The Grand Rapids Griffins acted as if they were inspired by the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving as they scored five unanswered goals during the third period, rallied back from a 3-0 deficit and stunned the Cleveland Monsters 5-3 on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
After a scoreless first period, the Monsters’ Brett Gallant knocked in a rebound off his own pass to Alan Pushalaj, who was denied by Griffins goalie Eddie Pasquale, who received his first home start of the 2016-17 campaign. At the 14:42 mark, Oliver Bjorkstrand put in a tough angled shot of Pasquale’s stick for a 2-0 lead. Not long thereafter, Bjorkstrand sent a backhanded shot past Pasquale at 17:24 for his second goal and a 3-0 lead that looked insurmountable.
Teddy bears finally got their chance to fly like Griffins in the third period after a wait of 43:08 of ice time and two intermissions. Brian Lashoff scored at 3:08 of the third, sending a cascade of stuffed animals on to the ice for the Griffins’ 17th annual Teddy Bear Toss for Hug-A-Bears of Kent County. Less than two minutes later, Martin Frk tipped in a Dan Renouf shot to inch the Griffins closer at 3-2. Kyle Criscuolo tied the game with a power-play goal at 10:28 and put the Griffin’s fans back on the edge of their seat.
Five seconds into another power-play, this one for roughing by former Griffin Sheldon Brookbank, Tomas Nosek won a draw in the zone, followed Ben Street’s shot to the net and lit the lamp for the game-winner. Mitch Callahan added an empty net tally at 19:02 to send the 8,901 fans in attendance out with a bonus goal.
The Griffins (10-6-0-0), who are now 3-0 against the reigning Calder Cup champion Monsters (6-9-1-1) this season, tied their home record for goals in a period by scoring all five in the final 20 minutes and were one shy of their record for shots in a period, putting 23 on goal. The teams have a “Quicken Loans Arena” turnaround as they’ll meet in Cleveland on Saturday night in the second game of their home-and-home series.
- GR Nosek (game-winning goal)
- CLE Bjorkstrand (two goals)
- GR Criscuolo (power play goal, assist)
The 3-Point Turn:
- The Griffins finished 2-for-7 on the power play and are now 12 of 40 (30%) during their seven-game power-play goal-scoring streak.
- GR last scored five goals in a home period (2nd) on Dec. 27, 2014 versus Iowa.
- Pasquale’s last time on the Van Andel ice was on Nov. 6, 2010. He stopped 28 of 31 shots for the Chicago Wolves in a 4-2 loss to the Griffins.