The Rockford IceHogs (3-8-1-0) fell to the Grand Rapids Griffins (6-3-0-0) on Thursday night at BMO Harris Bank Center.
After coming off of a pair of wins against the Iowa Wild, Rockford hoped to extend their winning streak to three games, but the Griffins put a stop to that in a low-scoring affair. Some notable scratches prior to the game were Mikael Hakkarainen, John Quenneville, Gabriel Gagne, and Mitchell Fossier for the IceHogs. The goalie matchup featured veteran Pat Nagle for Grand Rapids and Matt Tomkins for the home squad.
Despite their hot start to the game, the IceHogs couldn’t find the back of the net, but neither could the Griffins. Both goalies were perfect to start. Grand Rapids would get the scoring started in the second period when Riley Barber netted his team-leading eighth goal of the season. Traffic in front of Tomkins aided in the Griffins’ forward in extending his point-per-game pace this year. On the other side, Rockford mustered just a handful of shots to give them a total of 11 after two periods of action.
Coming out of the intermission, Grand Rapids extended their lead when a Kyle Criscuolo shot found the back of the net to make it 2-0. Criscuolo’s fourth goal of the season was partially blocked, making it tough for Tomkins to record the save. Later in the period, Griffins captain Brian Lashoff took advantage of a bit of room he had and nudged home his first goal of the year, piling on the score to 3-0. Finally, the Hogs were able to answer when Michael Krutil sent a puck to the net from the point and DJ Busdekker cleaned up to make it 3-1. It was Busdekker’s third goal of the season, building on his impressive weekend.
Down a pair of goals with a little over two minutes to go, Rockford head coach Derek King pulled Tomkins for the extra attacker. Although the offense had some chances, Nagle and the Griffins defense stood tall and wound the clock to triple zeros to notch their sixth win of the season.
Both clubs will regroup and face off in another head-to-head matchup on Saturday, this time in Grand Rapids, Michigan.