The Grand Rapids Griffins scored the final four goals to pick up a 6-2 win over the Chicago Wolves in Game 3 of the Central Division Semifinals on Tuesday night at Van Andel Arena.
Forwards T.J. Tynan and Tye McGinn scored for Chicago (1-2) while goaltender Max Lagace (1-1) stopped 19 shots in a contest marred by 144 penalty minutes and injuries to multiple Wolves players.
“I thought we were playing really well and we were controlling the game,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “They were taking really dangerous hits on our players – and they got called for the first one. Then it was just one thing after another. It doesn’t add up to me.
“From the game’s perspective, our guys played hard and they played good. Obviously you get frustrated (when teammates keep getting hurt).”
Filip Zadina and Wade Megan each scored twice for Grand Rapids (2-1) and Martin Frk and Matt Puempel each added goals. Netminder Harri Sateri (2-1) recorded 35 saves to give the Griffins a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
Grand Rapids defenseman Dylan McIlrath set the tone 9:30 into the night when he decked Wolves forward Tyler Wong with a check to the head that knocked him out of the game, but earned McIlrath a match penalty.
Tynan made the Griffins pay for McIlrath’s illegal play. He notched the first goal of the night at the 12:31 point of the first period, sending in a shot from the right side after a textbook passing play with Tomas Hyka and Zach Whitecloud during the man advantage.
Zadina tied the game at 19:28, just after a Wolves penalty kill had expired before Frk picked up the scoring at the 2:24 point of the second period to give Grand Rapids a 2-1 lead.
McGinn evened things up at the 5:56 mark, slamming home a Hyka pass from the back boards for his second goal of the series.
Megan tallied a pair of goals at the midpoint of the second frame before Zadina added another goal to give the Griffins a 5-2 lead at the second intermission.
The teams resumed play after an hour-long break for ice maintenance, but the Wolves were unable to use the break to swing the momentum in their direction. Puempel put away the game at the 15:02 mark with his goal that sealed the 6-2 win.
The teams combined for two fights, six misconduct penalties and 128 penalty minutes during the final 30 minutes.
Chicago and Grand Rapids meet for Game 4 at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Van Andel Arena. If the Wolves win, then Allstate Arena will be the site for the winner-take-all Game 5 at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28.