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Charlotte Stifles Griffins Offense in 2-1 Loss
Svechnikov nets lone goal for Griffins
By Jason Kasiorek
January 6th, 2017

The visiting Charlotte Checkers ended an impressive undefeated streak for the Grand Rapids Griffins, shutting down their vaunted offensive game and clipping them for a 2-1 win. The Griffins, playing without leading scorer Matt Lorito and defensive leader Brian Lashoff fell behind early and were unable to break through for a timely goal despite outshooting Charlotte 14-2 in the third period. Evgeny Svechnikov notched the Griffins only goal his 9th, a powerplay marker in the second period. Cal Heeter was solid between the pipes, making 23 of 25 saves for his first loss as a Griffin.

Nice play by Dylan Sadowy to reach around a defender, poke the puck away, and step around him, just about pulling off a sick scoring chance. Robertson fired a shot through traffic past a partially screened Cal Heeter to open the scoring. A couple of minutes later Lowe dished to Dwyer who had gotten a step on Svechnikov. Dwyer snapped a shot past Heeter to extend the lead to two. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Char 8

The Griffins finally got on the board early in the second period thanks to a Robertson interference penalty leading to a powerplay. Tyler Bertuzzi zipped a pass cross-ice to Evgeny Svechnikov in the circle. Svechnikov rifled a shot in past Altshuller , stick-side, for his 9th of the season. Charlotte had a near miss on their own powerplay with the shot clinking off the post behind Heeter. Svechnikov with a great chance in front, but he fanned on it. Zykov shot in on net and collided with Heeter, knocking him to his knees and the net off the moorings. Joe Hicketts was the last man back, wasn't able to corral the puck, so he had to take down a Charlotte player to prevent a breakaway. Great shorthanded chance by Mitch Callahan and then Tomas Nosek. Grand Rapids caught a break when Lowe double-clutched on a loose puck staring into the wide-open side of the net behind Heeter. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Char 15.

Dwyer beat Nosek back to a clearing attempt for a point blank shorthanded chance, but Heeter came up huge. Nice effort on the backcheck by Sadowy, showing off some nifty hands. Callahan crashed the net looking for a rebound and got smoked by Brown. Bertuzzi with speed up the middle and Martin Frk, the trailer, ended up with a fantastic chance. Grand Rapids is peppering the net with shots, really generating scoring chances. Dan Renouf snuck into the circle for a big shot.Frk with a bullet that hit the post and stayed out. Heeter tried to get to the bench for the extra attacker, but had to hurry back as Charlotte regained possession. Griffins timeout then Heeter to the bench for a 6-on-5. Bertuzzi fought his way in with the puck and then was hooked down with no call. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Char 2. For the Game: GR 34 - Char 25.

Frk - Nosek- Bertuzzi
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Ford - Criscuolo - Svechnikov
Sadowy - Aubry - Turgeon

Renouf - Russo
Caito - Allen
Paetsch - Hicketts

Starter: Heeter
Backup: Pasquale

#11 Cleary - Veteran
#18 Lashoff - Injured
#21 Borkowski
#28 Lorito - Injured
#45 Campbell - Injured

Callahan - Nosek - Tangradi
Frk - Street

Ford - Criscuolo - Svechnikov
Bertuzzi - Russo

Callahan - Street
Renouf - Russo

Turgeon - Aubry
Paetsch - Allen

Nosek - Ford


The checkers play a defensive style that slows the game down and clogs up the middle meaning most of the game is played in the neutral zone. The Griffins were not able to solve Altshuller again despite putting a siege on the net in the third period and the Griffins fell to the last place Checkers.

While we won't speak to the obvious effect that having Brain Lashoff and Matt Lorito out of the lineup had on the game, we will talk about the players that drew in to replace them. Matt Caito in particular had a good game. He showed off his skating and was noticeable (for the right reasons) at both ends of the ice, generating 4 shots on goal and taking care of business in his own end. Only an incredibly deep Griffins blueline stands in front of him being able to earn more ice time. Matt Ford and Dylan Sadowy came back in up front as Lorito and Borkowski came out. Ford had a hand in the Griffins only goal and played a gritty game along the boards, while Dylan Sadowy didn't play much, but looked much more intense and shined defensively.

Conor Allen saw an increase in responsibility as he moved up the depth chart with Lashoff out. He was very effective especially on the penalty kill where he was directing traffic in the Griffins zone to key clears and breakouts.

Official Game Sheet