By Sam Griffin, Barrington High School
Tuesday night’s game between the Chicago Wolves and the Grand Rapids Griffins ended 2-1 in overtime, a defensive battle between two offensively streaking teams.
An early goal from one of the American Hockey League’s leading scorers Teemu Pulkkinen gave the Griffins a one-goal lead from three minutes into the first period onwards until the Wolves tied it up on the power play with five minutes remaining in the third. A tip from Jeremy Welsh on a shot by Jake Chelios beat Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum, who made 20 saves in the victory.
The goal re-energized the Wolves, who, despite being dominated both on the ice and statistically, kept the score close, largely in part due to the play of goaltender Matt Climie, who made 29 saves. Initially, the fast pace and stretch passes the Griffins made caused issues for the Wolves defensemen but as the game went on head coach John Anderson made adjustments.
“As the game went on, we switched to a more aggressive role for our defensemen in the neutral zone, which was actually safer because it eliminated the other team’s time and space and cut down rushes for them.” said Anderson. The night ended on a 4-on-2 odd-man break from the Griffins, who found defenseman Ryan Sproul for a tap-in goal to earn the victory.
The 2-1 defeat dropped the Wolves to 17-12-4-0 on the season and brought Grand Rapids to 16-11-3-0.