Griffins 4-2 Win Overshadowed by Frightening Medical Crisis|
Alden Hirschfeld collapses and suffers seizure on bench...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 8th 2016
Most nights, beating the 1st place Milwaukee Admirals with a patchwork lineup with as many as 7 regulars out with injury would be the headline. But an incident thirteen minutes into the second period shifted the focus from the boxscore to the welfare of one of the players. Forward Alden Hirschfeld, recently recalled from the Toledo Walleye, slumped over on the bench and suffered a seizure requiring a stoppage of the game and a long delay while medical personnel worked to stabilize him. He was taken to a local hospital and was reported to be in stable condition. The game resumed after an intermission with the last six minutes of the second tacked on to the beginning of the third period. Grand Rapids got a pair of goals from Nathan Paetsch (3,4) and singles from Nosek (3) and Frk (11). Jared Coreau had another outstanding outing between the pipes stopping 31 of 33 shots including some acrobatic saves in the third.
The Griffins got off to a good start, taking the lead early in the first with a goal just 2:33 in. Nosek in the slot took a pass from Hoggan and flicked a shot in under Mazanec's arm, stick side to open the scoring with his 3rd of the season. Mantha got behind the defense for a great chance, but ended up firing it over the net. Nedomlel with a huge hit in the corner on his first shift. Payerl chased him down and dropped the gloves, but got a thorough pummeling from the Griffins hulking defenseman before being sent to the ice with a left to the head. Martin Frk made it 2-0 on the powerplay, firing an absolute laser of a shot from between the circles that was in and out of the net before anyone even reacted. Mantha brought the crowd to its feet with a series of sick moves to work his way to the net with puck through several Admirals players before running out of room and ringing a shot off Mazanec's leg pad. Adberg got Milwaukee on the baord late in the period when he fired a screened shot through traffic that found its way into the net behind Coreau, low stick-side. The Griffins dominated the first period, carrying play for large stretches and playing most of the period in the Admirals' zone. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Mil 9.
Bass instigated a fight with Nedomlel in the corner. Nedomlel didn't take that bait at first and then Bass punched him in the face with a gloved hand. Then Devane flew in and hit Nedomlel from behind. Nedomel took a few shots from bass but got the better of the Milwaukee center, hitting him several times in a row in the face in a truly heavyweight bout that went on for quite some time. Nedomlel got the gate for his second fight of the game, leaving GR with 5 defensemen for the rest of the night. Paetsch scored a fluky goal as he batted at a Nastasiuk shot in front that flipped up in the air and found its way in over Mazanec. A couple of minutes later, Paetsch scored another goal firing a long shot from the line that got through traffic and beat Mazanec low. Frk last man back, made a bad decision firing the puck into a Milwaukee defender and then taking a penalty as he chased the puck carrier back into the Griffins end. Nosek and Aubry dangerous chances shorthanded, buzzing the net. Coreau came out into traffic to clear the puck down the ice himself to relieve the pressure.
It was at this point that the game took a turn for the worse when Griffins forward Alden Hirschfeld slumped over on the bench and began to have a seizure. Griffins trainer and medical staff rushed to his aid and it was very tense for 10-15 minutes as he lay on the floor behind the bench being attended to, at one point turning purple. They eventually got him stabilized and took him out on the gurney straight to the hospital for more testing. They announced they would be tacking on the remaining six minutes and change to the third period and started the intermission. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Mil 9.
Czarnowczan with a nice heads up play leading a rush up ice. He made a nice move to beat a defender and surprised Mazanec with a bad angle shot. Huge sprawling save by Coreau to keep the three goal lead intact. Milwaukee very ill-tempered, scrumming and trying to push the physical agenda late in the third. Bertuzzi with a head fake and a nice chance on Mazanec using the defender as a screen. Cody Bass got around Nastasiuk and batted a bouncing puck past Coreau far side along the ice to cut the lead to two. Nosek with speed for a good chance that Mazanec had to juggle to stop. Milwaukee pulled their netminder for an extra attacker with several minute remaining to try and close the gap. Zengerle missed in front on an open net. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Mil 15. For the Game: GR 28 - Mil 33.
Bertuzzi - Miele - Frk
Tangradi - Zengerle - Mantha
Hoggan - Nosek- Campbell
Hirschfeld - Aubry - Nastasiuk
Lashoff - Sproul
Paetsch - Russo
#44 Richard Nedomlel - #2 Scott Czarnowczan
Backup: #36 Jake Patterson
#11 Cleary - Injury
#12 Athanasiou - Injury
#14 Jensen - Injury
#15 Callahan - Broken Jaw
#16 Ouellet - Injury
#23 Grant - Injury
#30 McCollum - Injury
Tangradi- Miele - Zengerle
Paetsch - Mantha
Frk - Nosek- Bertuzzi
Sproul - Russo
Miele - Nastasiuk
Paetsch - Lashoff
Nosek - Aubry
Russo - Nedomlel
The Hirschfeld incident was pretty freaky. From my vantage point behind the bench we could see a lot of what was going on and it was not necessarily apparent at first that it was just a seizure. The players were visibly upset as they milled around the bench area. When they finally loaded him up he did not look good and there was a somber atmosphere in the arena for the rest of the evening. We were very happy to receive reports that he was in stable condition and at the hospital. Prayers and well wishes for a speedy recover Alden.
As for the game, Grand Rapids beat up on Milwaukee and posted their 4th win in five games against the division leaders.
We were worried a bit beforehand about missing Ouellet and Jensen both for this contest, but Scott Czarnowczan played a great game and really looked like a regular, to the point where we didn't look like we were playing short. Nedomlel in his half a game also looked better than I ever remember him looking in the past. Nedomlel had a ton of jump and was very aggressive on the puck, showing off some surprising quickness for such a big man. He laid out a couple of huge hits that sent Milwaukee players to the ice. He also made a couple of really nice plays along the boards to get the puck out of danger and showed he saw the ice pretty well. And for those of you keeping score at home, he also engaged in a pair of epic fights, administering a couple of beat downs. He really got a lot of punches in and hit to hurt. I would be very interested in seeing him get into more games, though I hope he would be able to finish one as I am sure the coach was not happy playing with 5 D for half the night.
Czarnowczan was given an extension last year after a pretty impressive body of work during his rookie campaign and lost the battle for the last spot in GR earlier this season. He looked like a seasoned vet tonight, moving the puck with authority and playing airtight defense. He showed off a great first pass, and even carried the mail up ice a couple of times. Hopefully circumstances give him an opportunity to play more over the second half.
Nosek was playing with a whole new level of confidence following his return from Detroit. He really jumped up into the play and was shooting the puck more. His skating was also much more noticeable as his feet were always moving and he was able to exploit the Milwaukee defense with his speed.