Stars Shine Bright as Texas Rallies for 6-3 Win|
Griffins defensive woes haunt them again...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 17th, 2018
Looking to preserve their undefeated record at home, the Griffins came from behind to carry a 3-2 lead into the third period. It was not enough as defensive lapses caused the game to slip away and Texas scored four unanswered goals to blow the game open, handing the Griffins a 6-3 loss. The home team slipped to 1-4 on the season, with the lone win coming in their home opener last weekend. Chris Terry, Matt Finn and Axel Holmstrom all scored their first of the season in the defeat for Grand Rapids. Starter Hari Sateri made 26 saves in the loss, and his season number reflect the teams' tough start, falling to 3.53 GAA (34th in the AHL) and an .863 Sv% (44th).
Texas got on the board early with a powerplay goal just shy of the four minute mark. Hari Sateri made the first stop but the rebound was cleared right up the middle to L'Esperance who wasted no time burying it low, glove-side. Griffins back to the box again (a common refrain). Wade Megan with a good shorthanded try, right up the middle, was hooked, setting up a rare shorthanded penalty-shot. The Griffins veteran fired a weak shot right into Bow's glove. Chris Terry put the home team on the board midway through the period, redirecting Vili Saarijarvi's point shot past Bow from right on the doorstep. Things were looking up for Grand Rapids as they ended up with their first powerplay of the game, but they squandered it. Trevor Hamilton had a nice shot from along the boards that Bow was forced to make a save on. Givani Smith went off for hooking leaving the Griffins short a man for the third time of the period. Turner Elson on the penalty kill stole the puck and went in on Bow for a great chance. Hargrove with speed walked around Dylan McIlrath and fed Calderone for a back door goal to regain the lead. The Griffins got it back about 2 minutes later when Filip Zadina stole the puck and found Matt Finn who carried to the top of the circle and took a shot that found its way in over Bow and knot the score at two. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Texas 12.
Grand Rapids took their first lead of the game early in the second. Jake Chelios fired a low point shot on net with Holmstrom in front with his stick on the ice. Holmstrom redirected the puck past Bow, low glove side. Chelios had a running battle with Mersch, up and down the ice for several shifts. Bow came out to play the puck, but Megan surprised him and stole it, trying for a bad angle shot at the empty cage, but hit the post. Texas did not generate much in the way of offense in the 2nd, and despite a shaky performance the Griffins ended the period with a 3-2 lead. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Texas 7.
Early in the third, Zadna missed an assignment, leading to an odd man rush for Texas. Finn didn't take away the pass, and L'Esperance hit Mascherin for a beautiful back door goal that beat Sateri, high glove side. The train started to jump the track a few minutes later as Finn became the latest griffins to spend time in the box. Gurianov batted puck out of mid-air over Sateri and off the crossbar for a powerplay goal and a 4-3 lead. Grand Rapids took a pair of bad penalties with a too many men on the ice penalty and then promptly took a delay of game penalty for clearing the puck over the glass. Mersch took advantage of the 5-on-3 powerplay, taking a pass on the doorstep and roofing it over Sateri to push the lead to 5-3. Chris Terry really getting worked over in the corner with no whistle but eventually managed to get possession of the puck. The Griffins pulled Sateri for the extra skater late in the period but promptly gave up and empty-netter to establish the final 6-3 margin of victory. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Texas 13. For the game: GR 28 - Texas 32.
#73 Puempel - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#54 Smith - #22 Megan - #11 Zadina
#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon - #55 Ford
#12 Pope - #10 Holmstrom - #65 Shine
#9 Saarijarvi - #52 McIlrath
#27 Chelios - #17 Crawford
#6 Finn - #14 Hamilton
Starter: #29 Harri Sateri
Backup: #42 Patrik Rybar
#4 Sulak (just assigned by Detroit)
#45 Campbell (Concussion protocol)
Technically still on injured reserve with Detroit (NHL).
#73 Puempel - #55 Ford - #25 Terry
#11 Zadina - #19 Camper
#54 Smith - #22 Megan – #10 Holmstrom
#9 Saarijarvi - #27 Chelios
#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon
#52 McIlrath - #14 Hamilton
#55 Ford - #19 Camper
#9 Saarijarvi - #27 Chelios
The club was burned several times by spotty defense and blown coverage. Sateri was not particularly sharp, but also was left out to dry several times. Chelios was pretty effective most of the night and Saarijarvi was improved over last season, but beyond that it was tough. Dylan McIlrath had an off night, which may have been a byproduct of how much ice time he received as he has been forced into a larger role than he has played in the past. The team needs some help on the backend specifically, but also needs more of the forwards to buy in.