ROCKFORD, IL – The Grand Rapids Griffins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, but penalties proved to be their kryptonite as they fell to the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 on Saturday night.
Grand Rapids had a 3-1 advantage heading into the third period and were seemingly out playing the Hogs. But Rockford took advantage of an undisciplined Griffins team and scored three power-play goals in the final frame to earn the win. Rockford went 4-for-7 on the power play.
The Griffins jumped out to a 1-0 lead when newly acquired forward Matt Puempel scored his first goal as a Griffin. Matt Lorito and Ben Street started the scoring play and were both credited with assists.
With under a minute remaining in the opening frame, Axel Holmstrom gave the Griffins a two-goal advantage. Vili Saarijarvi, who made his pro debut, passed the puck to Corey Elkins who’s shot deflected off of the stick of Holmstrom. Grand Rapids led 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
The IceHogs were able to get on the board right away, taking advantage of a Griffins penalty. Matt Highmore scored after collecting a pass from Erik Gustaffson about a minute into the period.
Griffins Captain gave the Griffins another two-goal advantage. Ford scored his second goal of the season when a Matt Lorito shot found the stick of Ford who redirected the puck into the net. The score was 3-1 Grand Rapids heading into the final frame.
Rockford owned the third period, scoring three power-play goals from Gustaffson, Highmore, and Laurent Dauphin. The Hogs would take the game 4-3.
Grand Rapids pulled Coreau to make a final push to tie the game but would come up short. Coreau finished the game with 35 saves.
The Griffins will be back in action on Wednesday night when they travel to Milwaukee to face the Admirals. The Griffins fall to 3-5-1 with the loss to Rockford.
1. RFD- Matt Highmore (two goals)
2. RFD- Erik Gustaffson (goal, assist)
3. RFD- Laurent Dauphin (GW goal)