GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The Griffins were in Chicago hoping to avenge their opening night loss to the Wolves, but came up short. The Wolves doubled up the Griffins 4-2 and improved their record to 4-0, while Grand Rapids dropped to 0-2 on the season.
The Griffins came out a little sluggish in the first period, committing three penalties within the first 10 minutes of the opening frame. The lone goal of the period came from the Wolves’ rookie Seth Jarvis on a power play, as Turner Elson was called for a cross-check. The hard-hitting first period came to an end with the Wolves on top, 1-0.
The momentum changed a little bit in the second period as the Griffins began to apply pressure on the Wolves goaltender, Beck Warm, who was making his professional debut. But the Wolves were able to stretch their lead to 2-0 when David Cotton beat Griffins goalie Kevin Boyle, collecting a loose puck and scoring on a wrap-around. Kyle Criscuolo, the lone goal scorer for Grand Rapids on opening night, scored a power-play goal after gathering a rebound from Warm, cutting into the Wolves lead, 2-1. Grand Rapids continued to apply pressure on the Wolves and spent a majority of the period in the Wolves zone. The rookie goaltender for the Wolves was able to withstand the onslaught of shots by the Griffins.
The Griffins committed three more penalties in the middle frame, while the Wolves were whistled for four infractions. Grand Rapids was out-shooting the Wolves, 25-19, at the end of two periods.
The third period saw a little more of the same from Grand Rapids, applying shot after shot, but Warm was able to make saves when it counted. The Griffins would eventually tie the game up on a goal from defenseman Dennis Cholowski, his first of the campaign. Cholowski gathered the puck on a rebound off of a Tyler Spezia shot, tying the game at two goals apiece. The game intensified a little more as Turner Elson and Josh Healey dropped the gloves seven minutes into the third period. The Wolves took the lead as Cotton notched his second goal of the game to make it a 3-2 hockey game.
Down a goal with just under three minutes remaining in the game, the Griffins found themselves on a power play as the Wolves Drew Shore was called for elbowing. Grand Rapids began the power play with a five on four advantage but would eventually end up pulling Boyle for a two-man advantage. A costly turnover by Cholowski in the defensive zone led to a Tanner Jeannot empty-net goal to seal the game for the Wolves as they would take the contest, 4-2.
Frustrations boiled over for Grand Rapids as Joe Hicketts and the Wolves Cole Smith also dropped the gloves. In addition to the fighting majors, they were both also called for unsportsmanlike conduct. This was a fitting end to a physical game.
The Griffins had four players making their team debuts in goalie Kevin Boyle, forward Max Humitz, forward Patrick Curry, and Detroit Red Wings 2021 third-round pick Donovan Sebrango.
Both the Griffins and Wolves finished 1/5 on the power play. Kevin Boyle stopped 25 of 28 shots for Grand Rapids, while Beck Warm stopped 36 of 38 shots for the Wolves.
Grand Rapids will be in Cleveland to battle with the Monsters on Saturday, Feb.13, with the puck dropping just after 4 p.m. est.