[From the Griffins]
ROCKFORD, Ill. – Pat Nagle’s 17 saves and a franchise-first for Riley Barber powered the Grand Rapids Griffins to their 1,000th regular season victory on Thursday, a 3-1 triumph over the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
The Griffins continued their dominance over the IceHogs this season, improving to 3-0 in the series and coming within 3:41 of securing what would have been Nagle’s first AHL shutout before a double-deflection goal spoiled that bid.
Barber extended his point streak to nine games at the 2:04 mark of the second period, taking a pass from Chase Pearson at the top of the circles and ripping a shot through traffic and over Matt Tomkins’ glove. Barber’s streak is the longest ever to start a player’s Griffins career, as well as the longest from the start of a Griffins season.
Having scored six goals during his four-game goal streak, Barber is now tied for the AHL goal-scoring lead with eight, while his 13 points are tied for fourth on the circuit.
The Griffins held only that slim margin through 40 minutes despite a 22-11 advantage in shots, but they broke the game open with two goals before the third period was 10 minutes old.
At the 6:04 mark, after a Gustav Lindstrom shot from the right side hit a sliding Rockford player, the puck knuckled its way to the back door and a waiting Kyle Criscuolo, who slammed it into a gaping cage for a 2-0 lead. It marked the 50th AHL and pro goal of Criscuolo’s career.
Brian Lashoff then tallied his first goal of the season at 9:09, seizing an opportunity to crash down the slot and pot a beautiful no-look pass from Tyler Spezia, whose back faced Lashoff as he was tied up by an IceHog to the left of the net.
Two unfortunate bounces cost Nagle his shutout with 3:41 remaining, as Michael Krutil’s shot from the right side changed direction off both Lashoff and the skate of D.J. Busdeker before slipping past the netminder.
• Over their 25 seasons of play, the Griffins have compiled a regular season record of 1,000-686-27-61-116 (0.583).
• Barber’s nine-game point streak is tied for the 17th-longest in franchise history and is the longest for a Griffin since Matt Puempel’s 11-game run from Oct. 23-Nov. 15, 2019.
• With a 3-0 record at the BMO Harris Bank Center this season, the Griffins have already matched the victory total of their 15 visits to Rockford from 2017-20 (3-7-2-3).
• Grand Rapids has more than doubled Rockford’s shot total in the season series (110-52) while outscoring the IceHogs 15-6.
Grand Rapids 0 1 2 – 3
Rockford 0 0 1 – 1
1st Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Smith Gr (roughing), 9:59.
2nd Period-1, Grand Rapids, Barber 8 (Pearson), 2:04. Penalties-Sebrango Gr (fighting), 4:49; McKay Rfd (fighting), 4:49; Barber Gr (fighting), 14:35; Osipov Rfd (fighting), 14:35; Krutil Rfd (holding), 16:32.
3rd Period-2, Grand Rapids, Criscuolo 4 (Lindstrom, Hicketts), 6:04. 3, Grand Rapids, Lashoff 1 (Spezia, Humitz), 9:09. 4, Rockford, Busdeker 3 (Krutil, McKay), 16:19. Penalties-No Penalties
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 10-12-10-32. Rockford 7-4-7-18.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 1; Rockford 0 / 1.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Nagle 3-2-0 (18 shots-17 saves). Rockford, Tomkins 0-5-1 (32 shots-29 saves).
1. GR Nagle (W, 17 saves); 2. GR Lashoff (goal); 3. GR Criscuolo (game-winning goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 6-3-0-0 (12 pts.) / Sat., March 13 vs. Rockford 7 p.m.
Rockford: 3-8-1-0 (7 pts.) / Sat., March 13 at Grand Rapids 6 p.m. CST