DES MOINES, Iowa — The Grand Rapids Griffins closed out their season-high six-game road swing in style on Tuesday night with a 5-2 win over the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena.
The victory encompassed three-point performances from Martin Frk and Brian Lashoff, while Chris Terry notched the game-winning goal and Givani Smith tallied a point in his third consecutive game. Harri Sateri made 17 saves for the win, earning an eighth point in his last nine appearances and helping Grand Rapids (38-19-6-4) finish its road trip with a 5-1 record.
Iowa (34-22-7-5) is now six points behind the Griffins, who remain at second in Central Division standings with 86 points. With a win over the San Antonio Rampage tonight, the Chicago Wolves stay seated at first with a point total of 88. Grand Rapids will host the Wolves in its return to Van Andel Arena on Friday night at 7 p.m. EDT.
Just 3:05 into the first period, the Wild obtained an early lead after a shot from Colton Beck ricocheted off the boards behind Sateri. The puck bounced back towards the goaltender’s net, and Iowa forward Riley Bourbonnais knocked it past Sateri to put the Wild up, 1-0.
During his first game back in the Griffins’ lineup after a four-game stint with the Detroit Red Wings, Lashoff scored his first goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1. After a Dennis Cholowski shot fell wide and drifted along the left-wing boards, Frk collected it and passed it to Lashoff at the left point. From there, Lashoff fired a shot through traffic that passed Iowa goaltender Andrew Hammond glove-side at 7:47.
Frk tallied his second point of the night when he notched an assist on Smith’s goal early in the middle frame. Ripping off a shot from the left point, Frk sent the puck sailing towards Hammond, but it instead bounced off the glass behind the goaltender. Waiting on the doorstep, Smith swatted the puck into the net as it fell to give the Griffins the lead, 2-1, at 11:18.
Grand Rapids’ first penalty of the night sent the Wild on a power play at 11:38 of the second period, and Iowa capitalized on the chance less than a minute later. In a clump in front of Sateri’s net, Wild forward Kyle Rau attempted to sweep the puck past the goaltender. Instead, it drifted over to Mason Shaw at the left post, who tucked it behind Sateri for the power play goal at 12:37.
At 16:47, Terry recorded the game-winning goal with his 28th of the season. Joe Hicketts fed him a centering pass from the left-wing boards, and Terry lofted it over Hammond’s left shoulder from the doorstep at 16:57 to make it 3-2.
Two consecutive Grand Rapids penalties 24 seconds apart in the third period left the Griffins killing off a 5-on-3 disadvantage to the league’s second-best power play for 1:36. Grand Rapids not only stuffed the chance, but thwarted any Iowa attempt at a shot until well after the opportunity had expired.
Carter Camper doubled the Wild’s score at 18:36 of the final frame, 18 seconds after Iowa pulled Hammond for an extra attacker. While still in the Griffins’ zone, Camper collected a pass from Lashoff near the blue line and backhanded the puck down the ice and into an empty net.
With 39 seconds left on the clock, Matthew Ford capped scoring with the aid of Frk’s third assist of the night. After the pair skated the puck into the neutral zone, Ford lobbed it into the Wild’s empty net from Iowa’s blue line to make it 5-2.
Notes: Grand Rapids outshot Iowa 37-19...The win marks only the second victory in regulation through five meetings between the two teams this season, as the Wild won 5-2 on Dec. 8 at Wells Fargo Arena...The Griffins are 17-6-0-0 when playing at the venue...Grand Rapids now needs five points to extend their franchise-record Calder Cup Playoff streak to seven years...The Griffins finished 0-for-4 on the power play.
Three Stars: 1. GR Terry (game-winning goal); 2. GR Lashoff (goal, two assists); 3. IA Bourbonnais (goal)
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