Stole Our Thunder
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 vs. Springfield Thunderbirds 3 (OT)
Jan. 21, 2023
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins extended their point streak to four with a 3-2 overtime loss against the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday in front of a sellout crowd at Van Andel Arena.
Steven Kampfer tallied assists on both of Grand Rapids’ goals, earning him the second star. Albert Johansson and Jakub Vrana each recorded their second goal of the season in the first stanza. Players, coaches and staff members will participate in the Griffins’ Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, connecting with the community through 24 hours of skating.
Johansson kicked off scoring in the opening period, rifling a one-timer past Joel Hofer and just inside the goal post at 7:24 to take the early lead and ignite the crowd. Jasper Weatherby picked up his first point In a Grand Rapids uniform on behalf of stellar skating from Vrana. After gathering a pass from Weatherby, Vrana split two defenders and fired a shot into the top shelf at 13:44 to take a 2-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds cut the lead in half after Drew Callin scored on a tough angle by sending the puck off the goal post and behind Alex Nedeljkovic at 7:20 in the second.
Springfield knotted up the game while shorthanded at 2:18 in the final frame, as Matthew Kessel sent his shot between the pads of Nedeljkovic. As time came to a close in the third, Austin Czarnik nearly reclaimed the lead with a shot that ricocheted off the pads of Hofer with seven seconds left.
Nikita Alexandrov capped off the Thunderbirds’ comeback with the game-winning goal at 1:31 in overtime to escape Van Andel Arena with a 3-2 victory.
- The 3-2 contest was just the second matchup ever between the two teams and the first played inside Van Andel Arena. With the loss, Grand Rapids is 1-0-1-0 against Springfield.
- Seth Barton skated in his 50th professional contest while Vrana’s goal was his 150th as a pro.
- In games decided by one goal, Grand Rapids is 8-0-2-2 and also has a 4-0-2-0 ledger in overtime contests.
Springfield 0 1 1 1 - 3
Grand Rapids 2 0 0 0 - 2
1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Johansson 2 (Kampfer, Chiasson), 7:24. 2, Grand Rapids, Vrana 2 (Weatherby, Kampfer), 13:44. Penalties-Frk Spr (boarding), 18:43; Vrana Gr (interference), 18:51.
2nd Period-3, Springfield, Callin 6 (Hayhurst, Lyle), 7:20. Penalties-Kessel Spr (high-sticking), 2:46; Worrad Gr (hooking), 16:40.
3rd Period-4, Springfield, Kessel 3 (Bitten, Alexandrov), 2:18 (SH). Penalties-Hayhurst Spr (high-sticking), 1:48.
OT Period-5, Springfield, Alexandrov 12 (Bitten, Lyle), 1:31. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Springfield 12-12-6-2-32. Grand Rapids 12-9-10-0-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Springfield 0 / 2; Grand Rapids 0 / 3.
Goalies-Springfield, Hofer 13-10-4 (31 shots-29 saves). Grand Rapids, Nedeljkovic 4-2-2 (32 shots-29 saves).
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins