacEachern’s power-play goal at 6:33 and adding a man-advantage score of his own at 11:28. Josh Melnick added another from the doorstep just 26 seconds after Stromwall’s score, before Max Lajoie recorded Chicago's third power-play goal of the night with 2:20 remaining in the first for a 4-0 advantage. Ryan Bednard subbed in for John Lethemon immediately following Lajoie’s score.
Just 1:50 into the second, L’Esperance deflected in Danny O’Regan’s shot from the top of the right circle to cut the deficit to three on a power play. The Griffins looked to add another on a man-advantage opportunity at 5:19 after an interference call on Jamieson Rees, but were unable to get a shot on goal.
Pontus Andreasson nearly tacked on a second with seven minutes remaining, firing a shot from the right circle over the shoulder of Zachary Sawchenko, but the attempt ricocheted off the crossbar. For the final 59 seconds, the Griffins had a man advantage, but were unable to capitalize and fell 4-1 to Chicago.
- L’Esperance finishes the season with 14 power-play goals, tied for second in the AHL.
- O’Regan tacked on an assist in his 400th game in the AHL.
- After taking over for Lethemon, Bednard made 18 saves.
Grand Rapids 0 1 0 - 1
Chicago 4 0 0 - 4
1st Period-1, Chicago, MacEachern 10 (Stromwall, Tieksola), 6:33 (PP). 2, Chicago, Stromwall 18 (Tieksola, Lajoie), 11:28 (PP). 3, Chicago, Melnick 16 (LaBate, Dzingel), 11:54. 4, Chicago, Lajoie 11 (MacEachern, Suzuki), 17:40 (PP). Penalties-Bliss Gr (roughing), 5:55; served by Suzuki Chi (bench minor - too many men), 7:48; Viro Gr (holding), 10:41; Biakabutuka Gr (hooking), 17:33.
2nd Period-5, Grand Rapids, L’Esperance 25 (O’Regan, Viro), 1:50 (PP). Penalties-Seeley Chi (hooking), 1:41; Rees Chi (interference), 5:19.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-LaBate Chi (slashing), 8:24; LaBate Chi (kneeing), 18:59.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 6-13-11-30. Chicago 11-9-9-29.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 1 / 5; Chicago 3 / 3.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Lethemon 1-6-2 (11 shots-7 saves); Bednard 1-2-1 (18 shots-18 saves). Chicago, Sawchenko 17-18-3 (30 shots-29 saves).
1. CHI Stromwall (goal, assist); 2. CHI Maceachern (goal, assist); 3. CHI Lajoie (goal, assist).
Photo by Ross Dettman/Wolves