GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Brandon Pirri scored a short-side goal from the right circle 58 seconds into overtime on Saturday to give the Rockford IceHogs a wild 6-5 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins at Van Andel Arena.
The back-and-forth affair marked the sixth time in as many games this season that either Grand Rapids or its opponent fell behind by two or more goals before rallying to earn at least one point.
The Griffins (1-3-1-1) will try to earn their second consecutive road win on Sunday when they visit the Chicago Wolves at 5 p.m. EDT.
For the second straight night, the Griffins built a 2-0 lead in the opening minutes of the game. Francis Pare whipped the puck past Carter Hutton’s glove from the top of the left circle just 1:03 into the contest, while Gustav Nyquist split two defenders before sending a shot into the same corner of the net during a power play at the 2:57 mark.
The IceHogs (3-3-0-1) cut their deficit in half with 3:26 left in the period. Off a faceoff win in the Griffins’ zone, defenseman Shawn Lalonde sent a long shot on net that was tipped past Jordan Pearce by Ben Smith.
Grand Rapids made it a 3-1 game with an odd goal at 7:22 of the second. Brian Lashoff took a shot at the right point but didn’t make full contact with the puck, which slowly slid to the doorstep before being backhanded home by Trevor Parkes.
Rockford once again cut the Griffins’ lead to one at 16:39, with Marcus Kruger knocking a rebound past Pearce at the left post, before going ahead 4-3 early in the third by scoring two goals in just 38 seconds. Jimmy Hayes tallied on a breakaway at 5:02, then Kyle Beach ripped a shot over Pearce’s shoulder for the visitors’ third consecutive goal.
After calling a timeout, the Griffins quickly were awarded a power play, and they needed only seven seconds to knot the score at 4-4 as Brendan Smith connected from the slot at 6:05.
Thanks to a continued parade to the penalty box, Rockford went ahead 5-4 at 9:08 on a goal by Andrew Shaw, but Tomas Tatar answered with his own power play marker at 16:13 from the slot, as his backhanded shot trickled just inside the left post to force the extra session and earn a point for the Griffins.
Pearce made 23 saves in defeat while Hutton finished with 28 stops.
GAME NOTES: The Griffins’ ECHL affiliate, the Toledo Walleye, earned a 5-1 win at Trenton tonight, with Petr Mrazek making 33 saves and East Grand Rapids’ Luke Glendening scoring his first pro goal.
THREE STARS: 1. RFD Pirri (GWG, two assists); 2. GR Tatar (PPG, assist); 3. GR Nyquist (PPG)
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