While the game was a defensive battle in the first period, the IceHogs could not keep up with the Griffins throughout the rest of the game. …

The Grand Rapids Griffins beat the Rockford IceHogs 1 – 0 last night in a defensive slugfest that was a lot closer than the score would indicate. IceHogs goalie Pheonix Copley turned away 30 of 31 shots, and despite the loss, Islanders captain Phillip Danault was happy with his teams effort. “This was a good game for us,” Danault said. “Grand Rapids has a good young team, and it was a good test for us to see where we’re at.”

The Rockford Icehogs (9-15-1-0) lost to the Grand Rapids Griffins (12-7-3-0) Wednesday night in a defensive game at Michigan State.

The first half began with what seemed like the beginning of a long night as Patrick Curry scored on his first shot of the game under Cale Morris. This happened in just two minutes and ended the Hogs’ activities.

A great response followed, however, with Cody Franson and Dylan McLaughlin using their talents. Both players played in the offensive zone for a while before McLaughlin scored the game-winner on Rockford’s second shot. But Grand Rapids responded just before the end of the third inning.

The game began with a foul on Isaac Phillips in the neutral zone, which led to a two-on-one for the Griffins, whose top scorer, Riley Barber, scored the decisive goal. Both clubs played more than perfect defense, and the period ended with eight shots from both teams. The final score was 6-2 in favor of the Griffins. It was the fewest number of shots of the season for the Hogs, who found their way into the game despite their lack of ability to penetrate the opponent’s defense.

Midway through the third period, both teams opened up the defense a bit, but couldn’t find the net. Rockford had several good chances to score via pucks from D.J. Boosdeker and Chris Wilkie, but Kevin Boyle held up for the Griffins. Morris did the same on the other side of the ice and stopped all five shots he saw. For 40 minutes the score remained 2-1 in favour of the hosts. The shots were also in Grand Rapids’ favor, 11-10.

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The Icehogs had a change between the posts in the third game. National coach Derek King chose Ivan Nalimov to play the final 20 minutes. Morris had no visible reason to come out, but he stayed on the bench throughout the last third. After the Hogs undid a Reese Johnson penalty in the second period, he was brought in on a partial breakout, but his shot didn’t hit the net.

Later, Mitchell Fossier received a foul on his own penetration for which a free throw was awarded. When he got close to Boyle, he braked and threw the ball in front of the Griffins’ net to make it 2-2.

Unfortunately for Rockford, the tie didn’t last long. Grand Rapids retook the lead when Gregor McLeod fired a puck past Nalimov from the middle and lit the lamp. The score could have been 3-2 when Grand Rapids was awarded a free throw, but Nalimov stopped the shot that would have made it two goals.

Despite the IceHogs’ attempts to tie the score, time ran out and the visitors had to concede their 15th goal of the season. The defeat of the season. The shot count was officially 22-21 in favor of Rockford, one of the lowest numbers of the year.

Rockford’s next game is Saturday night at 6 p.m. Central against those same Grand Rapids Griffins.

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