Grand Rapids Griffins recap: GR drops road opener in Chicago

The Grand Rapids Griffins played for the first time in eleven months on Friday, and all did not go well for the Griffins, but they gave the Chicago Wolves a battle in the form of a 3-1 loss at the Triphahn Center on Friday night.

The Griffins’ website has posted both a recap and highlight clip:

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill.Kyle Criscuolo provided an early spark in his first game with the Grand Rapids Griffins since hoisting the Calder Cup in 2017, but the Chicago Wolves responded with a goal in each period to take a 3-1 win in the 2020-21 season opener for both teams at the Triphahn Center Ice Arena on Friday.

Criscuolo opened the scoring 7:38 into the first period, cashing in assists from newcomer Riley Barber and Michael Rasmussen to tap the puck through Antoine Bibeau’s pads for a power play tally. Tom Novak answered on a pinball goal with 1:34 left in the frame, the only puck the Wolves could get past Pat Nagle despite a 12-5 advantage in shots over the first 20 minutes.

Seth Jarvis scored from close range 2:09 into the second period while Turner Elson was off for boarding, giving Chicago its first lead of the night at 2-1, and Cavan Fitzgerald capped off the scoring by blasting a shot past Nagle from the top of the left circle with 6:59 remaining in the third. Grand Rapids received a fifth and final power play chance with 5:43 left but was unable to get closer, falling in a road opener for just the third time in the last eight years.


Defenseman Brian Lashoff logged his 501st game in a Griffins uniform and his first as the team’s captain.

A 31-goal scorer with Hershey two seasons ago, Barber was the lone player who made his Griffins debut tonight. Goaltender Kevin Boyle, previously with San Diego, served as Nagle’s understudy.

The Griffins took to the ice against an opponent for the first time in 331 days, dating to their 4-1 home win over Iowa on March 11, 2020. They’ll play three more games on the road before returning to Van Andel Arena on Feb. 20 for Opening Night presented by Huntington, when they’ll host the Cleveland Monsters at 4 p.m.

Here’s the highlight clip, provided by the Chicago Wolves’ website:

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.