DES MOINES, Iowa - Xavier Ouellet scored with 2:27 remaining in overtime as the Grand Rapids Griffins tied a franchise record with their 11th consecutive victory, overcoming a three-goal deficit to defeat the Iowa Wild 4-3 on Sunday at Wells Fargo Arena.
This winning streak ties the franchise record set during the 2005-06 campaign (March 5-31, 2006) under Greg Ireland. The Griffins have a chance to break the record on Wendesday against the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena at 7 p.m.
Trailing 3-0 with less than six minutes remaining in the second period, Mitch Callahan's eighth of the season put the Griffins (13-8-0-1) on the scoresheet, while Martin Frk and Mark Zengerle each scored in the final 2:19 of regulation to force the extra session. The result also extended Iowa's home losing streak to 10 games.
Rob Bordson opened the scoring for Iowa (4-20-1-3) with 3:13 remaining in the opening period. After Ouellet blocked Tyler Graovac's initial effort from the right circle, Graovac got his own rebound and forced a stick save from Jared Coreau. Bordson then followed up with a shot over Coreau's glove.
Mike Reilly added to Iowa's lead 4:57 into the middle frame. After Jordan Schroeder passed to Reilly at the left circle, Reilly succeeded on a wraparound attempt, banking the puck off Coreau's left skate and in.
Zack Mitchell's power play goal gave the Wild a three-goal cushion with 9:37 remaining. Mike Reilly cleared the puck from his own zone off the end boards. After the puck bounced off Coreau's glove, Mitchell won the race to the puck near the right circle, moving from forehand to backhand and lifting the puck over the right pad.
Callahan got the Griffins on the board with 5:40 left. Martin Frk's backhanded pass from the goal line found Callahan in front of the crease for a tap-in. Callahan has been a constant thorn in Iowa's side, scoring 19 points in 16 career regular season meetings.
With Coreau on the bench for the extra skater, Frk made it a one-goal game with 2:19 to go in regulation. Louis-Marc Aubry sent a backhanded pass across the goal mouth, with Frk tracking down the loose puck near the right circle, sending a shot past the glove of a sprawling Smith.
Head coach Todd Nelson used his timeout with a faceoff in the attacking zone and 59.2 seconds on the clock. Zengerle, kept on the ice following the timeout, tied the game with 37.6 seconds remaining. Ryan Sproul's point deflected off the leg of Gustav Olofsson and onto the stick of Zengerle, who was uncovered below the right circle for a tap-in.
Grand Rapids needed 2:33 of the 3-on-3 overtime to clinch their 11th straight victory. Ouellet sent a drop pass to Anthony Mantha near the left point and then raced towards the left post. Mantha's wrist shot from the left point towards the left post deflected off Ouellet's stick, going off the right post and in to complete an improbable comeback.
Iowa went 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Griffins were unable to score on three opportunities. Coreau stopped 29 of 32 shots for the win, while Smith stopped 26 of 30 shots in a losing effort.
Three Stars: GR Ouellet (GW goal); GR Coreau (W, 29 saves); IA Reilly (goal, assist)
Notes: The Griffins are perfect (8-0-0-0) on the road against the Iowa Wild since the franchise's relocation from Houston. Tonight's result is also the 10th consecutive regular season win against the Wild...Iowa is winless (0-8-2-1) this season when scoring the game's first goal...The Detroit Red Wings on Sunday reassigned right wing Zach Nastasiuk from the Griffins to the ECHL's Toledo Walleye.
Check out the OT winner below. You can see how well Mantha uses his body to protect the puck and watch as Nosek shows veteran-level presence. Ouellet smartly goes to the front of the net knowing that both Mantha and Nosek have covered up high. Overall a beautifully-run play.