Kevin Lankinen made 29 saves, and the Rockford IceHogs scored three unanswered goals to defeat the Grand Rapid Griffins 3-1 on Saturday at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
Lankinen won his first game after losing his previous two starts. He’s now 5-2-1 with a 2.50 goals-against average and .910 save percentage this season as he’s taken over as Rockford’s No. 1 starter.
Rookie MacKenzie Entwistle recorded his second multipoint game of the season with an empty-net goal and an assist for Rockford (11-8-0-1), which has won back-to-back games and three of its last four. Tim Soderlund scored his first career AHL goal, and Joni Tuulola tallied his first goal of the season.
Brian Lashoff scored the lone goal for the Griffins (9-12-1-1), who has lost five straight. Pat Nagle stopped 26 of 28 shots in his first AHL start this season.
Lashoff put Grand Rapids up 1-0 at 6:17 of the first period with a shot from the right face-off circle that trickled through the pads of a screened Lankinen.
Soderlund tied it 1-1 at 17:38 of the second period. Lucas Carlsson sent a shot from the left point that bounced off the boards behind the net to the right circle for Soderlund to fire past Nagle’s blocker.
Philipp Kurashev sent a pass from the blue line to the left circle for Tuulola to tap it in for a 3-1 lead at 8:49 of the third period. Entwistle then added an empty-net goal with 2 minutes remaining for the final score.
Rockford 0-for-5 on the power play, including a 68-second 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period when they managed only three shots. It’s the second straight game the IceHogs have come up empty on the man advantage after going 0-for-4 in their 4-2 win over the Chicago Wolves (Golden Knights) on Friday.
The IceHogs, however, were 4-on-4 on the penalty kill and have gone 7-for-8 in their past two games.
The IceHogs close out a three-game homestand against the Manitoba Moose (Jets) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Rockford.