Callahan's Hat Trick Puts Griffins In The Drivers Seat 3-1 Series Lead|
Griffins Tame Wolves with 6-3 win...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 8, 2017
Grand Rapids staked out a 3-1 series lead on the strength of a Mitch Callahan hat trick, taking a 6-3 win over the visiting Chicago Wolves last night at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins jumped out to a 2-0 lead before allowing the Wolves to battle back and tie the game in the 2nd period. Martin Frk kickstarted the offensive juggernaut to regain the lead and the team managed to hold Chicago to one more goal and add three more of their own to cap the win. Kyle Criscuolo and Matt Lorito both added a goal and Eric Tangradi notched three assists of his own. Netminder Jared Coreau picked up his 6th win, stopping 24 shots.
The first half of the period was played at a pretty sedate pace, lacking a lot of the intensity from earlier in the series. The Wolves looked to be adjusting to the three new players in the lineup, assigned form the parent St Louis Blues. The Griffins were playing with Brian Lashoff and Campbell, both out with injury. Tyler Bertuzzi with a good chance in his feet right in front of the net. Robbie Russo at the line sent a long shot in that Street just redirected wide. Late in the period with the Griffins pressuring around the net as their powerplay expired, Tangradi found Callahan in the slot and he stroked a shot in past Husso from his knees to open the scoring. Tomas Nosek took a pass and put it into overdrive, blazing down the wing and pulling away from the defender but Ford was just offside. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Chi 10.
The Griffins took a two goal lead early in the second on a great play by Matt Lorito, who won a battle along the boards and managed to move the puck off the wall. He made a nice pass to Kyle Criscuolo who moved into the circle and bulged the twine behind Husso. The Wolves answered back a few minutes later on a pretty give and go play between Blais and Agostino, with Agostino finishing it with a one-timer that beat Coreau. Agostino tied the score shortly thereafter, when he got behind the defense and took a long pass, and went down the side before putting a wrister past Coreau glove side. Martin Frk put the Griffins ahead again on a great individual effort, streaking down the wing and into the Wolves zone before gliding into the circle and blowing a shot past Husso for a 3-2 lead. Bertuzzi and Rattie wrestling in the corner and both ended up going off together, Great chance by Ford that hit the post and came back out. The Griffins on a late powerplay and Russo teed up a big blast from the point that Callahan tipped in for his second of the game taking advantage of Bertuzzi screening in front for a goal with just two seconds left in the period. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Chi 7.
Nice play by Filip Hronek to follow Paetsch and clear the puck instead of going for the big hit. Chicago cut the lead back to one when Hronek let Thompson get behind him and he took a back door pass and put it in off Coreau's pad. Callahan looking for his third batted a puck out of midair right in front that just hit Husso. Great Chicago chance right in front but Russo cleared Rattie and the puck into the corner. Tomas Nosek stole the puck behind the wolves net, walked out and tried to stuff it. Dylan McIlrath with a big drive from the point that hit Husso, then Lorito picked up the rebound and roofed it for a goal. Axel Holmstrom was high-sticked in front of the official but no call. Then Hicketts got hauled down and Grand Rapids ended up with the man-advantage again. Husso to the bench for the extra attacker with three minutes and change left on the clock. Callahan in on the empty but taken down and Grand Rapids goes back on the powerplay again. Tangradi with a steal and fed Callahan again and this time he buried it to complete the hat trick. Shots on goal: GR 16 - Chi 10. For the Game: GR 38 - Chi 27.
12 forwards - 6 defense
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Svechnikov - Criscuolo - Lorito
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Ford - Turgeon - Holmstrom
McIlrath - Hicketts
Renouf - Russo
Paetsch - Hronek
#11 Cleary - Veteran
#18 Lashoff - injury
Ford - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Callahan - Svechnikov
Bertuzzi - Russo
Turgeon - Street
Paetsch - McIlrath
Ford - Nosek
Renouf - Russo
Filip Hronek had a couple of tough plays, one of which ended up in the net. While I like the fact that he is getting development time, a return by Brian Lashoff would be preferred for this playoff run. Four of the top ten AHL scorers are Griffins with Bertuzzi, Callahan, Tangradi and Street all owning a share of third place with 8 points. Evgeny Svechnikov is tied for tenth with 7 points.