GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Rockford IceHogs 4
Dec. 28, 2022
ROCKFORD, Ill. – David Gust’s hat trick lifted the Rockford IceHogs to a 4-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday at the BMO Center.
Taro Hirose scored the lone goal for Grand Rapids in the second period. The former Spartan has 10 points in his last eight outings (3-7–10). Austin Czarnik recorded an assist on the tally and has five points in two games (1-4–5) with Grand Rapids since his assignment with the Detroit Red Wings. Jakub Vrana played in the first game of his conditioning stint with the Griffins, firing 2 shots on net.
Arvid Soderblom started the game between the pipes for Rockford, but left the game and was replaced by Jaxson Stauber at 6:14 in the first. Of 22 combined shots in the opening stanza, the best chance came as Gust skated down the ice on a breakaway and faced Jussi Olkinuora one-on-one. Olkinuora made a save on Gust’s attempt from the left circle with his right pad at 12:53 and deflected the puck towards Cole Guttman with an open-net opportunity. Jared McIsaac blocked Guttman’s shot in the crease with his stick to keep the game scoreless heading into the second.
Gust tallied two goals in the middle frame, the first coming on a wrister from the right circle at 7:04. On a power play, Gust tacked on another with 6:08 to go to take a 2-0 advantage. With 20 seconds left in the second period, Hirose raced up the ice and rifled a shot over the right shoulder of Stauber. The puck tucked just underneath the crossbar to cut Grand Rapids’ deficit to one entering the third.
Rockford put the game out of reach with a pair of goals in the final stanza, starting with a one-timer from Lukas Reichel in the slot past Olkinuora at 8:59 to push the lead back to two. After pulling Olkinuora at 16:33, Gust buried an empty-net goal with three minutes remaining to secure a hat trick and the win.
- Ben Simon served as head coach in his 400th professional game on Wednesday.
- Hirose skated in his 150th game as Griffin in the loss.
Grand Rapids 0 1 0 - 1
Rockford 0 2 2 - 4
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-served by Teply Rfd (bench minor - too many men), 10:49; Andreasson Gr (tripping), 17:15.
2nd Period-1, Rockford, Gust 15 (Reichel, Clendening), 7:04. 2, Rockford, Gust 16 (Reichel, Roos), 13:52 (PP). 3, Grand Rapids, Hirose 8 (Czarnik, Johansson), 19:40. Penalties-Seney Rfd (high-sticking), 10:49; Spezia Gr (delay of game), 13:31.
3rd Period-4, Rockford, Reichel 13 (Seney, Gust), 8:59. 5, Rockford, Gust 17 (Guttman), 17:00 (EN). Penalties-Crevier Rfd (tripping), 5:13; Regula Rfd (boarding), 9:42.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 10-10-11-31. Rockford 12-10-10-32.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 4; Rockford 1 / 2.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Olkinuora 6-7-0 (31 shots-28 saves). Rockford, Soderblom 1-3-0 (5 shots-5 saves); Stauber 4-3-0 (26 shots-25 saves).
1. RFD Gust (hat trick, assist); 2. RFD Reichel (goal, two assists); 3. RFD Adam Clendening (assist).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 11-15-1-0 (23 pts.) / Fri., Dec. 30 at Milwaukee 7 p.m. EST
Rockford: 16-10-1-2 (35 pts.) / Fri., Dec. 30 at Chicago 7 p.m. CST
Photo by Sarah Caputi/IceHogs