[From the Griffins]
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Riley Barber’s second goal of the game with 12.1 seconds left on Friday completed four-point nights for him and Kyle Criscuolo and gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a hard-fought 5-4 win over the Chicago Wolves at Van Andel Arena.
After the Griffins had surrendered a 4-2 lead in the third period, Criscuolo found Barber in the right circle in the waning moments, and the sniper used the space he was afforded by the Wolves’ defense to rip a shot past Beck Warm, thanks in part to a screen provided by Criscuolo.
Both players finished with two goals and two assists on the night, as the Griffins snapped a four-game winless streak, earned just their second victory in eight tries against the Central Division leaders, and stayed alive in the chase for the division crown with five games remaining for both teams.
Sprung by a Tommy Novak pass up the middle of the ice, Anthony Richard beat Kevin Boyle on a breakaway 3:18 into the game, giving him seven goals in eight games against the Griffins this season. In contrast, he has four goals in 17 games against all other opponents.
Barber answered for the Griffins at 7:54 with his 16th goal of the season, chipping the puck past Warm at the left post. But a hooking penalty on Barber late in the period opened the door for Phil Tomasino to give Chicago a 2-1 lead, as he connected from the right circle for a power play goal at 18:47.
The Griffins cashed in their third power play chance to forge another tie at 17:21 of the second period, when Criscuolo stood on the doorstep to tip home Jared McIsaac’s shot from the left point. Taro Hirose then fed Dylan McIlrath for a one-timer at the top of the right circle that blew past Warm 2:05 into the third to make it 3-2 in favor of the Griffins.
Criscuolo gave Grand Rapids a two-goal cushion at 10:51 by whipping a shot from the left side, but Grand Rapids gave it right back thanks to penalty trouble. Dominik Bokk slammed the puck into the back door during a 5-on-3 at 13:36, and then just two seconds after the second penalty expired, David Cotton put a deflection past Boyle at 15:02.
Barber’s game-winner at 19:47, his 17th tally of the campaign, gave him sole possession of second place in the AHL’s goal-scoring race, four behind Bakersfield’s Cooper Marony, who has played in eight more games.
• The four-point nights for Barber and Criscuolo were the second of each player’s career and are the first by any Griffins players this season. Criscuolo accomplished it on Feb. 16, 2018 while playing for Rochester against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, while Barber did it on Jan. 30, 2016 against Syracuse as a rookie with Hershey.
• Projected over a normal 76-game season, Barber’s 17 goals equate to 47, a single-season total eclipsed in Griffins history by only Donald MacLean, who lit the lamp 56 times in 2005-06 en route to earning AHL MVP honors.
Chicago 2 0 2 - 4
Grand Rapids 1 1 3 - 5
1st Period-1, Chicago, Richard 11 (Novak), 3:18. 2, Grand Rapids, Barber 16 (Pearson), 7:54. 3, Chicago, Tomasino 12 (Warsofsky, Novak), 18:47 (PP). Penalties-served by Cotton Chi (bench minor - too many men), 8:41; Barber Gr (hooking), 18:24.
2nd Period-4, Grand Rapids, Criscuolo 9 (McIsaac, Barber), 17:21 (PP). Penalties-Rempal Chi (tripping), 10:34; Curry Gr (tripping), 13:20; Hirose Gr (high-sticking), 14:42; Keane Chi (slashing), 15:49; Curry Gr (roughing), 19:07.
3rd Period-5, Grand Rapids, McIlrath 2 (Hirose, Criscuolo), 2:05. 6, Grand Rapids, Criscuolo 10 (Barber, Hirose), 10:51. 7, Chicago, Bokk 9 (Novak, Warsofsky), 13:36 (PP). 8, Chicago, Cotton 10 (Del Gaizo, Warsofsky), 15:02. 9, Grand Rapids, Barber 17 (Criscuolo, Sebrango), 19:47. Penalties-Malone Chi (high-sticking), 5:55; Loggins Gr (slashing), 12:17; Hicketts Gr (boarding), 13:00.
Shots on Goal-Chicago 10-5-9-24. Grand Rapids 8-6-13-27.
Power Play Opportunities-Chicago 2 / 6; Grand Rapids 1 / 4.
Goalies-Chicago, Warm 6-3-1 (27 shots-22 saves). Grand Rapids, Boyle 7-3-1 (24 shots-20 saves).
1. GR Barber (two goals, two assists); 2. GR Criscuolo (two goals, two assists); 3. CHI Novak (three assists)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 13-10-3-1 (30 pts.) / Sat., May 8 at Chicago 8 p.m. EDT
Chicago: 18-7-1-2 (39 pts.) / Sat., May 8 vs. Grand Rapids 7 p.m. CDT