Griffins Four Straight Goals Finish IceHogs 4-1|
Lashoff's goal stands as game winner...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 27th, 2018
A rare goal by veteran Brian Lashoff proved to be the game-winner in an exciting 4-1 win over the visiting Rockford IceHogs. The win marked the second weekend in a row that Grand Rapids handed the IceHogs a defeat, dropping them to 4th in the central division and allowing Grand Rapids to climb into the 5th spot. The Griffins also got goals from Matt Puempel (17), Evgeny Svechnikov (6) and Matt Ford (17). Jared Coreau didn't see much work but was solid making 16 stops for his 16th win of the campaign.
Grand Rapids with the quality chances early, but neither team was able to register many shots from the chances they got. McIlrath smoked Noreau along the sideboards.Tangradi and Street with a nice rush and a scoring chance, but Street's pass across was deflected away. Nice play by Matt Puempel to drag his skate to stay onside and then join the play to create a scoring chance. Late in the period Louis cut across the crease and then spun in the circle and flung a puck in under Coreau for a 1-0 lead. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Rock 5.
Grand Rapids tied things up early in the second on the powerplay. Hronek with a heads up play found a lane and threaded a pass to Puempel in the circle. The Griffins sniper snapped a shot past Tompkins midway glove side and the game was tied at one each. It looked like Ford scored a few minutes later from the doorstep on the powerplay, but the light didn't go on, and it was reviewed. Elson with good speed beat the defenseman back for the loose puck to negate the icing and then set up Elkins for a chance. Lashoff in the circle put a bad angle shot on net that that snuck past Tompkins to give the Griffins their first lead of the game. Elson and Hayden dropped the gloves for a tussle in the corner. The feisty Elson seemed to come out on top. Svechnikov made it 3-1 when he put a drive from the slot in over Tompkins for a goal. Renouf and Martinsen pushing and shoving after the whistle but it was broken up before it went further. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Rock 9
The Griffins penalty killer had to kill off two straight penalties to Campbell and then Renouf. GR crashing the net and a nice opportunity in front for Svechnikov, but the net was knocked off. Coreau nice play, banking the puck off the dasher to clear it. McIlrath put two IceHogs into the board to ensure that it got all the way out. Svechnikov to the box for a high-stick. Campbell in deep with the puck on the penalty kill driving the IceHogs to distraction and even got a couple of chances on the goalie. Lashoff in front blocked a shot, then a second one that made it look like he wouldn't be sitting comfortably for awhile. Close in chance that hit the post glove side on Coreau and stayed out. Elkins in on net and the puck just slid wide of the post. Delayed penalty on Rockford, and the Griffins look content to rag the puck and play keep-away to kill the clock. Ford gets the puck and finds open ice, leading a rush.Street with a shot that hit the post and Ford right on the edge of the paint takes two swipes at the rebound before sliding it just inside the post for his 17th. Pelletier with a little spin move at the line but Turgeon didn't bite and took the puck away. The buzzer sounds on a 4-1 Griffins win. Shots on goal: GR 5 - Rock 3. For the game: GR 24 - Rock 17.
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #73 Puempel
#28 Lorito - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
#55 Ford- #47 Elkins - #77 Svechnikov
#25 Holmstrom - #15 Elson - #65 Shine
#18 Lashoff - #13 Hronek
#20 Renou- #5 Russo
#2 Hicketts- #52 McIlrath
Starter: #31 Coreau
Backup: #30 McCollum
Tangradi -Street - Lorito
Puempel - Hronek
Holmstrom - Ford - Svechnikov
Hicketts - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell/Street
Lashoff - McIlrath
Elkins - Ford
Renouf - Russo
Couple of quick notes, the first is that I have to give credit where it is due and say Robbie Russo had another good game. He was aggressive, moved the puck without hesitation, and even made some nice defensive plays. It has nearly been a year since his game started to deteriorate, maybe he is starting to pull put of his funk. That would really be a good thing for the Griffins if he found his game again.
Joe Hicketts looked like he had been shot out of cannon from the start of the game last night. He was definitely energized after his NHL recall and showed signs of the crowd favorite from last season. He had a lot of jump and a physical bent to his game. On the same note, the recently returned Dominic Turgeon looked more aggressive last night. Where i really noticed it was on the forecheck where he made a couple of little moves to get past the puck carrier and take the puck with him. He was firing on all cylinders and really skating well.
It is fun to see the friendly rivalry brewing between Puempel, Tangradi and Ford as they jockey for the team goal scoring lead. When one of them scores, the others try to keep pace.