Wild Stop Streak with 3-1 Win

Teemu Pulkkinen - Jason "Stripe" Kasiorek

The visiting Iowa Wild, fresh off a 4-0 loss on Friday, played the role of spoilers for the Griffins, ending a seven game winning streak with a 3-1 win on Saturday. Iowa scored first to take an early lead, before Teemu Pulkkinen scored his 26th to knot the score at one. The game remained that way until the third period when the Wild took advantage of an injured Griffin to score the game winner. They later added an empty net tally for the final margin of victory. Thomas McCollum played well making 26 saves but still absorbed the loss, his 11th of the season.

Wild Stop Streak with 3-1 Win
Pulkkinen scores Griffins only goal in loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
March 8th, 2014

The visiting Iowa Wild, fresh off a 4-0 loss on Friday, played the role of spoilers for the Griffins, ending a seven game winning streak with a 3-1 win on Saturday. Iowa scored first to take an early lead, before Teemu Pulkkinen scored his 26th to knot the score at one. The game remained that way until the third period when the Wild took advantage of an injured Griffin to score the game winner. They later added an empty net tally for the final margin of victory. Thomas McCollum played well making 26 saves but still absorbed the loss, his 11th of the season. 

Blum redirected a long point shot in front past McCollum, low glove side to open the scoring for the Wild early in the first. Callahan almost answered back when he broke free and tracked down a loose puck in the slot, but he couldn't get a good shot off. Grand Rapids in penalty trouble with Sproul and McIntyre in the box and a 5-on-3 Wild powerplay. Ferraro blocked a shot with his foot and was stung. He had a hard time getting off the ice, but stayed in the game. The Griffins penalty killers did a great job, limiting Iowa to just one shot with a two-man advantage, killing off the powerplay. Good hustle by Grant on the forecheck to steal the puck behind the net and set up a nice chance. Callahan gained the zone and then went cross-ice to Pulkkinen who slapped a shot past Gustafsson for a powerplay goal. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Iowa 7. 

Couple of great chances on the cycle by Hoggan and Pulkkinen. Big scrum on front if the Griffins net after the play. Callahan won a foot race to the loose puck in the offensive zone on the penalty kill, but the puck got caught up in his skates and he couldn't get a shot off. McMillan had a flurry of shots on McCollum, but couldn't get one past him. Fournier with a nice backhander that almost handcuffed Gustafsson. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Iowa 13. 

Evans was elbowed behind the net and was down and bleeding but play continued and Blum centered to Hagel for a goal. Evans ended up coming off the ice with the trainer holding a towel to his face, and he left the game for repairs. Grand Rapids got a break on the powerplay when Blum broke a stick leaving Iowa further handicapped. The Griffins had several good chances with Callahan in front. Play went the other way and the Wild jammed the net trying to knock the puck in, but McCollum held the line. Pulkkinen to the box with a double high-sticking minor effectively leaving GR shorthanded for the rest of regulation. McCollum went to the bench for another forward, but Iowa got a long shot for an empty netter and a powerplay goal to seal a 3-1 win. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Iowa 9. For the Game: GR 29 - Iowa 29. 

Lines:
Grant - McIntyre - Callahan
Emmerton - Nestrasil - Pulkkinen
Hoggan - Ferraro - Frk
#9 Hirschfeld - Aubry - Parkes 

Pairings:
Evans - Sproul
Paetsch - Almquist
Fournier - Ouellet

Starter: McCollum
Backup: #1 Federico

Scratches:
Jensen
Tootoo
Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season

PP:
Emmerton - Nestrasil - Callahan
Pulkkinen - Almquist

Hoggan - Ferraro - Frk
Sproul - Paetsch


PK:
Callahan - McIntyre/Nestrasil
Paetsch - Almquist

Emmerton - Ferraro
Evans - Ouellet

Observations:

Mrazek was recalled earlier in the afternoon prompting the signing of former WMU netminder Matt Federico as an emergency backup. Federico isn't even a pro goalie, but a Player Development manager for O2K Management, which meant McCollum was going the distance between the pipes.

The game winner for Iowa was a tough pill to swallow as Evans took a brutal elbow behind the net and went down, obviously hurt but the Wild took advantage and scored.

Pulkkinen and Nestrasil continue to show great chemistry and created several quality scoring chance, finishing with 9 shots between the two of them, and the teams only goal.

Ouellet had a couple of rough moments, including coughing up the puck right in front of McCollum for a dangerous scoring chance. The rookie defenseman has not been as strong defensively as of late.


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