GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Former Ferris State Bulldog Gerald Mayhew put his pedigree on display against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday, scoring 33 seconds into overtime to give the Iowa Wild a 4-3 victory in a battle of Central Division powers.
In the first shift of the extra session, a backchecking Mayhew pulled on Filip Zadina’s jersey to pickpocket the puck in the neutral zone, then skated in alone and lifted a backhand over Calvin Pickard for his second goal and third point of the night. A thorn in the Griffins’ paw over the last three seasons, Mayhew – who netted two goals in his six-game NHL debut with Minnesota prior to his reassignment on Monday – now has an impressive nine goals and 13 points in 14 career games versus Grand Rapids.
Thanks to the point earned in the overtime loss, the Griffins (5-2-1-1) are still off to their best start since the 2013-14 season, when they had an identical record through nine games. After concluding their four-game homestand with a 3-0-1-0 slate, they’ll head to Manitoba this weekend for a Saturday-Sunday set against the Moose. Game time each day is 3 p.m. ET.
Zadina put the Griffins on the board just 2:58 into the contest, setting up at the left hashmarks to redirect Dominic Turgeon’s point shot past Kaapo Kahkonen for his second goal of the season. Evgeny Svechnikov also earned an assist on his second shift after returning from a four-game stint with the Detroit Red Wings.
Rookie Gregor MacLeod then scored his second goal in as many games 6:58 into the middle period to double Grand Rapids’ lead. Taking a slick pass from Ryan Kuffner at the right faceoff dot, MacLeod stickhandled toward the net before popping a shot over Kahkonen’s left shoulder from close quarters.
The Wild responded with a shorthanded goal just 41 seconds later to cut their deficit to 2-1. Mayhew hustled to chase down a cleared puck along the end boards and threw it out front to a wide-open Gabriel Dumont for a one-timer between the circles that Pickard had no chance on.
Pickard, who to that point had allowed just two goals while making 89 saves over his previous 173:11 played, was victimized by Mayhew’s first goal at the 11:07 mark. Off a Kyle Bauman drop pass at center ice, Mayhew sped into the Griffins’ zone and down the right side before circling the net and scoring on a wraparound.
A potential go-ahead goal by J.T. Brown into a vacated net at 17:50 was waved off after a discussion by the officials, as Kyle Rau had crashed into Pickard at the left post and prevented him from getting back into his crease prior to Brown’s shot.
The 2-2 deadlock carried into the third period but was snapped at 6:43 by Dumont’s second goal and the Wild’s third straight tally. Early in Iowa’s lone power play of the evening, Rau sent a shot on net from the top of the left circle that Pickard denied, but Dumont was waiting on the goalmouth and scored on his second whack at the rebound.
Joe Veleno, who was MacLeod’s linemate in Drummondville last year, continued the theme by scoring the second goal of his debut season with 6:56 remaining, potting a Chris Terry feed from just outside the crease. Once again the officials huddled to confer, but this goal stood to knot the score at three all.
A tripping call on Mayhew gave the Griffins their third and final power play opportunity of the night with 3:45 left in regulation, but the Wild responded with a solid penalty kill to thwart the chance and the game eventually proceeded to overtime.
The first-place Wild improved to 6-1-1-1 behind 35 saves by Kahkonen, while Pickard finished with 27 stops.
Note: Attendance for the Griffins’ annual Jake Engel Memorial Dog Game was 180 canines and 5,740 humans.
Three Stars: 1. IA Mayhew (two goals, assist); 2. IA Dumont (two goals); 3. GR Veleno (game-tying goal)