GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 8 at Chicago Wolves 7 (OT)
Dec. 22, 2022
ROSEMONT, Ill. - After trailing by four goals entering the second frame, the Grand Rapids Griffins completed a stunning comeback to defeat the Chicago Wolves in a 8-7 overtime thriller on Thursday at Allstate Arena.
Seven goals are the second-most allowed by the Griffins in a win, trailing only a 10-8 victory over Chicago on Nov. 27, 2010. In his return to Grand Rapids after a stint with the Detroit Red Wings, Austin Czarnik tallied four points (1-3–4) as well as the game-winning score in overtime to propel the Griffins to a victory. Danny O’Regan (2-2–4) and Steven Kampfer (0-4–4) also recorded four-point nights in tonight’s triumph. Kampfer’s four assists are the most from a Griffins skater this season.
Chicago took a 2-0 lead in the opening 6:29 of play, beginning with a wrister from the right circle by Griffin Mendel at 2:26 and a power-play tally from Noel Gunler at 6:29. The Griffins cut lead in half at 11:47 as Czarnik skated down the ice on a 2-on-1 breakaway and found Alex Chiasson in the left circle. Chiasson buried his shot into the top-shelf to push the Griffins within one.
Chicago tacked-on three more goals in the first stanza after Chiasson’s tally, starting with Joseph Labate at 12:23 in the goalmouth. Gunler lit the lamp again on a 5-on-3 power play at 14:06 and Tuukka Tieksola finished the power play 48 seconds later to go up 5-1. In his first game as a Griffin, O’Regan rifled in a shot from the crease to get back within three on a power play. The Wolves ended the period’s barrage of goals with 2:39 to go after Zack Hayes scored his first of the season to make it 6-2.
Jussi Olkinuora (W, 13 saves) replaced Sebastian Cossa in the middle frame, as the rookie allowed six tallies in his return to Grand Rapids after a stint with the Toledo Walleye. The Griffins clawed back into the game with a pair of goals, starting with Chiasson’s second of the night. Czarnik slid a pass to the veteran in the crease that Chiasson tapped just inside the left post at 2:24. Tyler Spezia (2-1–3) followed at 8:44, capitalizing on a scrum near the cage and sneaking the puck into the goal after Eemil Viro fired in a shot from the left-end of the boards to trim the deficit to 6-4.
Max Lajoie pushed Chicago’s lead back to three just 1:18 into the third, but O’Regan from the right side of the cage scored a second time on the behalf of Spezia’s feed from the left side of the net at 5:21 to make it 7-5. The two would combine again to slice the deficit to one, as Spezia gathered O’Regan’s pass in the left circle and lasered the biscuit behind Cale Morris at 8:27. After pulling Olkinuora from goal with 2:20 left, Kampfer made a heroic save with 1:34 to go by stopping an empty-net shot attempt just before it crossed the goal line.
With 1:01 remaining, Joel L’Esperance tapped-in a rebound on a power-play to knot up the game at seven apiece and send the game into overtime.
Just 16 seconds into extra frame, Czarnik found himself in another 2-on-1 opportunity at goal. Czarnik chose to keep it this time and missed his first shot attempt, but buried the second to send Grand Rapids home with their first victory over Chicago since March 13, 2022.
- Chicago’s six goals in the opening stanza tied the Griffins' franchise record for goals allowed in a period and is the most since also giving up six on Feb. 9, 2013 against the Oklahoma City Barons.
- Tonight’s victory was also Grand Rapids’ first 8-7 result in franchise history, win or loss.
- The Griffins are now 4-0-1-0 in overtime games this season.
Grand Rapids 2 2 3 1 - 8
Chicago 6 0 1 0 - 7
1st Period-1, Chicago, Mendel 4 2:26. 2, Chicago, Gunler 5 (Lagesson, Stromwall), 6:29 (PP). 3, Grand Rapids, Chiasson 3 (Czarnik), 11:47. 4, Chicago, LaBate 2 (Lambdin, Murray), 12:23. 5, Chicago, Gunler 6 (Stromwall, Lagesson), 14:06 (PP). 6, Chicago, Tieksola 2 (Ponomarev, Honka), 14:54 (PP). 7, Grand Rapids, O’Regan 4 (Czarnik, Kampfer), 16:48 (PP). 8, Chicago, Hayes 1 (Gunler, Melnick), 17:21. Penalties-Lashoff Gr (cross-checking), 5:28; Johansson Gr (holding), 9:23; Spezia Gr (goaltender interference), 12:37; Johansson Gr (cross-checking), 13:22; Mendel Chi (holding), 16:28; L’Esperance Gr (high-sticking), 17:49.
2nd Period-9, Grand Rapids, Chiasson 4 (Czarnik, Kampfer), 2:24 (PP). 10, Grand Rapids, Spezia 1 (Bliss, Viro), 8:44. Penalties-Lajoie Chi (tripping), 1:15; Lagesson Chi (hooking), 5:02; served by Gunler Chi (bench minor - too many men), 10:03; Chiasson Gr (high-sticking), 14:38.
3rd Period-11, Chicago, Lajoie 1 (Tieksola, Ponomarev), 1:18. 12, Grand Rapids, O’Regan 5 (Spezia, Worrad), 5:21. 13, Grand Rapids, Spezia 2 (O’Regan, Worrad), 8:27. 14, Grand Rapids, L’Esperance 11 (Kampfer, O’Regan), 18:59 (PP). Penalties-Stromwall Chi (hooking), 18:47.
OT Period-15, Grand Rapids, Czarnik 7 (Kampfer, Hirose), 0:16. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 6-11-13-2-32. Chicago 13-2-12-0-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 3 / 5; Chicago 3 / 6.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Cossa 1-1-0 (13 shots-7 saves); Olkinuora 6-6-0 (14 shots-13 saves). Chicago, Morris 1-3-2 (32 shots-24 saves).
1. GR Czarnik (game-winning goal, three assists); 2. CHI Gunler (two goals, assist); 3. GR O’Regan (two goals, two assists).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 11-14-1-0 (23 pts.) / Wed., Dec. 28 at Rockford 8 p.m. EST
Chicago: 8-14-3-0 (19 pts.) / Fri., Dec. 23 vs. Rockford 7 p.m. CST
Photo by Ross Dettman/Wolves