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Hronek’s Shootout Goal Wins Game for Griffins over Wild

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Sandeen Photography

DES MOINES, IowaFilip Hronek finished off a back-and-forth game on Saturday night with a shootout goal to send the crowd at Wells Fargo Arena home disappointed with a 3-2 defeat to the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The Iowa Wild took an early 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a goal from Sam Anas. Two second period goals from Axel Holmstrom and Matt Puempel propelled the Griffins to a 2-1 advantage. However, the Wild struck back with a late goal from Kyle Rau to force overtime.

Two Griffin shootout goals by Hronek and Holmstrom outnumbered the Wild’s lone tally from Cal O’Reilly.

The Griffins (36-24-1-6) are back in action tomorrow night against the Chicago Wolves (36-21-7-2) in another Central division tilt. The puck drops from Allstate Arena at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

Anas scored his 22nd goal of the season on a backhanded shot from the slot at the 4:25 mark. A rebound from a Brennan Menell shot caused a skirmish in front of the crease. With Tom McCollumdistracted, Anas slipped the puck between his legs for the 1-0 lead. Despite outshooting the Wild, 12-9, in the opening period the Griffins couldn’t light the lamp.

Holmstrom tied the game with his own goal from the slot at 10:31 of the second period for his 6thgoal of the year. A shot from Dan Renouf above the left circle bounced off of Steve Michalek’s right pad leaving the net wide open for the Swedish native to tie the game.

Puempel gave Grand Rapids the lead with his 23rd goal of the campaign on a slap shot from the left point with 3:59 remaining in the middle frame. The power play tally sailed over Michalek’s left glove after it flew by two defenders that screened the Iowa goaltender.

Rau evened the game with 7:23 left in regulation off of a rebound in front of the net. A turnover in the neutral zone led to the Iowa rush, led by Gerry Fitzgerald who took the first shot. McCollum made the initial stop, but he couldn’t control the puck.

The Griffins nearly doubled the Wild in shots for the extra session, 8-5. 12 seconds before overtime ended, Puempel missed the net after a cross-ice pass from Dominic Turgeon who led a quick 2-2 rush.

Holmstrom scored over Michalek’s right blocker, O’Reilly’s shot lasered over McCollum’s glove, and Hronek tucked the puck in between Michalek’s legs for the shootout victory.

McCollum made 29 saves to push his record to 15-13-3, while Michalek pushed aside 39 shots in a losing effort.

Three Stars: 1. GR Hronek (game-winning SO goal, assist); 2. IA Rau (game-tying goal); 3. IA Anas (goal)