Callahan Leads Griffins Over Wolves in Home Opener 3-1|
Coreau stops 27 shots in dominant win...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 14th, 2016
Jared Coreau turned in a dominant performance between the pipes, stopping 27 of 28 shots including a couple of highlight reel saves to help the Griffins win their season debut. Mitch Callahan provided a pair of goals to lead the offense while sniper Anthony Mantha scored what turned out to be the game winner. Callahan, healthy for the first time in several seasons had a lot of jump and played a key role in the win, killing penalties and seeing time on the powerplay. Dylan Sadowy, Matt Lorito and Conor Allen made their Griffins debut in the win as the team dressed a whopping 5 rookies.
The Griffins got off to a good start, carrying play for the first half of the period and outshooting the wolves 7-0. Grand Rapids appeared to open the scoring midway through the period, but Wolves netminder Binnington had dislodged the net and it was waived off. The home team had the first powerplay of the game and had a couple of decent chances, but nothing clicked. Ferraro came out of the box and nearly picked Russo's pocket for a break, but he just recovered. Nastasiuk's giveaway in the corner led to a couple of great chances in front for Chicago. Criscuolo fired a shot up the slot that Callahan tipped past Binnington to open the scoring on the 2016-17 season. Mantha was whistled off for kneeing, setting up a wolves powerplay. Big save by Coreau and then an assist to Lashoff for shoveling the puck into his pads. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Chi 8.
Mantha ran the score to 2-0, notching a powerplay goal from the slot just 35 seconds into the second period. The Griffins penalty killers got a workout killing off a couple of penalties early. Jensen put on a clinic, ragging the puck on the PK and killing the clock. Coreau with two huge saves, back to back from point blank range. Svechnikov took the puck to the net, showing off a slick spinorama to walk around a Wolves defender for a dangerous chance close in. Brutal defensive breakdown by Grand Rapids on a line change to give Chicago a 4-on-0. Sterling with speed rifled a shot past Coreau midway stick side. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Chi 12.
Two-on-one chance for Chicago, but Jensen tied up the puck carrier. Coreau on his knees gloved the puck off Sterling's stick, taking away what looked to be sure goal. Callahan great work along the boards to steal the puck and set up a Bertuzzi chance. Another odd man rush for the Wolves, Coreau shut down Sterling on a breakway. Turgeon rocked Bleakley with a clean hit in front of the penalty boxes. Lorito picked off a pass and set up Lashoff for a long drive from the point. Svechnikov with a couple of great chances on the cycle with Aubry and Campbell. Aubry got behind the defense for a chance but the play was blown dead. That didn't stop him from popping a weak shot on net after the whistle which drew a crowd of wolves to rough him up. Sadowy skated into the pile to help out. The Griffins had a late powerplay, but were unable to establish any pressure and looked sloppy. Just after the penalty ended Callahan got the stick slashed out of his hands setting up another powerplay with just 2:07 left on the clock. Binnington was summoned to the bench for the extra skater despite the GR powerplay. After several chances, Aubry fed Callahan for the empty netter to seal the win 3-1. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Chi 8. For the game: GR 34 - Chi 28.
#26 Tangradi - #28 Lorito - #8 Mantha
#39 Bertuzzi - #51 Criscuolo - #15 Callahan
#77 Svechnikov - #22 Aubry - #45 Campbell
#29 Sadowy - #23 Turgeon - #37 Nastasiuk
#18 Lashoff - #14 Jensen
#4 Paetsch - #5 Russo
#2 Hicketts - #44 Allen
Starter: #31 Coreau
Backup: #40 Pasquale
#10 Street - Veteran
#11 Cleary - Veteran
Callahan - Lorito - Tangradi
Paetsch - Mantha
Bertuzzi - Criscuolo - Svechnikov
Hicketts - Russo
Aubry - Campbell
Lashoff - Jensen
Callahan - Criscuolo
Paetsch - Allen
The team played well enough to win game one, but still have some thing to work on before next weekend.
Jared Coreau was rock solid in net, moving his huge frame around with quickness and agility beyond his size. The one shot he didn't stop happened on a 4-on-0 when he got caught by himself as his whole team went to the bench on a linechange. His confidence level was high and it is amazing how far he has come even from last season.
Great to see Callahan have a big night after knowing how much he has persevered through the last couple of seasons. This was the first offseason he was healthy in three years and he looks fit and hungry.
Evgeni Svechnikov was fun to watch every shift. He tried several different moves in the offensive zone to get to the net, and while they didn't all land, once they do, he will be dangerous.
Mantha played with some fire the second half of the game, involved physically and going to the net. He too looks like he has added a lot of muscle and fought his way to the net several times.
Criscuolo also had an impressive night, showcasing his speed and offensive vision. He played in all situations and set up several nice scoring chances. He also was very noticeable with Callahan on the penalty kill.