The Chicago Wolves opened a four-game road trip by falling to the Grand Rapids Griffins 6-3 on Wednesday night in Michigan.
Max Lajoie, Malte Stromwall and Jamieson Rees scored for the Wolves but it wasn’t enough as the defending Calder Cup champions’ losing skid reached three games.
Danny O’Regan, Pontus Andreasson and Chase Pearson each had a goal and an assist for Grand Rapids, which scored six times in the third period to leapfrog the Wolves for sixth place in the Central Division.
The Wolves wasted little time in grabbing a 1-0 lead. With just 35 seconds elapsed in the opening period, Lajoie struck when the captain took a terrific between-the-legs pass from Mackenzie MacEachern, closed in on Griffins goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic and buried a shot for his ninth goal of the season. In addition to MacEachern, Stromwall was credited with an assist.
Later in the first, Stromwall wheeled around a Grand Rapids defender and beat Nedeljkovic top shelf, blocker side from the right dot for his 15th goal of the season. MacEachern and William Lagesson earned assists on the score that gave the Wolves a 2-0 advantage.
After a scoreless second, the Griffins pulled even in the third on goals by O’Regan and Pearson but the Wolves roared right back.
Just :31 seconds after Grand Rapids tied it at 2-2, Rees deked his way through the Griffins defense and fired a forehand shot past Nedeljkoic to the stick side to put the Wolves back in front. Ryan Suzuki and Ronan Seeley each had assists on Rees’ 13th goal of the season.
Grand Rapids then answered with goals by Andreasson and Taro Hirose just :19 apart to seize a 4-3 lead.
Riley Sawchuk and Joel L’Esperance each scored in the closing moments to seal the deal for Grand Rapids.
Zachary Sawchenko (20 saves) suffered the loss in goal for the Wolves while Nedeljkovic (24 saves) earned the win for the Griffins.
The Wolves dropped to 26-28-3-3 on the season and Grand Rapids improved to 26-29-4-3.
Up next: The Wolves travel to Texas to face the Stars on Saturday (7 p.m.; AHLTV).
For information on Wolves ticket plans for the 2022-23 season — everything from single-game tickets to Flex Packs to group outings — visit ChicagoWolves.com or call 1-800-THE-WOLVES.