AHL Preview: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Chicago Wolves
After a thrilling 5-2 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers) Friday night, the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) travel to Illinois tonight to take on their Midwest Division rival, the Chicago Wolves (Vancouver Canucks). Last night’s win propelled the Griffins to a four point lead atop the division. The Wolves suffered a tough 4-3 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators) on Thursday and sit fourth in the division, eight points behind Grand Rapids.
The Griffins took down the Barons with a five-goal second period, with Riley Sheahan adding his eighth and ninth goals of the season. Sheahan continues to be one of the Griffins best performers in the last week, and now centers the top line while Joakim Andersson is out with an injury. Landon Ferraro continued his hot play with a shorthanded goal (11th goal of the season; leads league with five SHP) and Tomas Tatar had two assists in his 300th professional contest. Rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek improved to 12-3 on the season with Friday’s win, but with three games in three nights this weekend, the start against Chicago likely goes to Tom McCollum.
The Wolves got goals Thursday from Jordan Schroeder (ninth of the season) and Darren Haydar (fifth of the season). Matt Climie took the loss in net, as Eddie Lack continues to miss time due to injury.
The Griffins scored in all situations Friday, showcasing a solid penalty kill and a potent power play. Tonight’s game will go a long way towards showing if they will stay at the top of the division and keep momentum after Friday’s emotionally-charged win.