GRAND RAPIDS, MICH.- After nearly a two-week layoff and a month since their last home game, the Grand Rapids Griffins were back in action on Friday night when they played host to the Iowa Wild. The time off seemed to be worth the wait as the Griffins held a three goal advantage in the final period, only to have Iowa score four unanswered, before scoring a pair of late tallies to knock off the Wild 5-4.
The Griffins came out with a steady barrage of offense after their near two-week layoff. The Wild came into the game with an eight game point streak. Grand Rapids opened the scoring when Jarid Lukosevicius scored his first goal of the campaign. Lukosevicuis had his first shot denied by Wild goalie Hunter Jones, but was able poke his own rebound home for the 1-0 lead. When these two teams met on March 26, there were multiple fights leading to a pretty heated battle for the rest of the game. Many likely wondered if there would be more of the same during this match up. Dylan McIlrath and Cody McLeod engaged in a short lived scrap with McIlrath wrestling McLeod to the ice just a few second into the fight. Brandon Duhaime and Patrick Curry would engage a couple of minutes later. Grand Rapids held the 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes of play.
Neither team was able to get on the scoreboard during the second period. The Griffins scored two times in the first four minutes of the third period to take a 3-0 lead. Kyle Criscuolo was credited with a goal when he was able to tip in a shot from McIlrath. The Griffins third tally came from rookie Albin Grewe, who notched his first goal in North America. Grewe beat the Jones with a snip from the face-off circles.
The Griffins held a three goal advantage in the final period before Iowa scored three times in just over 30 seconds to tie the game at three goals apiece. Iowa ended up taking the lead when Matthew Boldy beat Kevin Boyle for the go ahead tally. Taro Hirose tied the game up for the home team with just over three minutes remaining in the game. The game stood at a four-all tie before Dominic Turgeon netted the game winner for Grand Rapids with 41 seconds remaining.
The Wild began to chip away at the deficit with goals coming from former Ferris State Hockey product Gerald Mayhew and 14 seconds later another goal from Duhaime to cut the Griffins lead to just one. Griffins coach Ben Simon immediately called a timeout, but Iowa tied the game up at three just 22 seconds later on a goal from Mason Shaw. Boldy would then give the Wild a 4-3 lead just a few minutes later. Iowa seemed to now have the momentum after stunning the Griffins with four unanswered goals.
However, the Griffins were unfazed. Hirose scored the tying goal on a feed from Criscuolo from the left circle before Turgeon scored the game winner on a pass from Givani Smith, to knock off the Wild.
Forwards Dominik Shine and Tyler Spezia played the whole game as defenseman. Grand Rapids was only able to dress four regular defenseman.
Kevin Boyle earned the win for Grand Rapids, stopping 29 of 33 shots, and improved his record to 5-2-1. Neither team scored on the power play as Iowa finished 0/3 and Grand Rapids finished 0/2.
The two teams are set for a rematch tonight in Grand Rapids with puck drop coming just after 7 P.M. est.