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Griffins Rock Rockford with 6-1 Rout
McCollum shuts down IceHogs with 45 saves...
By Jason Kasiorek
April 1st, 2015

Surging netminder Thomas McCollum made 45 saves including 21 in the first period as the Grand Rapids Griffins scored early and often to hand the visiting Rockford IceHogs a resounding defeat 6-1 at Van Andel Arena. The win allowed the Griffins to open up their lead on the Midwest conference to five points heading into the last two weeks of the season. Louis-Marc Aubry continued his late season improved play, netting a goal and an assist. The griffins also got tallies from Miele (22, 23), Ferraro (27), Nosek (9) and Marchenko (3). Veteran Defenseman Nathan Paetsch was awarded a penalty shot in the 2nd period, but couldn't convert.

Grand Rapids wasted very little time getting on the board, scoring just over three minutes into the game. Frk got the puck deep, faked a shot, and threaded a pass through a defenseman to Aubry flying up the slot and the hulking center buried it for a 1-0 lead. McCollum standing tall with a flurry of great saves while shorthanded. Huge stop by McCollum on a rocket from the slot. Evans gave Hartman a heavy hit and was then challenged by Cody Bass for a brief bout. Nice play by Marchenko to break up an odd man rush. Mantha took a pass and kept possession up the middle, drawing the defenseman and then making a slick behind the back pass to Miele for a great scoring chance and a 2-0 lead. Great move by Athanasiou to walk around an IceHogs' defenseman with the puck and set up a dangerous chance. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Rock 21.

Early in the second, Porter put a shot on Leighton from the circle and Miele crept into the slot and sniped the rebound at the open net. It looked like Leighton put it in himself, but Mantha was originally credited with the goal. It was eventually awarded to Miele for his 23rd of the season. Raanta came in in relief of Leighton after the goal. The atmosphere started to get dark, as scrums began breaking out after the whistles. Seabrook went after Frk, setting up a Griffins powerplay. Mantha just missed a wide open net. A Rockford player threw his stick at the puck, leading to a rare penalty shot for Griffins blueliner Nathan Paetsch. Paetsch blazed in and beat Raanta, but the puck went just wide. The hitting picked up as Aubry and Campbell had a couple of back to back board rattling hits on the same shift. Carey got free, went behind the net and picked up an errant puck and banged it past McCollum to put the IceHogs on the board. Ferraro got it right back though, flying up the right side, cutting in on Raanta, and then making a little move before sliding it into the net. Next rush, Ferraro again with speed but dished to Hoggan who rang a shot off the post. Mantha breakaway hit Raanta and then the late man had another point blank chance. Nosek ripped a shot from the slot that knuckled through Raanta for a 5-1 lead. Mantha with another breakaway but was just interfered with enough to not get a good shot off. Shots on goal: GR 16 - Rock 12.

Grand Rapids shorthanded early in the third, but the Griffins are doing such a good job of getting in the passing lanes and picking off pucks, that the IceHogs really couldn't mount any pressure. A Rockford shot went off both posts behind McCollum, but stayed out. Marchenko pinched on the powerplay, coming way up to pick up the rebound of an Aubry shot and chip it in over Raanta for his third of the season. Hartman took a run at Aubry and bounced off, taking the worst of the hit, and then Aubry stared him down all the way back to the bench. Zengerle rang a great shot off the post. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Rock 13. For the Game: GR 34 - Rock 46.

Frk - Aubry - Campbell
Mantha - Miele - Porter
Tvrdon - Nosek - Ferraro
Hoggan - Athanasiou - Zengerle

Evans - Ouellet
Lashoff - Jensen
Paetsch - Marchenko

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Coreau

Callahan - ACL - Out for season

Mantha - Miele - Zengerle
Porter - Ouellet

Tvrdon - Aubry - Ferraro
Paetsch - Marchenko

Nosek - Ferraro
Paetsch - Marchenko

Athanasiou/Miele - Porter
Lashoff - Jensen


MCCollum kept the team in this game early giving the Griffins a chance to get their feet under them and win this game. He made some huge stops, and looked very confident.

Aubry could have easily been one of the stars of the game. He opened the scoring and was a physical presence all night that Rockford had a hard time countering or containing. His combination of size, strength, speed and soft hands is impressive to watch when he is on top of his game.

Marchenko had a lot of jump tonight and was noticeable for the right reasons. He looks more comfortable handling the puck and has improved his footspeed to win the races.

Official Game Sheet