GRAND RAPIDS, Mich – The Iowa Wild defeated the Grand Rapid Griffins at their fourth meeting this season before a crowd of 7,285 at Van Andel Arena Friday night. With 4:12 remaining in the third, Jake Dowel scored off a rebound to break the 2-2 tie, knocking off the league-leading Griffins for the first time this season.
Despite tying a season-high 43 shots on goal, two scores were not enough to win this game by the Griffins. Iowa had 26 shots on goal.
Grand Rapids made an early breakaway into the first period, scoring just 50 seconds into the game. Wild Goaltender Johan Gustaffson made the initial save snapped at the Iowa blueline by Teemu Pulkkinen but the rebound popped into the air. Griffins forward Cory Emmerton swatted the puck into the net for the goal.
Iowa responded with a rebound goal by Raphael Bussieres at 6:53, in the first period. Defenseman Brian Connelly fired a shot from the blueline, McCollum making the save but Brussieres grabbed the rebound and his third goal of the year to tie the game, 1-1.
“I think we can quickly dismiss this one because it was completely my fault we lost,” he said. “The difference was their goalie played better than I did. He made four or five great saves and I gave up three terrible goals.”
Coach Jeff Blashill’s assessment was more muted.
“Yeah, it was one of those nights where I thought from the process standpoint I thought we were real good,” he said. “I like our energy, I like the way we competed, our attention to detail. We missed the net too many times, and then didn’t get enough seconds.”
Iowa forward Carson McMillan snagged the puck into the corner, snapping a wrist shot to the neat, banking his 6th goal of the season off the pads of McCollum, giving the Wild the lead at 9:30 in the second period.
The Griffins came back to tie the game at 7:57 of the third period. Tomsas Jurco worked the puck into the Wild zone, launching a shot at the net. Teemu Pulkkinnen grabbed the loose puck, scoring his 13th goal of the season, tying team member Tomas Jurco.
McCollum made the save fired from Mark Hagel but was not able to contain the rebound from Jake Dowell, his fourth goal of the year, pushing the Wild in front for the 3-2 win.
Notes: Griffins Coach Jeff Blashill will lead All-Star Team, Feb 11-12…..Wild Defenseman Brian Connelly picked up his 200th career AHL point……Griffins Tomas Jurco was named to Slovakian Olympic team