Griffins Surge Past Stars on Pulkkinen's Buzzer Beater|
Three-on-three overtime winner caps three point night...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 14th, 2014
There were many storylines tonight, including a meeting of the last two Calder Cup Champions, and the professional debut of super prospect Anthony Mantha. Teemu Pulkkinen stole the headlines however with the overtime game winner and two assists to lead the way over the Texas Stars with a 3-2 win. Grand Rapids fought back from deficits twice, rallying for overtime with just over a minute left in regulation on a goal by Mitch Callahan (5). Andy Miele (5) had the other Griffins goal and Petr Mrazek was stellar, especially in the latter stages of the game , recording 26 saves for the win.
Texas got off to a quick start, capitalizing on a Griffins breakdown score a shorthanded goal just over three minutes into the first. Hoggan had a great chance in front but fanned on the shot. Pulkkinen had a rip from the side of the crease that hit Campbell and stayed out. Bruton and Trook squared off after a face-off for a short bout, with the Griffins winger taking the decision. Marchenko put a hip into a Stars forward that tried to get around him, knocking him hard into the end boards and he stayed down for quite awhile. Great stop by Mrazek on a point blank chance. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Tex 5.
Big point shot by Backman tipped in front by Miele with Callahan screening for an early powerplay goal to tie the score at one. Bruton took a feed and walked in on net before firing a shot over the top of the net. Miele went to the box for high-sticking, setting up another Stars powerplay. Ranford beat Paetsch and flicked a shot past Mrazek to regain the lead. Mantha picked a corner and the puck just stayed out over the line. The goal light came on, but was reviewed and it was ruled no goal. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Tex 12.
Great shift by Mantha, using his reach to keep possession and generate a couple of scoring chances. Backman pinched and got caught, allowing a shorthanded rush that was broken up by a diving Miele. Miele got dumped hard into the boards, but no call was made. Athanasiou picked off Campbell's clearing attempt and fed Callahan in the circle for a great chance. Late in the period, Callahan curled in from the circle and blistered a shot into the top corner to knot the score at 2. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Tex 6.
Pulkkinen in alone ripped a shot from the circle that went wide. Miele fed Mantha in front and he rang another shot off the post. Mrazek stonewalled Ranford at the edge of the paint and then Honka all alone in the circle. Absolutely huge stop by Mrazek and then Ferraro and Porter were off on a 2-on-1. The pace of the 3-on-3 overtime is insane, so many quality scoring chances. Pulkkinen holding the puck for an eternity and then fires a rocket along the ice past Campbell with .8 seconds left on the clock for the overtime game winner. Shots on Goal: GR 3 - Tex 5. For the Game: GR 39 - Tex 28.
Callahan - Athanasiou - Pulkkinen
#8 Mantha - Miele - Ferraro
Hoggan - Aubry - Porter
Bruton - Zengerle - Campbell
Ouellet - Marchenko
Paetsch - Jensen
Backman - Sproul
Backup: #31 Coreau
Evans - Suspended
Nosek - Injured Hand
Pulkkinen - Miele - Callahan
Mantha - Backman
Porter - Athanasiou - Ferraro
Ouellet - Sproul
Porter - Ferraro
Ouellet - Marchenko
Callahan - Athanasiou
Paetsch - Jensen
Great win, one of the most exciting regular season games I remember in quite awhile. I really loved the 3-on-3 overtime, both teams had several chances and it was very fast paced and exciting.
Now on to what most people are probably most interested in: Anthony Mantha. The rookie right winger looked very much like someone who had missed the last couple of months with an injury. It took him awhile to get his feet under him, figuratively and literally. He was a -1 on his second shift and whether it was directly his fault, his man was the one who scored. His next saw him take his first penalty. He had his head down as he went up and down the ice and looked tired. However as the game went on he started to look a little better. He threw a hit in the corner and then started to use his size a bit more to protect the puck and open up room. He had a couple nice shots that went off the post and couple of other chances where he fanned on an open net. These are probably goals if he has his mid-season timing back. It will be interesting to see how he plays on Saturday.
Backman looked very good quarterbacking the powerplay. Aside from getting caught pinching late in the game, he looked very solid.
Callahan was easily one of the most impressive players again this game. He really was playing with fire, battling in front and in the corners and was rewarded with a goal.
Louis-Marc Aubry stood out in the third period, finding some life centering Hoggan and Porter. He really showed off his size and soft hands, carrying the puck to the net and making plays.