Streak hits Five as Griffins Roast IceHogs 5-3|
Streets pots pair of goals to pace Griffins...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 5th, 2018
The seventh time was the charm for Grand Rapids as they finally posted a victory against the visiting Rockford IceHogs after losing their first six meetings of the season. The surging Griffins scored early and often on the way to a 5-3 win, their fifth straight win. Ben Street led the way with a pair of goals (4,5), and the Griffins also got tallies from Matt Lorito (11), Eric Tangradi (10) and rookie Dominik Shine (3). Jared Coreau made 33 stops to post his 12th win of the season.
Slow start to the first period without many offensive chances generated by either team. Midway through the first the Griffins took advantage of a powerplay to open the scoring. Nice passing play between Puempel and Hronek to draw the defenders and open up ice in front. Tangradi put a shot on net and Lorito snuck in back door to bury the rebound for his 11th of the season. Delia got caught out of the net and went down, leading to a flurry of chances as the Griffins scrambled to score into the empty cage, but could not convert. Saarijarvi with a big shot that surprised Delia but he managed to make the save. Shots on goal: GR 5 - Rock 6.
Early in the second, Dominik Shine with speed up the wing sniped a shot under the crossbar for a 2-0 lead. Fourteen seconds later Rockford answered back when Saarijarvi didn't take away the pass on a 2-on-1 allowing Iacopelli to victimize Coreau to put the IceHogs on the board. On the next shift Delia wandered out of the net to play the puck and got caught , setting up Street in front of the empty net for an easy goal and a 3-1 lead. A few minutes later Iacopelli notched his second of the game after Cory Elkins blindly threw the puck out in front of his own net and Iacopelli dove and jammed it home under Coreau's pads. Eric Tangradi restored the two goal lead yet again, when he batted it in past a down and out Delia after the netminder stopped the first three shots. The IceHogs again cut the lead to one late in the period when Highmore scored a powerplay goal with Hronek in the box for interference. The Griffins closed out the period with three straight penalties. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Rock 13.
Coreau went out of the net for the puck and fell down, giving the IceHogs a chance at the open net, but the rangy netminder scrambled back and made the save. Hronek and Tangradi two-on-one, Hronek made a great pass to get the puck through the defender to Tangradi, but he couldn't lift it over Delia and into the net. The Griffins ended up with a short 5 on 3 midway through the period, and Street crashed the net and scored his second goal of the game on a bad angle shot just after one of the penalties expired. Hronek carried the puck up ice and made a great pass to spring Street for a chance. The veteran center beat Delia but hit the post. With Rockford pressing, the Griffins took back to back penalties to give the IceHogs a five-on-three powerplay. After a brief timeout, Delia went to the bench for an extra attacker giving the IceHogs six skaters to three. The Griffins penalty killers were up to the chance and even had several good chances at the empty net before time ran out on a 5-3 Griffins victory. Shots on goal: GR 5 - Mil 17. For the game: GR 24 - Mil 36.
GR Went with 11 forwards and 7 defenseman, meaning several players rotated in.
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #73 Puempel
#77 Svechnikov - #25 Holmstrom - #55 Ford
#28 Lorito - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
several players - #47 Elkins - #65 Shine
#20 Renouf - #5 Russo
#18 Lashoff - #9 Saarijarvi/#13 Hronek
#2 Hicketts- #52 McIlrath
Starter: #31 Coreau
Backup: #30 McCollum
#19 Esposito - Scratch
#15 Elson - Illness
#37 Nastasiuk - Scratch
Tangradi -Street - Lorito
Puempel - Hronek
Holmstrom - Ford - Svechnikov
Hicketts - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - McIlrath
Elkins/Street - Ford
Hicketts - Renouf
It looks as if the Griffins have turned a corner, notching their fifth straight win. The life and energy on the bench was apparent, and unlike a few weeks ago, even when the IceHogs scored late to pull close, the team didn't wilt or panic and just went out and got the job done. definitely a marked improvement.
Filip Hronek played a very good game and was involved in the offense all night. he was credited with a pair of assists, but had a third taken away by a scoring change. He and fellow rookie defender Vili Saarijarvi look better every game and seem to be thriving from the competition for ice time.