ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Grand Rapids Griffins picked up their second road win of the season after defeating the Rockford IceHogs 4-2 on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Filip Larsson earned his first professional victory in his debut, saving 24 shots.
After suffering a loss in their home-opener last night, the Griffins (2-1-0-0) bounced back to remain undefeated on the road. They continue their three-game road trip next weekend as they travel to Texas for a pair of matchups against the Stars. Friday’s contest is set to begin at the H-E-B Center at 8 p.m. EDT.
Larsson was tested early in the game as the IceHogs (0-2-0-0) started quickly, peppering the young goaltender. Rockford opened the scoring at the 7:24 mark when Anton Wedin netted his first goal of the season. Jacob Nilsson slotted the puck across the Griffins’ zone to the right wing and Wedin smashed a slapshot that sailed over Larsson’s left shoulder.
The Griffins got on the board were when rookie Jarid Lukosevicius found the back of the net for his first professional goal. Matt Puempel sent the puck in front of Rockford goaltender Collin Delia where a mass of players fought to gain control. After a scrum in the crease, Lukosevicius emerged and tapped in the game-tying goal.
After starting the second period knotted at one, the Griffins pounced first at the 1:03 mark in the frame. A Rockford turnover led to a 2-on-1 and Givani Smith took an initial shot that missed high. Michael Rasmussen was there to secure the rebound off the boards and score his second of the season.
The Griffins continued to pressure the IceHogs and scored their third goal of the night at the 3:57 mark in the second frame. Chris Terry found Filip Zadina in the slot, where he fired a rocket of a slapshot over the catching glove of Delia for a power play goal. This goal eventually became the game winner as the Griffins took the 3-1 lead.
Rockford responded with a goal of its own to cut the lead down to one with 12:16 left in the second period. Dylan Sikura received a pass from Philip Holm on the right side and after skating between the circles let go a shot through multiple players and over the glove of Larsson.
The Griffins added their third goal of the period with just 1:00 left after winning a face-off in the Rockford zone. Dylan McIlrath sent the puck to the left side of the crease where Dominik Shine absorbed the pass and placed his shot over the right shoulder of the goaltender.
The Griffins’ penalty kill was tested in the third period but the defense held true as they killed off two power plays later in the period and finished the game 3-for-3. In a last-ditch effort, Rockford pulled Delia with 3:45 remaining but to no avail as Grand Rapids held on to the 4-2 victory on the road over the IceHogs.
Notes: Terry and Rasmussen both extend their season opening point streak to three games…Grand Rapids finished 1-for-4 on the power play…Grand Rapids outshot Rockford 28-26
Three Stars: 1. RFD Beaudin; 2. GR Shine (goal and assist); 3. RFD Sikura (goal)