Griffins Maul IceHogs 6-2|
Second period offensive explosion caps matinee rout...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 6th, 2013
The Grand Rapids Griffins celebrated their 13th annual matinee game by romping to a 6-2 win over the visiting Rockford IceHogs. Gustav Nyquist led the way with a pair of goals, but 14 different Griffins figured in the scoring. Thomas McCollum tied a team record by starting the season with 6 straight wins, making 27 saves. Rookie blueliner Ryan Sproul tallied three assists for the win while captain Jeff Hoggan added a goal and assist.
The first period looked to be a pretty even match for the first half with neither team showing much. That all changed around the 10:22 mark when Andrej Nestrasil came out of the corner and threw the puck on net, and watched it sneak through low stick side for his first of the season. A few minutes later Glendening made it 2-0 when he tapped in a nice feed from Sheahan. A big scrum touched off in the corner as Nightingale and Froese each tried to get a piece of Callahan. That of course drew a crowd as Grant waded in to even things up and all the players on the ice began grappling. Somehow the Griffins ended up down a man, but managed to kill off the penalty. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Rock 7.
Rockford got on the board early in the second on a fluky goal. Clendening wired a shot from the circle that hit someone in front and changed directions. McCollum got a piece of it, but couldn't hang on as it bounced off his glove and into the net. Nyquist got it right back, picking up a rebound and and wristing it in over Raanta for a goal. The Griffins made it 4-1 less than two minutes later when Hoggan put a shot on net from the far right wing and Pulkkinen came late to bury the rebound back door. That was the end of the night for Raanta who went to the bench in favor of Simpson. Nyquist notched his second of the night midway through the second to open up the lead to 5-1. The Griffins had a great chance on a 3-on-1 but could not convert. They did however cash in on their first powerplay of the game to extend the lead to 6-1. Nathan Paetsch fired a point shot that Hoggan redirected in front for his fifth of the campaign. The 4th line is seeing a ton of ice time for Grand Rapids as the team has carried nearly the entire period. Shots on Goal: GR 22 - Rock 8.
Grant smoked Peckham with a legal hit, but Peckham was incensed and chased after him, trying to get him to drop the gloves. Grant didn't oblige and Peckham was furious. Sproul got caught with his head down and took a hard hit near center ice. When he extricated himself from the IceHogs player he went straight to the room, favoring his leg. Rockford cut the lead to 4 with Winchester shoveling the puck in from the doorstep past McCollum. The Icehogs threw everything they had at the Griffins net, but McCollum stood tall. Jurco had the corwd on its feet in the dying seconds with a couple of sick moves with the puck to try and score one more. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Rock 14. For the Game: GR 41 - Rock 29.
Nyquist - Jarnkrok - Jurco
Hoggan - Emmerton - Pulkkinen
Ferraro - Sheahan - Glendening
Grant - Nestrasil - Callahan
Paetsch - #20 Fournier
Ouellet - Marchenko
Evans - Sproul
Sheahan - Jarnkrok - Jurco
Nyquist - Marchenko
Hoggan - Emmerton - Pulkkinen
Paetsch - Sproul
Emmerton - Callahan
Evans - Marchenko
Sheahan - Ferraro/Glendening
Paetsch - Ouellet
There is no love lost between these two teams, and we were waiting for the fireworks to start, especially once the score got out of hand. Other than a few small incidents, this was a pretty tame game between these two rivals.
Nyquist played a strong game in what could be his last Griffins game with the in-game news that Jordan Tootoo had been placed on waivers.
Teemu Pulkkinen also stood out. He is so deceptive, but does a great job of sneaking up into the scoring position to get his big shot off. He is very fast, but you don't notice it so much because he is usually not the guy carrying the puck. He has looked very good with Hoggan.
I have to give a huge shout out to the 4th line as usual. Nestrasil, Grant and especially Callahan had several great chances and were a scoring threat all afternoon. Callahan was really involved in the offense and had a couple of dangerous looking chances. He also played a chippy game today without being over the edge and taking penalties. The balanced scoring on this team is giving AHL opponents fits.
Ouellet had a good game, really playing heads up hockey. he sees the ice so well, that even when he makes a mistake, he recovers and is able to move the puck up ice.
It was nice to see Fournier back in the lineup. He played well, and allowed Paetsch to be more involved with the offense, jumping up in the play several times.
Great win for the team but also kudos to Tom McCollum, he is playing as well or better than at any stretch of time time with the Griffins that I can remember. The six straight wins were not all easy ones, he has been tested, but seems much more calm in the net than he has in the past.