In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins were able to sweep their 2-game set against the Iowa Wild, winning 3-2 in a shootout. Axel Holmstrom and Filip Hronek had shootout markers, and Holmstrom and Matt Puempel scored in regulation.
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 at Iowa Wild 2 (SO)
March 24, 2018
DES MOINES, Iowa – Filip Hronek finished off a back-and-forth game on Saturday night with a shootout goal to send the crowd at Wells Fargo Arena home disappointed with a 3-2 defeat to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
The Iowa Wild took an early 1-0 lead in the first period thanks to a goal from Sam Anas. Two second period goals from Axel Holmstrom and Matt Puempel propelled the Griffins to a 2-1 advantage. However, the Wild struck back with a late goal from Kyle Rau to force overtime.
Two Griffin shootout goals by Hronek and Holmstrom outnumbered the Wild’s lone tally from Cal O’Reilly.
The Griffins (36-24-1-6) are back in action tomorrow night against the Chicago Wolves (36-21-7-2) in another Central division tilt. The puck drops from Allstate Arena at 6:00 p.m. EDT.
Anas scored his 22nd goal of the season on a backhanded shot from the slot at the 4:25 mark. A rebound from a Brennan Menell shot caused a skirmish in front of the crease. With Tom McCollum distracted, Anas slipped the puck between his legs for the 1-0 lead. Despite outshooting the Wild, 12-9, in the opening period the Griffins couldn’t light the lamp.
Holmstrom tied the game with his own goal from the slot at 10:31 of the second period. A shot from Dan Renouf above the left circle bounced off of Steve Michalek’s right pad leaving the net wide open for the Swedish native to tie the game.
Puempel gave Grand Rapids the lead on a slap shot from the left point with 3:59 remaining in the middle frame. The power play tally sailed over Michalek’s left glove after it flew by two defenders that screened the Iowa goaltender.
Rau evened the game with 7:23 left in regulation off of a rebound in front of the net. A turnover in the neutral zone led to the Iowa rush, led by Gerry Fitzgerald who took the first shot. McCollum made the initial stop, but he couldn’t control the puck.
The Griffins nearly doubled the Wild in shots for the extra session, 8-5. 12 seconds before overtime ended, Puempel missed the net after a cross-ice pass from Dominic Turgeon who led a quick 2-2 rush.
Holmstrom scored over Michalek’s right blocker, O’Reilly’s shot lasered over McCollum’s glove, and Hronek tucked the puck in between Michalek’s legs for the shootout victory.
McCollum made 29 saves to push his record to 15-13-3, while Michalek pushed aside 39 shots in a losing effort.
Three Stars: 1. GR Hronek (game-winning SO goal, assist); 2. IA Rau (game-tying goal); 3. IA Anas (goal)
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye rallied from a 2-0 deficit on goals by Colin Jacobs and Mike Borkowski, tying the Brampton Beast 2-2 in the 3rd period, but the Beast scored with only 4:16 remaining in regulation, ultimately winning 3-2 over the Walleye.
This was a weird game as Toledo’s coach, Dan Watson, was ejected from the game 2:22 into the 3rd period.
The Walleye’s website posted a recap and highlight clip…
Walleye stopped by Beast
(Toledo, OH) – The Walleye fell to the Beast 3-2 on Saturday night in Toledo. Pat Nagle stopped 26 of 29 shots and is now 33-5-3-1 on the season. The Walleye are 46-16-3-2 on the season and 26-6-1-0 at home. Tonight’s crowd of 8,000 is good for our 25th sellout of the season, continuing our growing record.
Though Toledo would dominate in the first period, outshooting Brampton 20-8, the Beast took a 1-0 lead at 15:19 with a slap shot from the blue line that beat Nagle.
While both teams had excellent chances in the second period, Brampton would outshoot Toledo 11-9.
The Beast would extend their lead to 2-0 at 3:50 of the third period on the power play. Colin Jacobs would pull the Walleye within a goal at 12:01 of the frame. At 14:42, Mike Borkowski would tie the game 2-2 with a power play goal. The Beast would regain the lead at 15:44 to give the final score of 3-2.
- The Walleye are home on Sunday for a 5:15 p.m. puck drop against Kalamazoo.
- Nagle stopped 26 of 29 shots and is now 33-5-3-1 on the season. His unbeaten streak of 17 straight ends.
- The 8,000 in attendance marked our 25th sellout of the season.
- The Walleye are 25-5-2 all-time vs. Brampton.
Watson was ejected with 17 minutes left in the contest after referee Andrea Barone issued him a game misconduct and removed him. Toledo twice was called for two-minute bench minors for unsportsmanlike conduct. Barone ejected Walleye equipment manager Dave Aleo after the pair exchanged words in the second.
“I’m still confused. I’d love to know what happened,” Watson said. “His communication is obviously deplorable. I don’t know why he wanted Dave Aleo off the bench. I don’t why he kicked me out. I just had a question and he wouldn’t communicate with me. I’ll wait for the league to figure out why.
“No one yelled anything. I have no idea. It’s Game 67. I’m very disappointed in the way he handled the game. It’s all about communication. I wasn’t fired up and I wasn’t yelling and hollering. It was an off night for him, apparently.”
Elsewhere, in the Swedish Allsvenskan playoffs, Mattias Elfstrom had an assist and played on the 2nd line in Vasterviks IK’s 3-2 loss to Huddinge IK;
Boston University will play the University of Michigan in the Northeast Regional semifinal at 4 PM EDT on Sunday, and the game will air on ESPN2;
In the WHL playoffs, Dennis Cholowski scored 2 goals, finishing at +1 with 5 shots in the Portland Winterhawks’ 4-3 OT loss to the Spokane Chiefs.
Cholowski was named the game’s 2nd star, and Portland now trails the first-round series 1 game to 0;
Lane Zablocki returned from a suspension to finish at +1 with 3 shots, winning 2 of 3 faceoffs as his Victoria Royals won 5-4 over the Vancouver Giants, tying the teams’ first-round series 1-1;
Michael Rasmussen had 2 goals and 2 assists, finishing at +1 on 5 shots, winning 3 of 5 faceoffs as his Tri-City Americans won 9-7 over the Kelowna Rockets.
Rasmussen was named the game’s second star, and Tri-City now leads the teams’ first-round series 2-0;
And in the USHL, Filip Larsson did not play in the Tri-City Storm’s 4-3 loss to Sioux Falls.