Right wing Martin Frk nabbed a goal and an assist while goaltender Jared Coreau made 26 saves to help the Grand Rapids Griffins overcome the Chicago Wolves 4-1 in Game 1 of the Central Division Finals Wednesday night at Allstate Arena. The Griffins now own a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Left wing Kenny Agostino netted his third goal of the postseason to push his scoring streak to four games with 6 points (3G, 3A), and rookie netminder Ville Husso (2-2-1) turned aside 30 shots in the loss.
"We got off on the wrong foot right away and before you know it, we're down 2-0," said Wolves head coach Craig Berube. "I thought we stayed in it for a while, but at the end of the second period they took over a little bit -- had us hemmed in a little bit too much. In the third period, we just didn't execute with the puck."
The Griffins (1-0) opened scoring just 40 seconds into the first frame when Frk -- making his postseason debut after missing six games -- sped up the left wing and lasered a shot past Husso on the glove side.
During their first power play of the game, the Griffins cashed in 1:02 into the man advantage when Matthew Ford, standing in front of the net, redirected a Frk point shot at 8:07 of the period.
Chicago (0-1) cut Grand Rapids' lead in half at 9:25 when Petteri Lindbohm shoveled a pass around the left-side offensive boards to Ty Rattie behind the Griffins net. Rattie feathered a pass into the slot directly to Agostino, who backhanded the puck behind Coreau (4-0) for his second goal in as many games.
After a scoreless second period, and 3:48 into the third session, the Griffins extended their lead to 3-1 when Tomas Nosek skated in on the left wing, stopped behind the net and peeled back around to the front of the net for a backhand tally.
The Wolves removed Husso with three minutes left in favor of an extra skater, but Ben Street delivered an empty-net marker at 18:09 for Grand Rapids' final goal of the contest.
The Wolves will look to even the series in Game 2 of the Central Division Finals at 7 p.m., Friday at Allstate Arena