WILD STUNS GRIFFINS WITH 2-1 VICTORYMar 17, 2018
Wild defenseman Alex Grant scores game-winner with 16 seconds left
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN – Iowa Wild (30-18-9-5; 74 points) stunned Grand Rapids Griffins (33-24-1-6; 71 points) for the team’s second consecutive come-from-behind win with a 2-1 victory at Van Andel Arena Saturday night.
With the game tied at 1-1 at 18:20 in the third period, Griffins defenseman Dylan McIlrath was whistled for a holding penalty, sending Iowa to the power play. With the extra man, the Wild controlled possession as the clock ticked down. Defenseman Viktor Loov sent a cross-ice pass along the blue line to defenseman Alex Grant, who skated forward and stepped into a slap shot. His rocket screamed over the glove of Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum (35 saves) and into the back of the net, giving Iowa the 2-1 lead with just 16 seconds left. His goal stood as the game-winner and the Wild banked two important points in the incredibly cramped Central Division playoff race.
The Griffins opened the scoring at 11:08 in the first period on a goal from forward Matt Lorito. Standing on the left side of the net, Lorito picked up a rebound off Niklas Svedberg (19 saves) and lofted the puck over his blocker to give the home side a 1-0 lead. The goal marked the fourth consecutive game between the two clubs where the Griffins scored first.
Grand Rapids held its 1-0 lead until 13:48 in the third period, when Wild forward Gerry Fitzgerald scored his first professional goal. Wild forward Cal O’Reilly won a board battle on the left wall and quickly worked the puck to Kyle Rau, who one-touched a pass to Fitzgerald. Crashing the net, Fitzgerald snapped a shot on net, which snuck under McCollum’s glove and into the back of the net to tied the game at 1-1. With his secondary assist, O’Reilly recorded the 400th AHL helper of his career.
With Grant’s game-winner, Iowa leaves Grand Rapids with four points in a two-game series between the two clubs for the first time in team history. The Wild has also earned points in its last five games (3-0-1-1) and eight of its last nine (4-1-2-2). Iowa also outshot Grand Rapids 37-20, marking the fourth time in five games the Wild has finished the game with more shots than its opponent.
The Wild continues its three-in-three stretch with a matinee showdown with Chicago Wolves Sunday. Puck drop is at 3:00 p.m. at Allstate Arena.
The Iowa Wild 2017-18 season is presented by Mercy Medical Center and runs from October through April. For more information, please contact the Wild office by calling 515-564-8700 or by visiting www.iowawild.com.