Tatar's Two Rip Wolves for 7th Straight Win|
Speedy sniper notches a pair...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 23, 2012
Sniper Tomas Tatar kept up his hot hand to help the Grand Rapids Griffins eke out a win against the visiting Chicago Wolves. The talented winger scored the first and last goals of the game, the second being a highlight reel worthy individual effort with just over two minutes left in the game. Chad Billins notched his first pro goal and Mitch Callahan scored his first of the season as well. Red-hot rookie netminder Petr Mrazek made 25 stops to improve his record to 6-0 and sole possession of a team record.
Tatar opened the scoring, taking a nice pass from Pare in the circle and then walking in on Lack before firing a quick shot into the wolves net. The Griffins did some great work on the penalty kill (They had several opportunities) in the period not allowing shots or possession but had an abysmal powerplay of their own that did not generate any scoring chances. Jurco had a nice scoring chance right off a face off but just fired the puck over the net. Aubry got leveled at the line by Miller and Evans went right over and put a beating on the Wolves forward. Callahan threw a thundering check at the whistle that drew a crowd. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Chi 5.
Chicago tried to tie things up early in the second, jamming away at the puck in a pileup out front, but Grand Rapids dodged a bullet and managed to keep the puck out. Smith interfered with Friesen on a partial breakaway and a penalty shot was called. The Chicago center subsequently missed the net. The Griffins turned over the puck in the Wolves zone and watched it get taken all the way down and end up behind Mrazek on a shot by Matheson. Callahan put the home team back up by one when he won a foot race to a loose puck, made a nice move and put it behind Lack. Sheehan stole the puck on the powerplay and set up a nice chance by Almquist. Chicago tied things up at two late in the 2nd when Tanev fired a low shot through traffic and it rang in off the post. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Chi 11.
With Haydar in the box, Billins fired a hard shot from the line that bulged the twine for his first pro goal, restoring the lead for Grand Rapids. The Wolves evened it up five minutes later when Mrazek dove after the puck and Rodin popped it into the empty net past Lashoff who was trying to block it. Smith dropped the gloves with Pinizzotto but took the worst of it. The Griffins did a great job of killing of a late Chicago 5-on-3 powerplay to keep the score tied. Tatar scored the game-winner on an incredible individual effort to take the puck away while skating backward, pivot, turn on the jets, gain the zone and fire a quick shot between Lack and the post all in one fluid motion. The crowd was all on there feet to cheer one of the best goals of the season. In the closing minute Lack was pulled for an extra skater, but there was no coming back and the Griffins held on for the win. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Chi 12. For the Game: GR 29 - Chi 28.
Hoggan - Ferraro - Aubry/Sheahan
Tatar - Andersson/Nyquist - Nyquist/Aubry
Pare - Sheahan - Jurco/Aubry
Grant - Raedeke - Callahan/Ferraro
Billins - Evans
Paetsch - Smith
Almquist - Lashoff
Tatar - Andersson - Nyquist
Smith - Billins
Hoggan - Ferraro - Pare
Almquist - Paetsch
Sheahan - Raedeke/Andersson
Evans/Billins - Lashoff
Callahan/Andersson - Ferraro
Paetsch - Smith/Almquist
Tatar - Aubry
The Griffins showed some heart tonight, battling back to regain the lead several times and not giving up. The second goal by Tatar had to be a back breaker for the Wolves, it was a thing of beauty. Speaking of Tatar, he really looks to be on a different level than the last few seasons. He is faster, stronger and a lot more consistent. He is a force every game instead of just every couple. I am not sure there is a spot in Detroit open if the lockout ends, but if he keeps playing like this, he could force the issue.
Nathan Paetsch was back in the lineup for the first time in awhile and looked rusty. He played well defensively, but his timing was a bit off with the puck.
Smith was surly most of the night and lost his temper a couple of times. I suppose if he is angry, he at least is involved, so I will look at that as OK.
Frankie Pare had a nice but quiet game. He made a couple of very tricky passes that found their way through traffic and onto the sticks of teammates in scoring position.
Mitchell Callahan was also back in the lineup after an extended absence and he did not disappoint, playing perhaps his best game in a Griffins sweater. He showed lots of hustle all over the ice and made good decisions with the puck. It also looked like he was a step faster and was winning races to the puck. It was nice to see him score a goal and stay out of the box as well. If he can continue to play at this level he should have no problem staying in the lineup.
Raedeke also played well on a checking with Grant and Callahan. He was very aggressive on the penalty kill and along with his linemates was finishing checks and adding a physical presence at times to the game.
Jurco also looked impressive, using his frame to establish position and was hard to move from in front of the net. He seems to always be where the puck ends up and is getting into scoring position more often.
Bryan Lashoff looked very confident tonight playing a quiet effective game. He looked steady and stable and looks to be a good partner for Almquist.