[From the Griffins]
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Tyler Spezia and Turner Elson scored goals 1:02 apart late in the second period on Saturday to break open a 1-1 game and send the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves at the Triphahn Center Ice Arena.
The Griffins defeated the Central Division leaders for the second straight night and earned their first win in the Chicago suburbs in their fifth and final visit of the season. With the victory, Grand Rapids remains alive in the race for the division title entering the season’s final week.
Patrick Curry struck first for the Griffins 5:26 into the opening frame, banging Hayden Verbeek’s centering feed past Antoine Bibeau from the slot.
A flurry around the Grand Rapids net resulted in the tying tally by Tommy Novak at 5:44 of the second period, the only goal that Pat Nagle would allow among the 23 shots he faced tonight.
Spezia notched the game-winner with 2:33 left in the middle frame, as he got a step on his defender while entering the Chicago zone, took Chase Pearson’s pass from the left boards and slipped a shot behind Bibeau. Elson added insurance 62 seconds later, pouncing on the puck in the left circle after Dominic Turgeon’s faceoff win and quickly whipping it into the top of the net.
The Griffins finished off the Wolves by limiting them to five shots in the third period.
Grand Rapids’ final four games will be played in a span of five days, starting with a visit to Cleveland on Tuesday.
Grand Rapids 1 2 0 – 3
Chicago 0 1 0 – 1
1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Curry 4 (Verbeek, MacLeod), 5:26. Penalties-Curry Gr (tripping), 2:46; MacLeod Gr (tripping), 12:33; Healey Chi (interference), 15:25.
2nd Period-2, Chicago, Novak 6 (Tomasino, Richard), 5:44. 3, Grand Rapids, Spezia 5 (Pearson, McIlrath), 17:27. 4, Grand Rapids, Elson 4 (Turgeon), 18:29. Penalties-Dello Gr (closing hand on puck), 13:11.
3rd Period- No Scoring.Penalties-Verbeek Gr (high-sticking), 15:13; Rees Chi (boarding), 17:47.
Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 19-7-3-29. Chicago 10-8-5-23.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 0 / 2; Chicago 0 / 4.
Goalies-Grand Rapids, Nagle 6-5-0 (23 shots-22 saves). Chicago, Bibeau 4-2-1 (29 shots-26 saves).
1. GR Spezia (game-winning goal); 2. GR Curry (goal); 3. CHI Novak (goal)
Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 14-10-3-1 (32 pts.) / Tue., May 11 at Cleveland 7 p.m.
Chicago: 18-8-1-2 (39 pts.) / Mon., May 10 vs. Rockford 2 p.m. CDT