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Defense Keys 4-1 Win Over Wild
Robbie Russo nets pair of assists...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 26th, 2016

Grand Rapids took advantage of a surge in scoring by the defense to hand the visiting Iowa Wild a 4-1 loss at Van Andel arena Friday night. Ryan Sproul led the team with 6 shots on goal and notched the game winner, while Robbie Russo added a pair of assists and Jakub Kindl scored his third of the season. Jared Coreau was stellar between the pipes and his 35 saves earned him first star honors. The Griffins also got tallies from Eric Tangradi (18) and Joakim Andersson (1).

Nick Jensen missing from the bench after the first shift, hopefully it is just an equipment issue. Aubry and Kindl 2-on-1, great play by Aubry to drag the puck around a sliding defenseman and hit Kindl for a tap in and a 1-0 lead. The lead was short lived as Strachan scored from the high slot 18 seconds later. Grand Rapids called for a review, but the goal stood. Coreau with a couple of incredible point blank stops as the Griffins were having a tough time matching Iowa's intensity. Sproul crept into the circle and Mantha backhanded a beautiful pass to him from in front of the net. Sproul fired a bullet in over Irving for a power play marker. Callahan buzzing around the net created a couple of chances just before the buzzer. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Iowa 15.

Sproul jumped way up into the play and fired a shot off Irving's mask that stunned him. Grand Rapids starting to pick up the pace halfway trough the period. Bertuzzi with a sick behind the back pass from behind the net to center the puck. Give and go between Russo and Tangradi. Russo found a seam and gave it back to Tangradi on the doorstep and he roofed it for his 18th. Great pass and patience by Russo. Kindl, last man back on the power play, bobbled the puck and turned it over for a Wild breakaway. Coreau came up big with the stop. Ouellet turned the puck over in front of Coreau, but he made the stop and Ouellet recovered. Russo circled the net and fired a shot up the slot into traffic. Callahan followed it up to poke it in, and Andersson got it over the line to make it 4-1. Callahan pushing and shoving behind the net after the whistle when he got grabbed from behind by Gabriel and pulled backward, tripping over the net and losing his footing. Ouellet went to his teammate's aid, and Hagel started throwing punches. Ouellet squared off with Hagel and landed several blows before they were broken up. Callahan took some punishment while on his hands and knees, being attacked by Gabriel. Shots on goal: GR 16 - Iowa 11.

Nosek with a breakaway early, made a little move to suck out Irving and then hit the post. Jensen in on the net, but was hooked, setting up a delayed call and Coreau to the bench. grand Rapids with several great chances before Iowa finally touched. Sproul with a big drive and several Griffins battled for the rebound. Bertuzzi took a penalty to kill the end of the powerplay. The Griffins Penalty killing units were giving Iowa fits. Jensen and Aubry creating shorthanded scoring chances. Hoggan won a foot race to the loose puck and had a dangerous shot on Irving from the circle. After the whistle, the Wild went after Aubry and another big scrum broke out. Bertuzzi almost snuck a shoot through five-hole right off the faceoff. Zengerle made contact with an Iowa player and went through the net before crashing into the end board. Aubry got taken down hard in front of the penalty boxes. The Griffins had a late pwerplay but were unable to get another puck past Irving, winning 4-1. Shots on goal: GR 10 -Iowa 10. For the Game: GR 41 - Iowa 36.

Callahan - Andersson - Zengerle
Tangradi - Miele - Mantha
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell

Lashoff - Jensen
Ouellet - Russo
Kindl - Sproul

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Coreau

#4 Paetsch
#11 Cleary
#23 Grant - Injury
#32 Hirschfeld - Seizure
#44 Rechlicz
#49 Chouinard

Callahan - Miele - Mantha
Kindl - Frk

Bertuzzi - Tangradi - Zengerle
Russo - Sproul

Aubry - Nosek
Lashoff - Jensen

Andersson - Campbell
Ouellet - Russo


Griffins got off to a slow start, but Coreau held them in until they could get going. The defense was very active all game, creating chances and keeping the puck out of harms way.

Ryan Sproul in particular had a strong game, jumping up into the play and shooting the puck, something we have been on him to do more of lately.

Robbie Russo also had a strong game. He looks so comfortable and confident and is carrying the puck much more. He was directly responsible for both the Tangradi and Andersson goals as his passes set up plays that weren't there without his pass.

Tangradi broke out of a long slump, scoring his first in nine games.

Official Game Sheet