Griffins Ice IceHogs 4-1|
Matt Ford celebrates 700th AHL game with a goal and an assist...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 17th, 2020
Coming off a heartbreaking shootout loss to the Rockford IceHogs on Wednesday, the griffins felt they had something to prove on Friday night. The team scored in each period and Pat Nagle stopped 21 of 22 shots to pick up his second win of the season. In addition to captain Matt Ford's 7th of the year, the home team got tallies from, Dominik Shine (3), Chase Pearson (5) and an empty netter from Chris Terry (16). The griffins have points in their last five games (3-0-0-2), leapfrogging the IceHogs into 5th place in the division.
The game got off to a familiar start with a giveaway right in front by Dennis Cholowski that Pat Nagle had to come up with a big save on. Nagle was very active early on, playing the puck and clearing his own crease with a big two-hander. Michael Rasmussen blocked a shot and limped off the ice but would return for his next shift. Nagle out of the net tried to clear the puck himself, but it was picked off along the board by Entwistle and he fired it past Nagle low, stick-side for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, Dominik Shine snuck into the circle and sniped a shot into the top corner glove side over Lankinen to know the score at one each. Matt Puempel lost his temper and took a bad penalty, pushing and shoving after the whistle. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Rock 7.
Grand Rapids carrying play in the second period with a big differential in shots and chances. Nagle came out of the net to play the puck and got tied up creating a dangerous chance for Rockford as everyone scrambled back to the front of the net. Rasmussen tipped a shot in front that rimmed off both posts and the crossbar but stayed out. Chase Pearson gave the Griffins their first lead of the game, crashing the front of the net, digging a rebound off Lankinen and stroking it past him low, stick-side. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Rock 5.
Taro Hirose, Joe Veleno and Matt Puempel with some magic cycling the puck in the Rockford zone, generating a couple of chances. Joe Hicketts fired a shot from the point on the powerplay that hit Lankinen and Matt Ford camped out in front chipped it in to push the lead to 3-1. Rockford had a breakaway and Moritz Seider took his man down to prevent a good scoring chance leaving the Griffins shorthanded with the IceHogs pressuring. The GR penalty killers were up to the task however, killing off the penalty without many chances against. Lankinen to the bench with just under three minutes remaining. Chris Terry took a pass in the open and lofted a shot the length of the ice and into the center of the empty net to provide the final margin of victory 4-1. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Rock 12. For the Game: GR: 35 - Rock 22.
#17 Hirose - #90 Veleno - #73 Puempel
#15 Elson - #27 Rasmussen - #25 Terry
#32 Spezia - #22 Pearson - #65 Shine
#55 Matt Ford - #23 Turgeon - #21 Kuffner
#18 Lashoff - #5 Lindstrom
#2 Hicketts - #53 Seider
#44 Cholowski - #52 McIlrath
Starter: #35 Nagle
Backup: #34 Poulin
#26 Tangradi - Injured
#30 Larsson - Injured
#36 - Wood
#37 Svechnikov - Injured
#73 Puempel - #27 Rasmussen - #15 Elson
#2 Hicketts - #25 Terry
#17 Hirose - #90 Veleno - #55 Ford
#44 Cholowski - #53 Seider
#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon
#18 Lashoff - #52 McIlrath
#90 Veleno - #22 Pearson
#2 Hicketts - #5 Lindstrom
Pat Nagle was solid in the net, making some key stops and turning in his third straight game giving up two goals or less. In that span he has a.929 Save percentage and 1.69 GAA. He did provide a few nervous moments roaming out of the net, but got lucky tonight that they didn't cost him.
Joe Veleno must have skated 100 miles during the game, as he was everywhere. His skating wears down opponents and creates good chances. He was very good on the PK and continues to excel defensively.
After looking a bit lackluster the last couple of games, Taro Hirose looked like he was playing with more intensity and made a couple of nice plays. His game seemed to be helped by playing with hustling Veleno, as he had to be on his toes to keep up, and Veleno also provided a defensive safety valve.
I have to give a shout out to Dominik Shine and Chase Pearson, two grinders who don't get a lot of attention. Both were firing on all cylinders tonight, and it was nice to see them rewarded with a goal.