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Checkers Chomp Griffins 5-3
Tatar adds a pair of goals in loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 30th, 2012

The Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead before allowing 4 unanswered goals by the visiting Checkers and eventually falling 5-3. Tomas Tatar had two tallies and a lot of jump for Grand Rapids in the loss. Frankie Pare and Brendan Smith each added a pair of assists while Raedeke scored the Griffins' other goal. Thomas McCollum made 31 saves in absorbing the loss.

Tatar stole the puck and blew around a couple of Checkers' players before cutting in front of the net and backhanding a shot past Peters stick side. Towards the end of the period, Grand Rapids made it 2-0 when Raedeke took a feed in the circle from Smith and sniped it past Peters high, stick side. Tempers flared at the whistle and a scrum broke out with Minard in the middle. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Cha 13.

The game started to get more physical in the second period as the hitting game picked up. Dolan picked up a rebound at the side of the net and banked it in off McCollum to knot the score at two. Shortly thereafter Dadonov beat Ehrhardt and got behind him for a breakaway and another Checkers goal. Boychuk chopped Ferraro's feet out from under him, drawing a crowd with Ferraro trying to pull him out of the pile. After the whistle Durno took a shot at Ferraro and several players came together for some pushing and shoving. Shots on goal: GR 4 - Cha 14.

The Checkers extended the lead with a goal by Terry midway through the third on the powerplay with Exelby in the box. Tatar picked up the rebound of a Pare shot at the side of the net and banged it home, glove side to pull GR back to within one. The Checkers iced the game with an empty netter with 24 seconds on the clock for a 5-3 win. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Cha 9. For the Game: GR 31 - Cha 36.

Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Ferraro - Raedeke/Aubry - #5 Sheahan
Coetzee - Aubry/Raedeke - Nestrasil
Conner - Johnson - Minard

Pyett - Ehrhardt
Lashoff - Smith
#6 Almqvist - Exelby

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Pearce

Parkes - Injured
Brunnstrom - Injured

Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Coetzee/Lashoff - Smith

Minard - Johnson - Conner
Sheahan - Pyett

Andersson - Pare
Lashoff - Exelby

Tatar - Raedeke
Pyett - Ehrhardt

Sheahan - Ferraro

The middle of this game killed the Griffins. They had a solid start, but fell apart for about a period and a half tonight. Another frustrating loss in a season full of them.

Tatar was one of the Griffins best players and really looked good. He was involved offensively, but also played with some grit and fire.

Smith and Lashoff both had strong games and actually looked pretty good together, both at even strength and on the powerplay.

The other player that stood out (no surprise) was Aubry. He was a thorn in Charlotte's side most of the night, and played a physical game with a bit of a mean streak. He earned a mid game promotion and moved up a line and just played a great game. He is definitely a player to watch with his size and speed.

Sheahan and Almqvist made their home debuts to mixed reviews. Sheahan was great on the penalty kill, but aside from a couple of strong defensive plays, wasn't very noticeable. Almqvist didn't see a ton of ice time, but the skill was evident. He looked very small, but was aggressive and his feet didn't stop moving. He also looked poised and confident in his first AHL game.

Official Game Sheet