San Diego Gulls 6 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2
Oct. 14, 2022
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The San Diego Gulls played spoiler to the Grand Rapids Griffins’ home opener with a 6-2 win on Friday in front of a sellout crowd at Van Andel Arena.
A high-flying, five-goal second period defined the game, as the Gulls built a 4-2 advantage before tacking on two more tallies in the third.
The Gulls struck first just 3:21 into the opening period as Hunter Drew popped home a rebound from the bottom of the left circle to give San Diego an early advantage. Soon after, the Griffins’ second power-play opportunity of the night saw chances from Joel L’Esperance and Jonatan Berggren hit iron, and the Griffins entered intermission down 1-0.
San Diego found the back of the net early in the second period as well, with Benoit-Olivier Groulx scoring off his own rebound at 2:13 to make it a 2-0 game. However, the Griffins scored 2:37 later during a 5-on-3 advantage after penalties on Brent Gates Jr. (slashing) and Josh Healey (boarding). Matt Luff capitalized on the chance, as he sent the puck behind Lukas Dostal into the top left corner for his first as a Griffin, cutting the deficit in half and igniting the crowd.
Midway through the frame, Chase De Leo found himself on a 1-on-1 opportunity against Jussi Olkinuora and made it count, putting the Gulls up 3-1 with 9:04 left. After three penalties to Grand Rapids within only 22 seconds, San Diego took full control with its own 5-on-3 goal from Justin Kirkland to make it 4-1 at the 13:05 mark. L’Esperance closed the gap for Grand Rapids as he scored with 3:12 remaining during a delayed penalty off of a Jared McIsaac feed to cap off a high-scoring second period.
A pair of goals in the latter half of the third period put it away for the Gulls, as De Leo (12:50) and Brouillard (19:19) each earned their second goals of the night.
In his Grand Rapids debut, Austin Czarnik finished the night with two assists and will enter tomorrow night's rematch against San Diego as the team’s leading point scorer.
Ten players made their Griffins debut tonight (Pontus Andreasson, Czarnik, Simon Edvinsson, Cross Hanas, Albert Johansson, Steven Kampfer, L’Esperance, Luff, Olkinuora and Eemil Viro). Four played their first game in North America (Andreasson, Edvinsson, Johansson and Viro) and Hanas made his pro debut.
Edvinsson recorded his first point as a Grand Rapids with an assist on Luff’s second-period goal.
The crowd of 10,834 marked the Griffins’ 26th consecutive opening-night sellout (excluding the 2020-21 COVID season).
San Diego 1 3 2 - 6
Grand Rapids 0 2 0 - 2
1st Period-1, San Diego, Drew 1 (Strand, Brouillard), 3:21. Penalties-Smith Gr (hooking), 5:11; Tracey Sd (hooking), 13:19; Drew Sd (high-sticking), 16:17.
2nd Period-2, San Diego, Groulx 1 (Tracey, Juolevi), 2:13. 3, Grand Rapids, Luff 1 (Czarnik, Edvinsson), 4:50 (PP). 4, San Diego, De Leo 1 (Juolevi, Andersson), 11:56. 5, San Diego, Kirkland 1 (Brouillard, Gawdin), 13:05 (PP). 6, Grand Rapids, L’Esperance 1 (McIsaac, Czarnik), 16:48. Penalties-B. Gates Sd (slashing), 2:58; Healey Sd (major - boarding), 4:09; Smith Gr (slashing), 8:55; Kampfer Gr (holding), 12:20; Shine Gr (slashing), 12:38; Viro Gr (high-sticking), 12:42; Strand Sd (roughing), 17:00.
3rd Period-7, San Diego, De Leo 2 (Drew, Perreault), 12:50 (PP). 8, San Diego, Brouillard 1 (Tracey, Groulx), 19:19. Penalties-Viro Gr (interference), 4:31; Lashoff Gr (tripping), 12:09.
Shots on Goal-San Diego 11-7-10-28. Grand Rapids 4-17-6-27.
Power Play Opportunities-San Diego 2 / 7; Grand Rapids 1 / 5.
Goalies-San Diego, Dostal 1-0-0 (27 shots-25 saves). Grand Rapids, Olkinuora 0-1-0 (28 shots-22 saves).
1. SD Dostal (W, 25 saves); 2. SD De Leo (two goals); 3. GR Luff (power-play goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 0-1-0-0 (0 pts.) / Sat., Oct. 15 vs. San Diego 7 p.m.
San Diego: 1-0-0-0 (2 pts.) / Sat., Oct. 15 at Grand Rapids 7 p.m. EDT
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins