Weathered the Storm
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Springfield Thunderbirds 1 (OT)
Dec. 9, 2022
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Late-game heroics from Alex Chiasson and Jared McIsaac lifted the Grand Rapids Griffins over the Springfield Thunderbirds in a 2-1 overtime victory on Friday at MassMutual Arena.
After being held scoreless for the first 56:55 of play, Chiasson buried the game-tying goal by stuffing in the puck during a scrum in the crease. Just 56 seconds into the overtime period, McIsaac skated into the Springfield zone from center ice and rifled in a shot from the left circle behind Joel Hofer to secure the win.
Magnus Hellberg shined once again between the pipes for Grand Rapids, recording 21 saves on the night. In three starts, Hellberg has recorded 95 saves and has a 0.941 save percentage.
Springfield got on the board quickly at 2:35 in the first, as Nikita Alexandrov received a pass from Brady Lyle from behind the net and scored in the goalmouth. The Griffins peppered Hofer with 16 shots in the opening period and Tyler Spezia nearly capitalized on a one-on-one, shorthanded opportunity at 3:31 in the opening stanza. However, Hofer closed his pads to deflect the puck and hold onto their 1-0 advantage.
The teams went scoreless in the middle frame, as the goaltenders buckled in and fended off 19 combined shots. With 5:25 left in the second period, Simon Edvinssson came up with a steal in the Thunderbirds’ zone and passed up to Taro Hirose all alone in the crease. Hofer came up with another impressive save, keeping his team in front heading into the third.
Needing a goal to survive, Chiasson and Chase Pearson flung multiple attempts toward the cage before Chiasson finally tucked one behind Hofer with 3:05 remaining in regulation to send the game to overtime.
McIsaac recorded the only shot of the overtime period, burying a goal from the left circle with a wrist shot behind Hofer to end the night with a 2-1 win. Hirose notched an assist on McIsaac’s overtime tally and is now tied for ninth in the AHL in helpers with 17 on the year.
- Hirose’s overtime assist pushed him to 100 total in his AHL career.
- Elmer Soderblom made his Griffins debut on Friday, but did not register any shots on goal.
- Despite never playing against Springfield, the Griffins are 52-44-7-3 all-time against affiliates of the St. Louis Blues.
Grand Rapids 0 0 1 1 - 2
Springfield 1 0 0 0 - 1
1st Period-1, Springfield, Alexandrov 7 (Lyle, Frk), 2:35. Penalties-Edvinsson Gr (cross-checking), 3:00.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Jandric Spr (cross-checking), 15:43.
3rd Period-2, Grand Rapids, Chiasson 1 (Pearson), 16:55. Penalties-Andreasson Gr (holding), 1:16; Frk Spr (holding), 3:46.
OT Period-3, Grand Rapids, McIsaac 2 (Hirose, Chiasson), 0:56. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 16-10-6-1-33. Springfield 8-9-5-0-22.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 2; Springfield 0 / 2.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Hellberg 2-1-0 (22 shots-21 saves). Springfield, Hofer 5-7-4 (33 shots-31 saves).
1. GR McIsaac (game-winning goal); 2. GR Hellberg (W, 21 saves); 3. SPR Hofer (L, 31 saves).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 10-11-1-0 (21 pts.) / Sat., Dec. 10` at Hartford 7 p.m.
Springfield: 8-10-1-4 (21 pts.) / Sat., Dec. 10 vs. Milwaukee 7 p.m. CST
Photo by the Springfield Thunderbrids