Tyler Bertuzzi‘s second goal of the game came just 13 seconds into overtime and lifted Grand Rapids to a 2-1 victory over Rockford and a 3-1 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series.
The Griffins go for the clincher in Game 5 on Sunday afternoon in Rockford.
Rockford controlled the draw to open overtime and sent the puck into the Griffins’ zone. Goaltender Tom McCollum steered it over to defenseman Alexey Marchenko, whose outlet was touched ahead by Mark Zengerle up to Andy Miele. Miele’s long shot from the left wing was stopped by Michael Leighton, but Bertuzzi beat his man to the rebound and buried it to give the Griffins their first road win of the 2015 postseason.
Bertuzzi, Detroit’s second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, now has 5-3-8 in seven playoff games for the Griffins.
Grand Rapids got on the board first when Bertuzzi got a piece of Mark Zengerle‘s shot from the left point, deflecting it past Leighton.
Rockford tied it at 9:01 of the second period, as Mark McNeill feathered a pass to Phillip Danault and Danault hit the top corner short-side past McCollum for his first goal of the series and third of the playoffs.
A scoreless third period saw both teams denied great chances to take the lead. Shots were 15-9 in favor of the Griffins over the final 20 minutes.
McCollum (6-2) made 27 saves on the night for Grand Rapids, while Leighton (4-3) stopped 29 of 31 shots for Rockford.
Western Conference Semifinals – Series “L” (best-of-7)
2-Grand Rapids Griffins vs. 4-Rockford IceHogs
Game 1 – Wed., May 6 – GRAND RAPIDS 5, Rockford 3
Game 2 – Fri., May 8 – GRAND RAPIDS 5, Rockford 1
Game 3 – Wed., May 13 – ROCKFORD 4, Grand Rapids 1
Game 4 – Thu., May 14 – Grand Rapids 2, ROCKFORD 1 (OT)
Game 5 – Sun., May 17 – Grand Rapids at Rockford, 5:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 19 – Rockford at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 20 – Rockford at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern