Griffins forward Michael Hackert scored what proved to be the game-winner late in the third period. Linemate Ryan Keller snapped a pass through the high slot that bounced off a Wolves defender's leg and onto Hackert's tape. He quickly rifled a shot past Chicago netminder Gregg Naumenko at 14:34 of the third stanza to give Grand Rapids a 3-1 lead.
The Wolves, who were held off the scoreboard until the last seven minutes of the contest, received goals from Kevin Doell and Stephen Baby, both of whom were on last season's Western Conference Championship squad.
Chicago (1-2-0-0) earned points in seven of its 10 regular-season matchups against the Griffins last year (5-3-2-0).
Grand Rapids (2-0-0-0) will be in a different division than the Wolves this season for the first time since the two teams joined the AHL prior to the 2001-02 season.
After a scoreless first period. Griffins center Patrick Jarrett punched in two power-play goals within 56 seconds of each other midway through the second period to give Grand Rapids a 2-0 advantage. First, with the Griffins on a two-man power play, Jarrett collected a rebound in front of the net off a shot by defenseman Jon Insana and tucked a shot past Naumenko.
Naumenko (0-1-0) recorded 15 saves on 18 shots after replacing starting goaltender Michael Garnett at 30:12. Garnett turned aside all 17 shots he faced.
Then, Jarrett was the benefactor of a crisp pass from defenseman Bryan Helmer in the high slot before depositing a wrist shot over Naumenko's shoulder at 14:34.
Midway through the third period, Doell cut the lead in half, 2-1, with a power-play goal of his own. He redirected left wing Colin Stuart's shot past Griffins goaltender Drew MacIntyre at 13:18 of the final frame.
MacIntyre (1-0) posted 13 saves on 15 shots after replacing Logan Koopmans at 30:12. Koopmans recorded saves on all 18 shots he faced.
Baby notched Chicago's other goal with just over three minutes left in the game. He collected a loose puck in the slot and ripped a shot that ricocheted off MacIntyre's shoulder and dropped over the goal line at 16:31.
Next, the Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals hook up for a preseason tilt at the Kern Center on the campus of the Milwaukee School of Engineering on Sat., Oct. 1, at 7 p.m.
Grand Rapids 0 2 1 – 3
Chicago 0 0 2 – 2
First Period—None. Penalties—Hackert, Grand Rapids (hooking), 0:54; Tkaczuk, Grand Rapids (holding), 5:39; Manson, Chicago (hooking), 9:02; Wrigley, Grand Rapids (tripping), 12:31; N. Naumenko, Chicago (slashing), 16:53; Sharrow, Chicago (interference), 19:06.
Second Period—1, Grand Rapids, Jarrett (Insana, DiCasmirro), 13:38 pp; 2, Grand Rapids, Jarrett (Helmer), 14:34 pp. Penalties—Desbeins, Chicago (interference), 3:43; Jarrett, Grand Rapids (slashing), 4:25; Kopecky, Grand Rapids (tripping), 4:32; Baby, Chicago (interference), 6:30; Milam, Chicago (holding), 12:37; N. Naumenko, Chicago (interference), 13:31.
Third Period—3, Chicago, Doell (Stuart, Milam), 14:34; 4, Grand Rapids, Hackert (Keller, Manlow), 14:34; 5, Chicago, Baby (N. Naumenko, Kelman), 16:31. Penalties—Manson, Chicago (interference), 1:23; Smyth, Chicago (holding), 4:35; Barber, Chicago (hooking), 6:57; Kopecky, Grand Rapids (slashing), 12:27; Amadio, Grand Rapids (high-sticking), 18:51.
Shots on goal—Grand Rapids: 11-14-10–35. Chicago: 13-6-14-33.
Power plays—Grand Rapids: 2-10. Chicago: 1-7.
Goalies–Grand Rapids, Koopmans (18-18) replaced by Drew MacIntyre (13-15) at 30:12. Chicago, Garnett (17-17) replaced by G. Naumenko (15-18) at 30:12.
Linesmen—Peter Cichy and Scott Bokal