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Griffins Hand Wolves First Loss of Season

Chicago Wolves 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5

Sam Iannamico/Griffins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Chicago Wolves, saw it evaporate, then showed their resiliency by forging an eventual 5-3 win on Saturday at Van Andel Arena. Matt Puempel scored twice, including an empty-netter in the final minute, to help the Griffins (2-4-0-0) earn their second home win in three tries this season and hand Chicago (4-1-0-0) its first loss of the campaign. Grand Rapids’ defense, which benefited from the return of Brian Lashoff from injury and Libor Sulakfrom Detroit, stifled the Wolves for all but a 3:01 span of the second period during which the visitors tallied each of their three goals. The Griffins now embark on a 12-day stretch in which their only action will be a two-game visit to Belleville next Friday and Saturday for their inaugural meetings with the Senators. Game time each night is 7 p.m. Turner Elson scored his first goal of the season to give the Griffins the edge 6:48 into the contest. Off a faceoff in the left circle, Carter Camper won the draw into the air to his right to Elson, who deftly batted the puck through the five hole of Max Lagace. Grand Rapids added to its lead in the waning moments of the opening period during a full two-minute 5-on-3 power play. From the bottom of the left circle, Vili Saarijarvi attempted a centering pass that ended up back on his stick after being blocked by a Wolves defender, and he swiftly potted a shot inside the near post with 7.8 seconds left in the frame for his first career AHL goal. Camper logged his second assist of the night 48 seconds into the middle period, as Puempel one-timed his feed at the right boards to stake the Griffins to a 3-0 advantage. But the Wolves soon scored three quick goals to erase their deficit. T.J. Tynan rushed in and banked a shot off the back ofHarri Sateri’s right pad from below the goal line at 4:39, before Brandon Pirri tipped home Erik Brannstrom’s point shot 1:05 later to make it a 3-2 game. Chicago used a lucky bounce to net the equalizer, as the puck that Zach Whitecloud threw into the slot from the right boards deflected off the skate of Brooks Macek and across the line at 7:40. The Griffins collected themselves then reclaimed the lead exactly four minutes later. After Jake Chelios knocked the puck off a Chicago stick just inside the Grand Rapids blue line, Filip Zadina poked it ahead to Chris Terry, who sped up the right side before snapping a shot past Lagace from the circle with 8:20 left in the period. Less than three minutes into the third, former Chicago sniperWade Megan finished off a scrum by scoring against his old team, but the referees waved off the goal after ruling that it came off a hand pass by Elson, keeping it 4-3. But the Griffins protected that slim margin, and Puempel added his second of the night into an empty cage at 19:28 to seal the victory. Sateri notched his second win behind 25 saves while Lagace stopped 27 of 31 in defeat. Three Stars: 1. GR Terry (game-winning goal); 2. GR Camper (two assists); 3. CHI Tynan (goal, assist)