Reinforcements Key 5-1 Romp Over Rampage|
Frk and Cholowski provide offensive catalyst...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 15th, 2019
The Grand Rapids Griffins celebrated a pair of homecomings last night as Sniper Martin Frk returned to the Van Andel Arena ice for the time since winning the Calder Cup in 2017. He had reason to celebrate as a central figure in the win, keying his linemates to 4 goals adding a new look to the Griffins offense. The second returning hero former Griffins netminder Jared Coreau, had a night to forget, making 42 saves to keep his team close before being swept away en route to a 5-1 loss. The Griffins got a hat trick from Wade Megan (10,11,12) and singles from Filip Zadina (14) and Colin Campbell (5) in the win. Harri Sateri help the Rampage to one goal on 21 shots to notch his 18th win.
The Griffins wasted no time getting on the board, opening the scoring just over a minute into the first. Colin Campbell behind the net made a play to Matt Puempel then skated out front and got it back, tucking it past Coreau short side. Martin Frk with a high velocity shot on the powerplay stung a Rampage defender who took a minute to get back up. The Griffins look energized, skating hard and playing with a lot of energy. Dennis Cholowski carried deep and hit Frk with a great pass for a blistering shot form the circle. Sammy Blais went off for high-sticking setting up the third Griffins powerplay of the period. Cholowski fired a long point blast that was tipped in front by Megan to make it a 2-0 game. Grand Rapids skating into the zone at will peppering Coreau with shots. Shots on goal: GR 22 - San 6.
San Antonio stepped things up a bit in the second period, trying to keep up with the pace of play and mounting a counterattack. They cut the lead to one just shy of the seven minute mark with Stevens in front of the net screening Sateri. Schmaltz rifled a slapper from the point that Stevens tipped past Sateri. Frk and Filip Zadina passing play and zadina weaving through through traffic in the zone ripped a shot off Coreau's mask from the high slot. Puempel was sprung on a breakaway and got off a pair of shots but could not get one in the net. Shots on goal: GR 11 - San 10.
Carter Camper was smoked behind the net and turned the puck over. Cholowski no fear walking right up into the play for a shot. Chris Terry with a breakaway but Coreau did a great job to take it all away and Terry fired a harmless shot off his pads. Zadina with a greta chance and then picked up his own rebound for another. Cholowski with speed up the middle again went right in on net for a scoring chance. Dominik Shine with a big hit on Nolan along the boards. Frk won a foot race, burning up the wing to steal the puck and hit Megan in the slot for a quick snipe , top shelf for his second of the game. Coreau was called to the bench for an extra attacker with over 3 minutes remaining. Zadina capitalized with an empty netter to run the score to 4-1, and Coreau came back out to the net. Zadina fought through a check to bring the puck in to the zone on his knees and passed to Frk for a 2-on-1 with Megan in the closing seconds. Megan completed the hat trick with two seconds left in the game to secure a 5-1 Griffins victory. Shots on goal: GR 14 - San 5. For the game: GR 47 - San 21.
#15 Elson - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#73 Puempel - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
#11 Zadina - #22 Megan - #91 Martin Frk
#39 Hulak - #10 Holmstrom - #65 Shine
#2 Hicketts - #13 Hronek
#44 Dennis Cholowski - #52 McIlrath
#27 Chelios - #9 Saarijarvi
Starter: #29 Sateri
Backup: #42 Rybar
#73 Puempel - #10 Holmstrom - #15 Elson
#13 Hronek - #19 Camper
#91 Frk - #22 Megan - #11 Zadina
#44 Cholowski - #25 Terry
#23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell/Shine
#2 Hicketts - #52 McIlrath
#39 Hulak - #65 Shine
#27 Chelios - #13 Hronek
The team had a lot of jump right from the opening faceoff last night, and played perhaps their best game of the season. Martin Frk had a great first game, and despite his reputation as a one-trick pony, was more noticeable for his positioning, hustle, and passing then for his renowned shot. He clicked right away with his linemates, and Zadina in particular looked like a different player working the give and go with Frk as the two jumped into holes and made some jaw dropping plays. The gifted rookie ended up being credited with 7 shots on goal. Wade Megan took advantage to net three goals, most of which were the result of a passing play getting the puck to him in front.
Dennis Cholowski also had a good first game, with few glaring errors and showed his confidence level was high as he routinely skated right through defenders with the puck and deep into the attacking zone. He looked like a forward at times with his foray's towards the net, and then used his incredible skating to get back into position. At one point he made a bad pass in his own zone that led to a giveaway, and his defensive partner, McIlrath, gave him a glare to let him know of his gaffe. The veteran defender was talking to him on the bench several times, and Cholo should benefit from the stay at home defenders tutelage At the end of the night I was surprised he only was credited with one shot on goal, because he took the puck to the net several times.
Matt Puempel was credited with 10 shots on goal, but the snakebit sniper could not get a goal to save his life right now.