Coreau's Stellar Start Ties up IceHogs|
Netminder's team record 25 save first period overcomes teams slow start...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 31st, 2014
Netminder Jared Coreau was the story tonight for Grand Rapids, as he singlehandedly kept his team in the game during a terrible first period in which the Griffins were outshot 25-6. Coreau set a team record by stopping all 25 shots he faced and staking his team to a 1-0 lead on Teemu Pulkkinen's league leading 18th goal. It took 29 shots for the IceHogs to get on the board, trailing 2-0 to Grand Rapids. They eventually tied the game, forcing overtime and a shootout where Michael Leighton was forced to provide some goaltending heroics of his own to earn the win.
Pulkkinen's league leading 18th goal open the scoring, converting an Andy Miele pass back door. The ice is definitely tilted in the IceHogs favor as they are winning the races to the puck and peppering Coreau. Coreau has really made some huge saves to keep GR in the game, often fighting through Rockford players crowding the crease. Shots on goal: GR 6 - Rock 25.
Great short handed chance by Ferraro, stealing the puck and going around the defenseman for a break on Leighton. The speedy penalty killer was fouled twice, drawing a penalty to even things out. Griffins 2-on-1, Pulkkinen passed to Miele who roofed a shot from the circle to make it 2-0. End to end play, great chance by Aubry. Carey finally solved Coreau on the IceHogs 29th shot of the game, when he received a centering pass in the slot and stroked it into the net. The goal was reviewed but allowed to stand. Brennan hit a streaking Hartman with a pass from the line, and he scored a pretty goal glove side to knot the score at two. Bruton and Labrie squared off in front of the boxes off the face off. Labrie put the hurt on Bruton, pounding him early and often in a very one-sided bout. Hartman smoked Ferraro in the corner with a wicked cross check from behind. Mantha went right over, threw Hartman down and tried to get him to drop the gloves, but ended up with the only penalty. Griffins with a late flurry of great chances that Leighton had to stand on his head to stop. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Rock 13.
Sproul's cannon of a point shot hit an IceHogs' player and bounced out into no-mans land where it was scooped up for a partial break in on Coreau. Sproul stayed with the play, eventually taking a penalty to break up the scoring chance. Hoggan taken down behind the net setting up a late Griffins powerplay. Zengerle drifted in back door, but couldn't convert the pass. Callahan with a great chance in front in traffic, and fired it just wide. Mantha and Nosek showing great chemistry, creating magic with the puck as they give and go like its on a string. Ferraro got loose and cut through the crease, trying to stuff the puck past Leighton from the edge of the paint. After the play he got thumped into the end boards by Bass. Play going the other way, the puck trickled through Coreau, but Marchenko fished it out before it went over the line. Marchenko with another great defensive play to the side of the net. Evans and Labrie in the middle of a scrum in front went down together and traded a couple of shots along the ice. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Rock 10.
Things really heated up for the Griffin during the overtime session. Miele sprung Pulkkinen for a breakaway, but fired the puck right into Leighton. Pulkkinen returned the favor and hit Miele for a long breakaway, and was robbed by Leighton making a highlight reel save. Paetsch fired a low point shot on net that was gloved by Leighton, stopping the clock and setting up 3-on-3. Paetsch had another great chance right in the slot as the clock ticked down on the end of the extra session. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Rock 1. For the Game: GR 33 - Rock 50.
Mantha made a nice move and tried to slide it past Leighton, but the veteran netminder stayed with him and took away the hole with his leg pad. Carey was the first shooter for the IceHogs and hit Coreau with a drive that deflected high into the air. Miele deked and dazzled but ran out of room and rang a weak shot off Leighton's leg pad. Terevainen went next for Rockford and fired a snap shot that Coreau flashed the glove on to keep the puck out. Pulkkinen tried to beat Leighton with his quick slapshot, but could not beat him. Regin slid the puck in under Coreau to win the shootout in the final round.
Tvrdon - Porter - Zengerle
Callahan/Mantha - Miele - Pulkkinen
Hoggan - Aubry - Bruton
Mantha/Callahan - Nosek - Ferraro
Evans - Sproul
Czarnowczan - Marchenko
Paetsch - Jensen
Athanasiou - Broken Jaw
Callahan - Miele - Pulkkinen
Paetsch - Sproul
Zengerle - Nosek - Mantha
Tvrdon - Czarnowczan
Porter - Callahan
Paetsch - Jensen
Nosek - Ferraro
Evans - Marchenko
The first period was abysmal, it looked like the Griffins were skating in quicksand and Rockford was racing around them for loose pucks like they were orange cones. Without the absolutely stellar play of Coreau it easily would have been a rout. Coreau used his size to push forwards out of his crease and track the puck over the top of players trying to screen him.
Pulkkinen was on all night, credited with 10 shots on goal, and most of them were of the dangerous variety. With an AHL leading 18 in his first 31 games, he is knocking on the door for another NHL audition, he just finds a way to score.
Mantha had another strong game, nice to see him stick up for a teammate when Ferraro got hit from behind. He also is showing some strong chemistry with Nosek and looks very confident, trying all sorts of little moves and is able to make plays in traffic.
Marchenko really stepped up tonight, he was noticeable for the right reasons, and just looked at the top of his game. He played physical, and made a couple of game-changing saves/blocks to keep the puck out of harms way. His mobility also looks to have gotten better as he continues to recover from last years season ending ankle injury.