Rockford, IL – Goaltender Matt Tomkins provided 29 key saves for the Rockford IceHogs (3-8-1-0), but the offense was met by a stingy Grand Rapids Griffins (6-3-0-0) defense in a 3-1 loss at BMO Harris Bank Center Thursday night.
The IceHogs and Griffins battled to a scoreless first period with both goaltenders making big saves. Tomkins (L, 29 saves on 32 shots) made 10 saves including a quick sequence midway through the frame. Grand Rapids’ Pat Nagel answered the challenge with seven stops.
Griffins forward Riley Barber broke the scoreless tie 2:04 into the second frame with his eighth goal of the season and extending his personal point streak to nine contests. Tomkins reset and collected 11 saves in the middle period.
Forward Kyle Criscuolo extended the Griffins’ lead 6:04 into the third period with his fourth goal of the season and was quickly followed up with team captain Brian Lashoff’s opening marker of the year at 9:09 to make it 3-0. Late in the period, the IceHogs pushed back and D.J. Busdeker caught a deflection for his third goal of the season and second tally in as many games at 16:19 from Michael Krutil and Riley McKay to pull the contest back within two markers. With Tomkins pulled for the extra attacker, the IceHogs could not crack the Griffins defense to push for the comeback.
Both teams finished the game 0-1 on the power play.
The Rockford IceHogs travel to Grand Rapids, MI for their next two contests to battle the Griffins on Saturday, Mar. 13 at 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday, Mar. 16 at 6:00 p.m. at Van Andel Arena to complete their three-game miniseries. Fans can watch all of this season’s action LIVE on AHLTV and 23.2 Antenna TV WIFR (home games)! Tune in to every broadcast for free on SportsFanRadio 1330 AM, Sportsfanradio1330.com, IceHogs.com, and the IceHogs app!
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