Recap: Griffins lose sixth in a row to Chicago

The Grand Rapids Griffins are having an incredibly difficult time defeating one of their most frequent opponents in the Chicago Wolves. On Sunday, Grand Rapids dropped its sixth straight game to the Wolves, losing 3-1 (despite a 41-save performance by goaltender Calvin Pickard).

The Griffins’ website posted a recap:

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Chicago Wolves 3

Nov. 28, 2021

ROSEMONT, Ill.– The Grand Rapids Griffins failed to get its first win of the season in five tries against the Chicago Wolves, losing 3-1 on Sunday at Allstate Arena. The defeat snapped the Griffins’ six-game road point streak (4-0-1-1).

Grand Rapids is now winless in its past six outings against Chicago, dating back to last season. Despite the loss, Kyle Criscuolo extended his point streak (3-6—9) to four games. Calvin Pickard made his sixth straight start in net for the Griffins and has appeared in 12 out of the 17 games this season.

Right out of the gate, Grand Rapids looked poised to score as Criscuolo and Riley Barber both fired close-range shots in the first 10 seconds of the contest, but Chicago’s goaltender Eetu Makiniemi made the saves.

At 5:41 in the first, C.J. Smith centered a pass for Andrew Poturalski who stood at the goal crease and sent the puck past the glove of Pickard, giving Chicago a 1-0 advantage. Poturalski now has 13 points (6-7—13) in five games against the Griffins, which is a new Chicago record for most points in a season against Grand Rapids.

The middle frame was a tale of two stories. After a Grand Rapids penalty with 16:41 remaining, the Wolves took control of a power play chance when Stefan Noesen put a shot on net but was denied by Pickard. Josh Leivo then came around the right post for the tap-in score at 3:27.

Grand Rapids had a chance to reduce the deficit when Barber was all by himself on the doorstep but failed to convert after a Makiniemi save. That stop led to an odd-man rush by Chicago, which gave the Wolves a three-goal lead with 4:39 remaining in the second. Jesper Sellgren stood at the right wing and found an open Noesen who sent a wrister past Pickard.

In the final frame, the Griffins struggled to find their offense as the team didn’t record a shot until Luke Witkowski fired the puck on net at the 10:01 mark.

After Chicago was called for two penalties in a span of seven seconds, Grand Rapids took advantage of the 5-on-3. Taro Hirose waited at the left circle and found Ryan Murphy at the high slot and ripped the puck past Makiniemi.

The Griffins pulled Pickard for an extra skater with 1:48 left but to no avail, as Chicago held on to the 3-1 victory.

The Griffins also posted a photo gallery and a Chicago Wolves-produced highlight clip:

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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.