GRIFFINS HOLD OFF WILD, DEFEAT IOWA 6-2Dec 7, 2022
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins took advantage of an early goal and a pair of second period power play tallies Wednesday, beating the Iowa Wild by a 6-2 score. Sammy Walker picked up his 11th goal for the Wild and his AHL rookie-best 22nd point of the season in the defeat.
Albert Johansson opened the scoring at 2:39 of the first period when he fired a shot from the left circle under the glove of Zane McIntyre (31 saves) to give Grand Rapids an early 1-0 lead.
The Wild trailed 1-0 heading into the first intermission but held a 16-10 shot advantage over the Griffins.
Grand Rapids struck again with a power play marker in the opening minutes of the second period. After Taro Hirose set up Alex Chiasson on top of the crease, Chiasson tucked a no-look pass through the net mouth to Pontus Andreasson, who went high to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead at 1:32 of the second.
The Griffins stretched their lead to 3-0 at 8:42 of the middle frame when a shot from Hirose deflected directly to Joel L’Esperance on the back door, who scored the second power play goal of the period for Grand Rapids.
After 40 minutes, Iowa trailed 3-0 and Grand Rapids led the shot count 28-26.
Dakota Mermis pulled the Wild back within two in the early stages of the third period. Mermis corralled a clearing attempt at the left point and walked uncontested down into the circle before firing the puck off the post and in at 4:15.
Steven Kampfer answered 36 seconds later to give the Griffins a 4-1 advantage. Chiasson found Kampfer trailing the rush, and Kampfer took advantage of time and space to score his second goal of the season.
Iowa responded with 12:10 to play. Ryan O’Rourke took a point shot that was blocked directly to Simon Johansson, who snapped a shot into traffic in front of the net. Walker found the loose puck and put it by Magnus Hellberg (40 saves) to make the score 4-2.
The back-and-forth continued with a fifth Griffins goal at 11:21 when a shot from L’Esperance hit McIntyre and Mermis before tumbling over the goal line.
Kampfer added an empty net goal for Grand Rapids with 2:57 remaining to cap the scoring at 6-2.
Iowa outshot Grand Rapids 42-37. The Wild went 1-for-4 on the power play while the Griffins were 2-for-8 with the man advantage.
The Iowa Wild travel to BMO Harris Bank Center on Friday, Dec. 9 to face the Rockford IceHogs at 7:00 p.m.
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