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Unsolved Puzzle

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Chicago Wolves 3

Nov. 28, 2021

ROSEMONT, Ill.– The Grand Rapids Griffins failed to get its first win of the season in five tries against the Chicago Wolves, losing 3-1 on Sunday at Allstate Arena. The defeat snapped the Griffins’ six-game road point streak (4-0-1-1).

Grand Rapids is now winless in its past six outings against Chicago, dating back to last season. Despite the loss, Kyle Criscuolo extended his point streak (3-6—9) to four games. Calvin Pickard made his sixth straight start in net for the Griffins and has appeared in 12 out of the 17 games this season.

11-28-21 | Highlights | Chicago Wolves

Right out of the gate, Grand Rapids looked poised to score as Criscuolo and Riley Barber both fired close-range shots in the first 10 seconds of the contest, but Chicago’s goaltender Eetu Makiniemi made the saves.

At 5:41 in the first, C.J. Smith centered a pass for Andrew Poturalski who stood at the goal crease and sent the puck past the glove of Pickard, giving Chicago a 1-0 advantage. Poturalski now has 13 points (6-7—13) in five games against the Griffins, which is a new Chicago record for most points in a season against Grand Rapids.

The middle frame was a tale of two stories. After a Grand Rapids penalty with 16:41 remaining, the Wolves took control of a power play chance when Stefan Noesen put a shot on net but was denied by Pickard. Josh Leivo then came around the right post for the tap-in score at 3:27.

Grand Rapids had a chance to reduce the deficit when Barber was all by himself on the doorstep but failed to convert after a Makiniemi save. That stop led to an odd-man rush by Chicago, which gave the Wolves a three-goal lead with 4:39 remaining in the second. Jesper Sellgren stood at the right wing and found an open Noesen who sent a wrister past Pickard.

In the final frame, the Griffins struggled to find their offense as the team didn’t record a shot until Luke Witkowski fired the puck on net at the 10:01 mark.

After Chicago was called for two penalties in a span of seven seconds, Grand Rapids took advantage of the 5-on-3. Taro Hirose waited at the left circle and found Ryan Murphy at the high slot and ripped the puck past Makiniemi.

The Griffins pulled Pickard for an extra skater with 1:48 left but to no avail, as Chicago held on to the 3-1 victory.

Notes

  • Pickard notched his 50th game as a Griffin and 250th in the AHL.

  • Matt Berry made his Griffins debut.

Box Score
Grand Rapids 0 0 1 - 1
Chicago 1 2 0 - 3

1st Period-1, Chicago, Poturalski 9 (C. Smith, Noesen), 5:41. Penalties-served by Lodnia Chi (bench minor - too many men), 0:44.

2nd Period-2, Chicago, Leivo 2 (Noesen, Lajoie), 3:27 (PP). 3, Chicago, Noesen 5 (Sellgren, C. Smith), 15:21. Penalties-Barber Gr (tripping), 3:16; Barber Gr (tripping), 9:34; Criscuolo Gr (kneeing), 15:58; Gust Chi (tripping), 18:14.

3rd Period-4, Grand Rapids, Murphy 3 (Hirose, Criscuolo), 11:33 (PP). Penalties-Barber Gr (tripping), 0:34; Berry Gr (slashing), 5:31; Keane Chi (interference), 10:21; Lajoie Chi (tripping), 10:28; Serikov Chi (holding), 12:53.

Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 9-6-4-19. Chicago 15-18-11-44.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 1 / 5; Chicago 1 / 5.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Pickard 7-4-2 (44 shots-41 saves). Chicago, Makiniemi 7-2-1 (19 shots-18 saves).
A-3,935

Three Stars

1. CHI Leivo (power-play goal); 2. CHI Smith (two assists); 3. CHI Makiniemi (W, 18 saves)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 7-7-2-1 (17 pts) / Fri., Dec. 3 vs. Rockford 7 p.m. EST
Chicago: 11-4-1-1 (24 pts) / Thurs., Dec. 2 vs. Iowa 7 p.m.

Photo by Ross Dettman/Chicago Wolves

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