GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 vs. Rockford IceHogs 1 (OT)
March 10, 2023
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Jared McIsaac buried the game-winner in overtime to propel the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 2-1 win over the Rockford IceHogs in the 11th annual Purple Community Game at Van Andel Arena.
Just 17 seconds into the overtime period, McIsaac deflected in Danny O’Regan’s pass from the left circle to secure the win. McIsaac recorded his third goal and 14th assist of the year in the contest. Joel L’Esperance achieved a pair of significant milestones, tallying his 20th goal of the season and his 100th in the AHL. With an assist on L’Esperance’s goal, Matt Luff extended his point streak to three games (1-2–3).
The Griffins and IceHogs engaged in a feisty opening period, begun by Wyatt Newpower and Morgan Adams-Moisan dropping their gloves at 2:17. On a power play, L’Esperance ended the frame by lighting the lamp after shooting off the pads of Arvid Soderblom and tapping in his own rebound from the crease with 1:15 left. The goal was the Brighton, Mich., native's 11th man-advantage tally of the year, tying him in fourth place in the AHL.
Grand Rapids outshot Rockford 16-11 in the second and nearly capitalized, as Simon Edvinsson’s shot from the left circle at 7:40 got past Soderblom. However, an interference penalty was called on L’Esperance, waiving off the goal and keeping it a 1-0 contest heading into the third.
The IceHogs knotted up the game at 9:15 in the third, as Bobby Lynch scored with a nifty backhander on the doorstep to eventually send it to overtime.
McIsaac and the Griffins didn’t waste a second in the overtime period, as Taro Hirose, O’Regan and the Canadian defenseman combined to score at 0:17 to snap Grand Rapids’ four-game losing streak.
- In games decided by one score, Grand Rapids is 13-1-4-2 this campaign.
- Alex Nedeljkovic shined at netminder, saving 29 shots in the contest.
- L’Esperance’s power-play goal was the third-consecutive outing with a man-advantage tally for the Griffins.
Rockford 0 0 1 0 - 1
Grand Rapids 1 0 0 1 - 2
1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, L’Esperance 20 (Luff, McIsaac), 18:45 (PP). Penalties-Adams-Moisan Rfd (fighting), 2:17; Newpower Gr (fighting), 2:17; Crevier Rfd (interference), 18:31.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-L’Esperance Gr (interference), 7:40; Grimaldi Rfd (tripping), 14:37.
3rd Period-2, Rockford, Lynch 9 (Grimaldi, Teply), 9:15 (PP). Penalties-L’Esperance Gr (tripping), 1:06; L’Esperance Gr (tripping), 8:06; Adams-Moisan Rfd (tripping), 13:23.
OT Period-3, Grand Rapids, McIsaac 3 (O’Regan, Hirose), 0:17. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Rockford 12-11-7-0-30. Grand Rapids 7-16-9-1-33.
Power Play Opportunities-Rockford 1 / 3; Grand Rapids 1 / 3.
Goalies-Rockford, Soderblom 7-8-5 (33 shots-31 saves). Grand Rapids, Nedeljkovic 10-8-2 (30 shots-29 saves).
1. GR McIsaac (game-winner, assist); 2. GR Nedeljkovic (W, 29 saves); 3. RFD Lynch (goal).
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 23-27-4-2 (52 pts.) / Sat., March 11 vs. Cleveland 7 p.m.
Rockford: 27-21-5-4 (63 pts.) / Sat., March 11 at Chicago 7 p.m. CST
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins