LATE SURGE NOT ENOUGH AS HOGS FALL TO GRIFFINS

By: Mike Peck
Photo by Mark Newman
Cullimore tallies twice and adds an assist in loss

Grand Rapids, Mich.- Bump up shifts after goals plagued the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday afternoon as the IceHogs fell 5-3 to the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena.

Twice Grand Rapids responded to goals, one of their own and one of Rockford’s, with a marker on the next shift. The loss for Rockford ended a season-high five-game road point streak (3-0-1-1).

Grand Rapids scored a pair of goals just nine-seconds apart midway through the second period to grab a 2-0 lead. After the IceHogs failed to clear the puck out of their own zone, Jamie Johnson would put the first marker of the game in. Doug Janik held in a clear out attempt and the rebound from his point shot found Johnson on the doorstep and the winger knocked in his tenth goal of the season at 9:59.

Off the ensuing faceoff, Grand Rapids struck again. Joakim Anderson finished off a Griffins rush and buried his fifth goal of the season past Alec Richards at 10:08 of the middle frame.

Jassen Cullimore briefly pulled Rockford back into the game with his first goal of the season at 9:59 of the third period. The veteran d-man picked up a Brandon Pirri pass and blasted the marker past Jordan Pearce.

But Grand Rapids struck 18-seconds later to reclaim their two-goal lead. Ilari Filppula picked up a loose puck behind the Rockford goal and fed Tomas Tatar for his for his 22nd goal of the campaign.  That same combo hooked up again at 16:05 on the power play and Tatar made it a 4-1 game.

Grand Rapids seemed to score a rather meaningless goal at 18:38 of the third when Jan Mursak hammered in his 13th goal of the season to make it 5-1, but Rockford responded with two goals in less than a minute.

Kyle Hagel notched his fifth goal of the year when he redirected a Brian Connelly point shot over the shoulder of Pearce at 19:02. Cullimore, who assisted on the Hagel marker, came right back and blasted his second goal of the game through traffic and Pearce at 19:30 making it 5-3, set up by Connelly and Mathis Olimb.

Rockford did outshoot Grand Rapids 34-28, but Pearce made 31 saves to earn the win. Richards was tagged with the loss after blocking 23 Griffins shots.

Next Home Game: Wednesday, March, 23 vs. San Antonio. Puck drop is at 6:35 p.m. Wednesday is the final time fans can take advantage of Taco Bell Dollar Days as fans can enjoy dollar Vienna Beef hot dogs, Pepsi products, Bud Select drafts and companion tickets.




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