Griffins Fall 5-2, Split Weekend Set with IceHogs

<strong>GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 5</strong>

ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Grand Rapids Griffins dominated for much of the game, outshooting the Rockford IceHogs 44-20, but ended up on the wrong side of a 5-2 scoreline on Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

Evgeny Svechnikov earned his first multi-goal game for the Griffins this season (8-7-1-1) but his two goals were not enough against the Icehogs (8-7-0-0) who put up five goals against Filip Larsson in his sixth career start as a professional.

The Griffins return to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 20 as they welcome the San Antonio Rampage for the first time this season. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.

The Griffins started the game off strong as they created multiple chances in the early minutes of the period. Grand Rapids went on the power play in the first three minutes and Chase Pearson rallied off consecutive point-blank shots that were blocked by Kevin Lankinen.

The Griffins continued to produce scoring chances in the first eight minutes, outshooting the IceHogs 12-1. However, it was Rockford who got on the scoresheet first at the 13:29 mark.

A turnover by Gregor MacLeod in the Griffins’ zone led to a shorthanded goal by Nick Moutrey. Moutrey intercepted the pass from MacLeod and his shot between the circles sped over the glove of Larsson and into the top right corner of the net.

Rockford scored its second goal of the contest just a minute and four seconds later at the 14:33 mark. Brandon Hagel sent the puck down the left boards toward Philipp Kurashev, whose shot from a tight angle was deflected off the stick of Moritz Seider and over the left shoulder of Larsson.

The Griffins failed to convert on 17 shots and three power plays throughout the first frame. The defense of Grand Rapids held the IceHogs to just four shots but found themselves trailing 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.

Rockford created a great chance four minutes into the second after a shot from the right wing was deflected down and sat on the goal line before Oliwer Kaski could clear the puck away from danger.

Lankinen and the Rockford defense denied multiple Griffin chances during Hagel’s penalty in the second period. The power play was highlighted by a rocket from Kaski that hit the crossbar and a Svechnikov shot that was blocked away by a diving Lankinen.

The IceHogs made it 3-0 with 5:30 left in the period after Entwistle’s shot from inside the crease found the five-hole of Larsson. Alexandre Fortin skated deep down the left side and centered a pass in front of net and Entwistle’s one timer did the rest.

Grand Rapids finally got on the scoreboard at the 16:25 mark after Joe Veleno skated through center ice and found Svechnikov on the left circle. His wrist shot flew over the glove of Lankinen and into the top right corner for his second goal of the season.

Hagel scored a goal of his own just 17 seconds into the final frame to increase Rockford’s lead back to three. Another Grand Rapids turnover was controlled by Jacob Nilsson and his pass from the left circle zipped across the face of the net toward Hagel on the right goalpost who finished his chance on the open net.

The Griffins responded a few minutes later at the 3:15 mark after a mad scramble in the crease led to Svechnikov’s second goal of the evening and third on the year. Veleno took the initial shot from close range that was blocked and Matthew Ford’s rebound was saved again before Svechnikov was able to jam the puck home.

The Icehogs scored their fifth and final goal of the contest with four minutes remaining. Lucas Carlsson split the Grand Rapids defense with his pass to Fortin in the middle of the zone, which lead to a shot that beat the left shoulder of Larsson and gave Rockford the 5-2 victory.

Notes: Veleno earns his first multi-point game of the season posting two assists…Matt Puempel’s career-high 11-game point streak came to an end after suffering an injury early in the first period.

Three Stars: 1. RFD Lankinen (W, 42 saves); 2. RFD Hagel (goal, assist); 3. GR Svechnikov (two goals)

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