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Griffins Grab 3-1 Lead in Central Division Finals

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Mitch Callahan posted three goals to power the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 6-3 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Game 4 on Monday night at Van Andel Arena in 2017 Calder Cup competition.

The loss puts the Wolves down 3-1 in the Central Division Finals as the club looks to extend the series in Game 5 on Saturday, May 13, at Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

Left wing Kenny Agostino led the Chicago offense with a pair of goals while rookie Tage Thompson netted the third Wolves marker. Chicago (4-5) twice pulled within a goal, but was unable to sustain enough pressure to overcome Grand Rapids (6-1).

“I thought we were engaged in the game for most for the game,” said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. “Obviously there are things that we’ve got to do better. I think our team knows when they’re down that they can come back.”

Grand Rapids broke out to a 1-0 lead at 15:05 of the first period. Chicago successfully weathered the first Grand Rapids power play of the game, but seconds after the advantage expired, Callahan put a shot behind Ville Husso (4-5) from inside the right circle.

At 2:17 of the second period, the Wolves got caught in their own zone and a defensive turnover — that went right to Kyle Criscuolo in the left circle — resulted in Grand Rapids’s second goal.

The Wolves recovered quickly as Husso saucered a pass to Samuel Blais to set up an odd-man rush. Agostino carried the puck up the right wing and dished to Blais on the left wing, who fed it back to Agostino for a one-timer that sailed over Jared Coreau’s shoulder and in.

Four minutes later, Andrew Agozzino slipped the puck to Agostino on the left wing, and Agostino got in behind the Griffins defense for the 2-2 equalizing tally at 8:30 of the middle session.

Grand Rapids quickly regained the lead less than two minutes later when Martin Frk sped up the left wing and snuck a shot between Husso and the near post to make it 3-2.

With two seconds on the clock in the second period, Robbie Russo wired a shot from the right point that Callahan tipped for the Griffins fourth score.

Chicago climbed back within a goal at 2:42 of the third frame when Chris Butler rifled a point shot that led to a net-front scrum. Thompson corralled the puck and his 6-foot-5 frame floated across the top of the crease and popped a chance over Coreau (6-1).

The Griffins took another two-goal lead at 8:52 when Matt Lorito chipped the puck over Husso sprawled across the crease.

Callahan completed his hat trick, and gave the Griffins the 6-3 lead, with an empty-net, power-play goal at 19:10 of the final frame with Husso on the bench for an extra attacker.

Husso stopped 31 shots in the loss while Coreau turned aside 24.

The series returns to Allstate Arena in Rosemont for Game 5 on Saturday (May 13). Puck drop is set for 7 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on The U Too in the Chicago area. For ticket information or updates about the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs, visit ChicagoWolves.com.