GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Grand Rapids Griffins are still struggling to find the back of the net. They only managed to score one goal before falling to the Tucson Roadrunners, 3-1 Wednesday night in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
After a scoreless first period, the Griffins got on the board first when Dominik Shine scored his first professional goal. Luke Esposito entered the offensive zone and the fed the puck to a wide-open Shine who buried a shot for the 1-0 lead. The assist was the first professional point for Esposito.
Grand Rapids could not stay out of the box and it ended up costing them. Evgeny Svechnikov was whistled off for a cross-checking penalty before Dominic Turgeon was called for a double minor high sticking penalty. Tucson had a two-man advantage and were able to score within the first minute of the Svhecnikov penalty. Mike Sislo fired a shot from the circles that beat Tommy McCollum top shelf. With just over three minutes remaining in the Turgeon penalty, Tuscon scored again when Kyle Capobianco found the back of the net to put the visitors up 2-1.
Tucson made it 3-1 when rookie Dylan Strome scored his first professional goal. Strome was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry-Draft.
The Griffins outshot the Roadrunners 15-5 in the final frame but Tucson goalie Hunter Miska was up for the challenge.
The Griffins will return home Friday night to face the Chicago Wolves in their first matchup of the season. Former Griffin Teemu Pulkkinen, who is now a member of the Wolves and is second in the AHL in points with 11 (4-7-11), will be making his return to Van Andel Arena.
On Saturday night, the Griffins will travel to Rockford for the second time this season to do battle with the IceHogs. Rockford won 3-2 in a shootout during their first matchup.