Griffins Put Blemish on Wolves’ Perfect Record, Win Fourth Straight
<strong>Chicago Wolves 1 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4</strong>
[From the Griffins]
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the first 22 minutes-and-change on Friday en route to toppling the AHL’s last undefeated team, stopping the Chicago Wolves’ seven-game winning streak and earning their fourth straight victory in 4-1 fashion at Van Andel Arena.
Griffins leading scorer Riley Barber (4-4—8) scored a pair of goals to extend his point streak to six games, while Kevin Boyle captured the win in his Van Andel Arena debut behind 22 saves that pushed Grand Rapids to 2-0 at home.
Just under four minutes into the game, Barber banked a backhand off Antoine Bibeau’s leg from below the goal line to hand Chicago its first deficit in a span of 334:49, dating to the second period of the Wolves’ second game on Feb. 6. Assists by Michael Rasmussen and Taro Hirose extended their point streaks to four and three games, respectively.
The Griffins struck twice in the first 2:02 of the second period to put the Wolves in a three-goal hole for the first time this season. Dominik Shine batted home his own rebound at the right post at the 44-second mark for his first of the campaign, before Barber sniped his second of the night into a wide-open cage from the left side for the three-goal cushion.
Rem Pitlick cut the Griffins’ lead to 3-1 and ended Boyle’s shutout bid by scoring on a rebound 42 seconds into the third. But the Wolves, who wasted five power play chances over the first two periods, couldn’t get closer and Givani Smith capped off the night by scoring his first of the season with 1:53 remaining.
• After surrendering seven goals over their two season-opening losses at Chicago, the Griffins have limited each opponent to just a single goal during their four-game winning streak.
• The Griffins did not score a power play goal for the first time this season, going 0-for-4.
• Grand Rapids, which recorded at least 30 shots for the fourth time this season (35), has not allowed any of its six opponents to reach that total after limiting Chicago to 23.
• Dylan McIlrath appeared in his 400th AHL game. He needs four more games to reach 200 in a Griffins uniform.
Chicago 0 0 1 - 1
Grand Rapids 1 2 1 - 4
1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Barber 3 (Rasmussen, Hirose), 3:59. Penalties-Barber Gr (hooking), 1:01; Mattheos Chi (slashing), 9:01; Lindstrom Gr (tripping), 12:27.
2nd Period-2, Grand Rapids, Shine 1 (Elson, Turgeon), 0:44. 3, Grand Rapids, Barber 4 (Hirose, Cholowski), 2:02. Penalties-Smith Gr (hooking), 6:51; McIlrath Gr (boarding), 8:36; Rees Chi (slashing), 10:02; Shine Gr (slashing), 13:18.
3rd Period-4, Chicago, Pitlick 7 (Richard, Allard), 0:42. 5, Grand Rapids, Smith 1 (Turgeon, Hicketts), 18:07. Penalties-Warsofsky Chi (slashing), 4:17; Davies Chi (holding), 16:02.
Shots on Goal-Chicago 7-8-8-23. Grand Rapids 9-14-12-35.
Power Play Opportunities-Chicago 0 / 5; Grand Rapids 0 / 4.
Goalies-Chicago, Bibeau 1-1-0 (35 shots-31 saves). Grand Rapids, Boyle 2-1-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
1. GR Barber (two goals); 2. GR Hirose (two assists); 3. GR Boyle (W, 22 saves)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 4-2-0-0 (8 pts.) / Sun., Feb. 28 at Chicago 4 p.m. EST
Chicago: 7-1-0-0 (14 pts.) / Sun., Feb. 28 vs. Grand Rapids 3 p.m. CST