DES MOINES, Iowa – In their first road game since Jan. 8, the Grand Rapids Griffins fell 4-1 to the Iowa Wild on Friday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
The Griffins (20-21-2-4) trailed the entire contest after falling into a two-goal deficit after the first period. Dominic Turgeon scored the lone goal in the middle frame but his tally was not enough as the Wild (27-14-3-3) netted two of their own in the third to secure the victory.
Grand Rapids will have the rest of the weekend off before traveling to Milwaukee to take on the Admirals on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST.
J.T. Brown got things going for the Wild with 10:42 remaining in the opening frame when he netted his seventh of the season. A pass by Joe Hicketts was picked off by Brown in the Griffins’ zone and he skated into the right circle and fired a shot that slipped under the blocker of Pat Nagle.
Iowa made it a two-goal game at the 16:46 mark when Gerald Mayhew scored his league-leading 31st goal of the year on a power play. From alongside the right goalpost, Kyle Rau slotted the puck back to Mayhew sitting in front of the crease. Mayhew smashed a one-timer that sped past the stick of Nagle and into the left corner of the net.
Chances were hard to come by for the Griffins in the first as they tallied only three shots in the opening 19:45. The best chance of the period came with just seconds remaining when Chase Pearson rifled an attempt from near the center of the zone that was saved by the outstretched leg of Kaapo Kahkonen.
The Griffins created multiple opportunities in the second frame as they registered 16 shots and Turgeon scored the only goal of the period at 7:51. Taro Hirose skated down the left wing and behind the net but his wrap around attempt was saved by Kahkonen. However, the rebound slid to Turgeon near the left post and he poked the puck in for his 10th of the season. Hirose extended his assist streak to five games (0-8—8), which ties for the longest by a Griffin this year.
Hicketts nearly evened the scoreline with his blast from the blue line that was deflected by an Iowa defender and hit the post with around eight minutes to play in regulation. However, it was the Wild who pushed their lead back to two with a goal by Keaton Thompson with 7:46 remaining. Sam Anas, from the left circle, sent the puck back to the blue line where Thompson rifled a shot through traffic and into the corner of the goal.
Grand Rapids pulled Nagle with 3:19 left in the contest and Anas took advantage of the empty net and tallied his 15th of the year. With 46 seconds remaining, Anas crushed a shot from his own zone that bounced off the right boards and sailed into the goal to give the Wild a 4-1 victory.
Notes: Nagle was credited with 30 saves in his 10th appearance for Grand Rapids…The Griffins’ power play went 0-for-3 while the penalty kill went 2-for-3…The Wild outshot Grand Rapids 34-28…The Griffins remain in a tie for fourth place in the Central Division with the Texas Stars.
Three Stars: 1. IA Anas (goal, two assists); 2. IA Mayhew (goal); 3. IA Kahkonen (W, 27 saves)
[Post content courtesy of the Grand Rapids Griffins]