Almost everything went well for the Grand Rapids Griffins in their home opener. The Griffins defeated the Rockford IceHogs 6-1, on the strength of 6 goals scored by 6 different players; Joe Veleno and Chase Pearson (1G and 1A) were among the scorers; Kirill Tyutyayev had 2 assists in his AHL debut; Jonatan Berggren registered a beautiful assist; and Calvin Pickard stopped 23 of 24 shots for Grand Rapids.
All of the Griffins performed in front of a sellout crowd, as well as Steve Yzerman and Dan Cleary, who made the drive from Detroit to take in Friday night’s game.
Here’s the Griffins website’s recap:
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Six different Grand Rapids Griffins lit the lamp and five enjoyed two-point nights on Friday as the home team roared to its largest-ever victory in a Van Andel Arena opener, defeating the Rockford IceHogs 6-1 before a capacity crowd of 10,834.
Chase Pearson, Tyler Spezia and Dennis Yan each tallied a goal and an assist while both reigning AHL Defenseman of the Year Ryan Murphy and rookie Kirill Tyutyayev chipped in a pair of helpers, leading Grand Rapids to a win for the fifth time in its last six home debuts.
Joe Veleno scored the first goal of the 2021-22 campaign on the power play with 12:12 remaining in the opening period off Murphy’s first assist as a Griffin, but Josiah Slavin answered for Rockford at the 14:52 mark with the only goal Calvin Pickard would surrender on the night, sending it to intermission tied 1-1.
Tyutyayev notched his first point in North America by setting up Spezia’s go-ahead tally 3:14 into the second, before goals by Turner Elson at 4:20 and Hayden Verbeek at 17:11 pushed Grand Rapids’ lead to three heading into the final 20 minutes. Elson’s marker gave him 100 points (41-59–100) for his Griffins career.
A Pearson power play goal at 4:25 of the third made it a 5-1 game, and Yan wrapped up the scoring by beating Malcolm Subban with 6:58 remaining.
The Griffins’ website also posted a photo gallery, a set of highlights and over 20 minutes’ worth of post-game interviews:
The Griffins head to Milwaukee to wrap up their weekend schedule (7 PM EDT start on AHL.tv [for free this weekend]).