In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins bolstered their playoff hopes by scoring 4 2nd-period goals over the course of 5 minutes, rallying from a 2-0 deficit en route to a 5-3 victory over the Iowa Wild. Ben Street had 3 assists, Eric Tangradi had a goal and 2 assists and Tom McCollum stopped 25 shots.
Grand Rapids will battle the Iowa Wild tonight (Saturday) as well.
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Iowa Wild 3
March 23, 2018
DES MOINES, Iowa – Two minutes in the second period produced four goals for the Grand Rapids Griffins and it proved to be the difference as they defeated the Iowa Wild, 5-3, on Friday night from Wells Fargo Arena.
The victory pushed the Griffins record to 35-24-1-6 while the Wild dropped to 30-21-9-5, trading places with each other in the Central Division standings for the third and fourth spots respectively.
The Wild got on the board first when Gerry Fitzgerald scored his second goal of the season from the right circle. The soft wrist shot snuck past Tom McCollum’s right arm after a turnover in the neutral zone.
Alex Grant increased the lead with a goal from the high right slot. The water-bottle-shaking goal was teed up after a drop pass from Pat Cannone at the 6:09 mark of the second period.
Matt Puempel tallied his 22nd goal with 4:04 left in the stanza to give the Griffins their first goal. The power play goal from the high slot came off of a slap shot that sent the puck sailing over Niklas Svedberg’s left glove.
Just 38 seconds later, the game was tied up thanks to Luke Esposito’s first career AHL goal. The rebound came off of a whiffed shot from Axel Holmstrom which led to a wide open net for Esposito.
Less than a minute after that, the Griffins took the lead after Zach Nastasiuk deflected Robbie Russo’s shot from the right point. The puck slid between Svedberg’s legs to give the road team a 3-2 lead.
Eric Tangradi added his team-leading 27th goal with 1:40 left in the second frame to push the score to 4-2. The winger skated around the net, squared up his shot, and sent the puck into the net on a quick wrist shot.
The Wild decreased the lead to a single goal when Sam Anas contributed his 21st goal. Two plus minutes later the Griffins made it a two-goal game again when Matt Lorito scored his fourth goal in four games to make the final score 4-2.
Grand Rapids finished 3-for-5 on the power play while Iowa converted on one of its four man advantages.
McCollum pushed aside 25 shots while Svedberg made 37 saves in a losing effort.
Three Stars: 1. GR Tangradi (goal, two assists); 2. GR Street (three assists); 3. IA Beck (two assists)
Elsewhere, in the SHL playoffs, Christoffer Ehn finished even with 1 shot, winning 42% of his faceoffs in 14:28 played during the Frolunda Indians’ 2-1 win over the Malmo Redhawks.
Frolunda now leads its first-round series 2 games to 1;
In the Swedish J20 league playoffs, Alfons Malmstrom played on the 3rd defensive pairing in HV71 Jonkoping’s 3-2 win over Frolunda’s J20 team.
HV71 won its best-of-3 series, sweeping Frolunda, and they advance to the J20 semifinals;
In the OHL playoffs, Givani Smith had an assist, finishing even on 3 shots as his Kitchener Rangers won 7-2 over the Guelph Storm.
Kitchener took a 1-0 lead in the teams’ first-round series;
Jordan Sambrook finished at -1 with 1 shot, but his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds won 5-2 over the Saginaw Spirit. Reilly Webb finished at +2 with 1 shot for Saginaw;
The Sault took a 1-0 lead in the teams’ first-round series;
In the WHL, Lane Zablocki served the 2nd game of a 2-game suspension as his Victoria Royals lost 2-1 to the Vancouver Giants.
Vancouver took a 1-0 lead in the teams’ first-round series;
In regular season play, Filip Larsson remains injured as his Tri-City Storm won 2-1 over the Sioux Falls Stampede;
And today, if you want to watch Kasper Kotkansalo and Boston University battle Cornell in the NCAA regionals, Boston University will play Cornell at 1 PM EDT on ESPNews:
Here’s a look at Saturday’s slate of games, as the defending champions get in on the action. All on the ESPN app / TSN GO. pic.twitter.com/FkzmISlCJY
— College Hockey Inc. (@collegehockey) March 24, 2018