GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Rockford IceHogs 2
Jan. 18, 2023
ROCKFORD, Ill. - Rapid-fire scoring in the first period propelled the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 5-2 victory over the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday at the BMO Center.
Grand Rapids opened the game with four goals in 3:58 of play. Nine Griffins tallied points in that timeframe, including two from Austin Czarnik who finished the game with three points (2-1–3). Jakub Vrana scored the fourth of the night, his first in a Grand Rapids uniform while his teammate Wyatt Newpower recorded his first goal of the season.
Alex Chiasson helped kickoff the scoring in the opening frame, sending the puck up ice to Danny O’Regan in the right circle. O’Regan rifled a shot over the shoulder of Dylan Wells for the fastest goal (23 seconds) to open a contest this season for the Griffins. Newpower then lit the lamp at 1:24, sending a one-timer from the slot into the cage off of Simon Edvinsson’s feed to take a 2-0 lead. Czarnik and Joel L’Esperance combined for goal number three, as L’Esperance provided a tic-tac-toe assist on Czarnik’s goal in the crease at 3:47.
Rockford replaced Wells with Mitchell Weeks in the net after the third goal, but Vrana immediately followed with the fastest back-to-back goal of the season by Grand Rapids at 3:58 by firing a shot from the left circle and off the right post and in to complete the flurry of scoring. The IceHogs were able to tack one on before the end of the first, with Josiah Slavin capitalizing on a Griffins’ turnover with 2:04 remaining to make it 4-1.
After outshooting Rockford 8-0 to open the game, the Griffins trailed the IceHogs 27-20 in shots by the end of the middle stanza. David Gust turned one of those into a goal at 12:20 in the second, gathering Alex Nedeljkovic’s pad save and burying the rebound to cut Rockford’s deficit to two.
While shorthanded at 16:48 in the third period, Czarnik buried an empty-netter to cap off a 5-2 win on the road.
- On his first goal of the night, Czarnik reached the 250-point milestone in the AHL and has 251 total with the empty-net tally.
- Vrana skated in his 500th professional game while O’Regan played in his 400th professional contest.
Grand Rapids 4 0 1 - 5
Rockford 1 1 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, O’Regan 6 (Chiasson, Kampfer), 0:23. 2, Grand Rapids, Newpower 1 (Edvinsson, Czarnik), 1:24. 3, Grand Rapids, Czarnik 11 (L’Esperance), 3:47. 4, Grand Rapids, Vrana 1 (Pearson), 3:58. 5, Rockford, Slavin 2 17:56. Penalties-Galvas Rfd (holding), 8:22; Shine Gr (slashing), 14:27; Sikura Rfd (hooking), 14:45.
2nd Period-6, Rockford, Gust 19 (Philp, Seney), 12:20. Penalties-Pearson Gr (slashing), 16:16.
3rd Period-7, Grand Rapids, Czarnik 12 (Hirose), 16:48 (SH EN). Penalties-Seney Rfd (hooking), 9:50; Andreasson Gr (hooking), 11:00; Hanas Gr (slashing), 14:52.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 14-6-11-31. Rockford 11-16-10-37.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 3; Rockford 0 / 4.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Nedeljkovic 4-2-1 (37 shots-35 saves). Rockford, Wells 8-4-1 (6 shots-3 saves); Weeks 5-2-3 (24 shots-23 saves).
1. GR Czarnik (two goals, assist); 2. GR O’Regan (goal); 3. GR Vrana (goal).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 15-19-1-2 (33 pts.) / Sat., Jan. 21 vs. Springfield 7 p.m.
Rockford: 20-13-2-2 (44 pts.) / Fri., Jan. 20 vs. Springfield 7 p.m. CST
Photo by Tim Garland/Iowa Wild