[From the Griffins]
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Dennis Cholowski’s blast from the right circle 1:05 into overtime on Saturday lifted the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Monsters in their home opener at Van Andel Arena.
Winners of three in a row, the Griffins continued their penchant for scoring goals on the power play and in the latter stages of games. Both of their goals came when they had the man-advantage, giving them at least one in each of the season’s first five games and putting them 6-for-23 (26.1%) overall. In addition, seven of Grand Rapids’ 11 goals this season have now come after the second period.
The game was scoreless until 3:35 into the third period when Michael Rasmussen cashed in. From along the left boards just inside the blue line, Cholowski launched a shot that was tipped by Kyle Criscuolo on the way to the net. Brad Thiessen put his left pad on it, but Rasmussen pounced on the rebound and pushed a backhand inside the right post.
The lead lasted just over five minutes, as Ryan MacInnis sped in alone and slipped a backhand through Pat Nagle’s pads to forge another tie. Nagle slammed the door the rest of the way to improve to 2-1 with a 1.68 GAA and a 0.937 save percentage.
A slashing penalty to Nathan Gerbe with 44 seconds left in the third provided the Griffins with their sixth power play of the night and the opportunity they would use to end it overtime.
• This was the Griffins’ first home game in 346 days, dating to their 4-1 win over Iowa on March 11, 2020.
• Riley Barber, who pushed his team-high scoring streak to five games and point total to six (2-4—6) with the second assist on Cholowski’s game-winner, logged his 300th pro game.
• After feeding Cholowski for the overtime goal, Taro Hirose has three assists in two games since being reassigned from Detroit’s taxi squad.
Cleveland 0 0 1 0 – 1
Grand Rapids 0 0 1 1 – 2
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Fortunato Cle (hooking), 6:43; Fortunato Cle (tripping), 14:50; Hirose Gr (tripping), 15:21.
2nd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Polei Cle (holding), 4:14.
3rd Period-1, Grand Rapids, Rasmussen 2 (Criscuolo, Cholowski), 3:35 (PP). 2, Cleveland, MacInnis 1 (Christiansen, Schemitsch), 8:43. Penalties-Scott Cle (boarding), 3:10; Smith Gr (tripping), 5:55; Polei Cle (high-sticking), 14:46; Gerbe Cle (slashing, misconduct – abuse of officials), 19:16.
OT Period-3, Grand Rapids, Cholowski 2 (Hirose, Barber), 1:05 (PP). Penalties-Polei Cle (misconduct – abuse of officials), 1:05; Schemitsch Cle (misconduct – abuse of officials), 1:05.
Shots on Goal-Cleveland 10-9-4-0-23. Grand Rapids 6-9-13-2-30.
Power Play Opportunities-Cleveland 0 / 2; Grand Rapids 2 / 6.
Goalies-Cleveland, Thiessen 0-2-1 (30 shots-28 saves). Grand Rapids, Nagle 2-1-0 (23 shots-22 saves).
Referees-Justin Kea (20), Tim Mayer (19).
Linesmen-Nicholas Bet (86), Jesse Pletsch (51).
1. GR Rasmussen (power play goal); 2. GR Cholowski (overtime/game-winning/power play goal, assist); 3. CLE MacInnis (goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 3-2-0-0 (6 pts.) / Fri., Feb. 26 vs. Chicago 7 p.m.
Cleveland: 0-2-1-0 (1 pt.) / Mon., Feb. 22 at Rockford 7 p.m. EST