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March 3, 2023

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a pivotal game in the playoff race in a 5-2 loss to the Iowa Wild on Friday at Van Andel Arena.

Riley Sawchuk recorded his first-professional goal and point in the opening stanza. Danny O’Regan pushed his assist streak to four games, tying Taro Hirose for the longest stretch by Griffin this season. Ben Simon led the team in his 300th game as the Griffins’ head coach, the second coach to reach that milestone for the franchise. Grand Rapids is eight points from a playoff spot that the Wild currently hold, but the Griffins have two games in hand.

3-3-23 | Highlights | Iowa Wild

Sawchuk opened up scoring in the first period, as he raced up ice with Dominik Shine on an odd-man rush. Shine made the pass to the rookie in the left circle to allow Sawchuk to rifle a one-timer in the cage at 5:37. Iowa then tallied three-consecutive goals, starting with Brandon Baddock deflecting in Simon Johansson’s shot from the blue line at 6:44. Sammy Walker (8:44) and Turner Ottenbriet (7:50 to go) each scored on the doorstep with tip-in’s of their own to take a 3-1 lead. Donovan Sebrango brought the Griffins back within one before the end of the first, sending a missile of a slap shot past Zane Mclntyre at 12:35.

Grand Rapids had the best opportunity in the second with 7:10 remaining, as Jasper Weatherby’s shot rang off the right post to keep the frame scoreless.

Iowa closed the game with a pair of goals, starting with Nic Petan firing a shot in on an open net as Victor Brattstrom dove back in position at 8:03. Mike O’Leary sealed the contest with an empty-net score with 2:40 left.

- Prior to tonight, the Wild had only totaled as many as three goals in just one of their previous seven games, a 5-3 loss to Rockford on Feb. 19 - five games ago.
- With an assist on Sawchuk’s goal, Shine now has 50-professional assists.
- Joel L’Esperance’s goal streak was snapped, but the veteran forward still holds the longest goal stretch of the season for Grand Rapids.

3-3-23 | Post-Game Interviews | Iowa Wild

Box Score
Iowa 3 0 2 - 5
Grand Rapids 2 0 0 - 2

1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Sawchuk 1 (Shine), 5:37. 2, Iowa, Baddock 2 (Johansson, O’Leary), 6:44. 3, Iowa, Walker 23 (O’Leary), 8:44. 4, Iowa, Ottenbreit 2 (Beckman, O’Leary), 12:10. 5, Grand Rapids, Sebrango 4 (Hirose, O’Regan), 12:35. Penalties-Johansson Gr (interference), 13:37; Petan Ia (hooking), 17:27.

2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Rossi Ia (hooking), 1:27; Pearson Gr (tripping), 7:06; Baddock Ia (high-sticking), 18:08; Czarnik Gr (roughing), 18:42.

3rd Period-6, Iowa, Petan 16 (Fogarty, Beckman), 8:03. 7, Iowa, O’Leary 8 (Giroux, Ottenbreit), 17:20 (EN). Penalties-No Penalties

Shots on Goal-Iowa 11-6-14-31. Grand Rapids 9-13-9-31.
Power Play Opportunities-Iowa 0 / 3; Grand Rapids 0 / 3.
Goalies-Iowa, McIntyre 11-10-4 (31 shots-29 saves). Grand Rapids, Brattstrom 4-8-3 (30 shots-26 saves).

Three Stars
1. IA O’Leary (goal, three assists); 2. IA Ottenbriet (goal); 3. GR Sawchuk (goal).

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 22-26-3-2 (49 pts.) / Sat., March 4 vs. Iowa 7 p.m.
Iowa: 24-22-5-4 (57 pts.) / Sat., March 4 at Grand Rapids 6 p.m. CST

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins

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