Veteran forwards Matthew Ford and Givani Smith scored two goals apiece to pace Grand Rapids to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night at Allstate Arena.
“They had to travel all night and played last night,” said Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson. “We should have been the fresher team. They just outcompeted, outbattled, outworked us. They wanted it more.”
The Wolves took the initial lead with 1:56 left in a swiftly played first period. Lucas Elvenes led a 2-on-1 rush and dished to Leschyshyn flying down the left wing. Leschyshyn collected the pass and flicked it past Griffins goaltender Pat Nagle.
Chicago’s lead lasted just 32 seconds as Smith shoveled home a rebound with 1:24 left in the first to make it 1-1.
The Griffins took a 2-1 edge 2:59 into the second when Ford wound up and fired from the high slot. Forward Jarid Lukosevicius, standing just outside the crease, leaped to avoid the shot, but it pinged off his leg into the net.
Ford gave the Griffins a 3-1 advantage at 11:16 when he maneuvered into the high slot and fired a rising wrister that hit a Wolves defenseman in heavy traffic, dropped directly to the ice and trickled between goaltender Oscar Dansk’s wickets.
Ford and Smith delivered their second goals of the night during the first seven minutes of the third period, but Bischoff responded with a sparkling wraparound goal at 9:02 to cut the deficit to 5-2.
Nagle (6-5-1) posted 17 saves in the win while Dansk (18-8-2) stopped 23 shots.
The Wolves host the Cleveland Monsters at 3 p.m. for Little Debbie Sunday, which features a free GameWorks gift card for the first 1,000 kids and postgame autographs for everyone.