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Griffins Sweep Weekend Series with Chicago

Griffins Sweep Weekend Series with Chicago

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The Grand Rapids Griffins did something they had not done all season, win in Chicago. A night after Riley Barber scored with 12 seconds remaining in the game; the Griffins won the rubber match of the series, 3-1. Turner Elson and Tyler Spezia scored goals just over a minute apart to help the Griffins bury the Wolves. With the win, Grand Rapids is still alive in the Central Division title hunt.

Pat Nagle got the nod in goal for Grand Rapids, who came into the game with a 5-5 record on the year, looking to get over the .500 mark. He was opposed by Antoine Bibeau, who has been solid for Chicago this season, coming in with a 4-1-1 record. This was the first game for Nagle since April 29.

Patrick Curry got the Griffins on the board in the first period. Hayden Verbeek found Curry on a nifty feed for the tally, beating Wolves netminder Antoine Bibeau from the slot.

The Griffins had a few other chances in the period and nearly doubled the Wolves in shots. But the score remained 1-0 with the visitors on top. Dylan McIlrath, as he has all season, made his presence known. No one knew that better than Wolves defenseman Brandon Hickey, who was on the receiving end of another thundering hit from the Griffins big blueliner.

The Griffins penalty kill was on full display in the opening period killing off two tripping penalties.

Chicago would eventually even the game up after a mad scramble around Nagle. Tommy Novak scored the goal for the Wolves 5:44 into the second period. Spezia broke the tie when he could use his speed to gain a step on his defender and beat Bibeau for the go-ahead tally. The play was set up on a nice centering pass from Chase Pearson, who found Spezia breaking toward the net.

Turner Elson would eventually cap off the Griffins victory, scoring just over a minute after the Spezia goal. Dominic Turgeon won a faceoff, and Elson quickly pounced on the puck, rifling a shot into the top of the cage.

The second period was rather clean, with the only infraction called on either team was a Tory Dello penalty for closing his hand on the puck.

Special teams were definitely a factor in the game for the Griffins, going a perfect 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.

The Griffins would dominate the third period allowing only five shots on goal from Chicago. Grand Rapids held the advantage in shots, outshooting the Wolves 29-23.

Pat Nagle was solid in net, getting the victory after stopping 22 of the Wolves 23 shots on goal. Grand Rapids was perfect on the penalty kill and finished 0-for-2 on the power play.

The Griffins’ next game will be Tuesday in Cleveland to take on the Monsters. Grand Rapids will wrap up their season with four games in the span of five days. The Griffins and Wolves will see each other one more time this season on Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.

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    Anthony Noffke covers the Grand Rapid Griffins for Field Pass Hockey. Follow and interact with him on Twitter @FPHGriffins.

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