GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Iowa Wild (10-19-1-1, 22 points) were defeated by the Grand Rapids Griffins (15-11-3-0, 33 points) 9-2 in front of 10,834 fans on Saturday at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins scored three times in the first period and five times in the second period to put Iowa away. Six different Griffins picked up a multi-point game in the victory. Teemu Pulkkinen led the charge with one goal and four points. Grand Rapids goalie Tom McCollum (6-8-3) made 26 saves for the win. Iowa goalie Johan Gustafsson (5-12-1) finished with 18 saves on 27 shots, taking the defeat in two periods of action. Wild goalie David DeSander made his AHL debut with four saves in the third period. Forwards Jordan Schroeder and Tyler Graovac scored in the Iowa road loss. Iowa returns home for a Monday game with Milwaukee at 7 p.m.
The Griffins jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Andy Miele tallied merely 14 seconds into the game. Teemu Pulkkinen and Mitch Callahan each picked up an assist on the play. Miele tipped a bouncing puck past Johan Gustafsson for his 10th goal of the season. Iowa countered at 3:20 of the first period, as Marc Hagel set up Tyler Graovac. The Wild’s leading scorer potted a wrist shot over the shoulder of Tom McCollum for the 1-1 tie. Rookie Zack Mitchell added an assist on Graovac’s 12th goal of the year. Grand Rapids pushed ahead 2-1 at 6:45 as Landon Ferraro finished off a play on a backdoor score. Ferraro’s 10th goal of the season was set up by Anthony Mantha and Tomas Nozek. The Griffins struck for the third time late in the first, as Pulkkinen tallied at 19:17. His team-leading 16th of the season was assisted by Ryan Sproul and Brennan Evans for the 3-1 lead.
The Griffins continued scoring at 2:35 of the second period when Callahan knocked in his 10th goal of the year from Pulkkinen and defenseman Nathan Paetsch for the 4-1 lead. At 4:42, Grand Rapids made it a 5-1 game, as Tomas Nozek beat Gustafsson for his second goal of the year. Forward Marek Tvrdon and Alexey Marchento each had an assist on the play. Tvrdon scored at 6:04 to make it 6-1, as Kris Porter and Mark Zengerie picked up helpers on the tally. Paetsch scored his third goal of the year at 11:59, expanding his team’s lead to 7-1. Pulkkinen and Miele each had the assists as the team opened up a six-goal lead. Grand Rapids closed out the second period scoring at 17:00 as Nozek netted his second goal of the night for an 8-1 advantage.
Iowa started the third period with goalie Dave DeSander in net in relief of Gustafsson. Grand Rapids scored 5:53 into the third period, as Colin Campbell tipped a shot past DeSander. Captain Jeff Hoggan added an assist on the goal that made it 9-1. Iowa trimmed the deficit to seven at 19:14, as Jordan Schroeder scored his seventh goal of the season. Michael Keranen played the puck cross-ice to Schroeder, who beat McCollum with a one-timer for the 9-2 final score.
Iowa returns home on Monday, Dec. 29th at 7 p.m. to host Milwaukee. The team is partnering with LifeServe Blood Center for a blood drive, which runs from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Dec. 29. For donating, all fans will be rewarded with one ticket to a future Iowa Wild hockey game and an Iowa Wild hat. The first 50 fans that make a donation will be given an Iowa Wild hat, autographed by one of the players. For the game, fans may purchase the Subway Combo Pack, which starts at $12 per person and includes a ticket, hot dog, soda and a subway coupon.
The Iowa Wild 2014-15 season is presented by Mercy Medical Center, it runs from October through April. Fans may purchase seats to see any of the team’s 38 regular season home games at Wells Fargo Arena. Season tickets to see the Wild play at Wells Fargo Arena start at just $9 per game. For more information on tickets, including ticket plans and group seating, please contact the Wild ticket office by calling 515-564-8700 or go to www.iowawild.com.