GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – Iowa Wild (26-17-7-3; 62 points) dropped its first contest of the six-game road trip 2-1 to Grand Rapids Griffins (29-19-1-6; 65 points) Saturday night at Van Andel Arena. The loss snapped the Wild’s eight-game point streak against the Griffins.
Grand Rapids earned the win thanks to two power-play goals in the second period. After a scoreless first period, the Griffins got on the board first at12:06 in the middle frame. Grand Rapids defenseman Vili Saarijarvi ripped a shot on net, which deflected off the body of forward Matthew Ford. Ford’s deflection bounced past Wild goaltender Niklas Svedberg (31 saves) and gave the Griffins a 1-0 lead.
The Griffins doubled its lead when forward Matt Lorito lofted home a shot after a scramble in front of Svedberg. An initial shot by forward Eric Tangradi was blocked by an Iowa defenseman and with bodies sprawled in front of the net, Lorito flipped the puck top shelf to take a 2-0 lead at 16:32 in the second stanza.
Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum (22 saves) looked destined for his first shutout of the season until Wild forward Kurtis Gabriel rifled a shot past him at 19:57 in the third period. With Svedberg pulled, Gabriel and forward Ryan White entered the attacking zone on a 2-on-1. White fed Gabriel a pass, who one-timed the shot off McCollum’s blocker and into the back of the net. It was Gabriel’s second goal of the season and White’s second helper in as many games. Defenseman Ryan Murphy earned his 20th assist of the season on the play as well.
The loss dropped Iowa into fourth place in the Central Division, while Grand Rapids climbed into second.
Iowa hits the ice Sunday for the second game of the back-to-back series with Grand Rapids. Puck drop against the Griffins is at 3:00 p.m. CT.
The Iowa Wild 2017-18 season is presented by Mercy Medical Center and runs from October through April. For more information, please contact the Wild office by calling 515-564-8700 or by visiting www.iowawild.com.