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Griffins Get Revenge Exorcise Phantoms 4-0
Larsson stellar in recording league leading 5th shutout...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids took advantage of a hot goaltender to gain a measure of revenge against the Philadelphia Phantoms who had beaten them in OT the previous night. Mattias Ritola (14) led the way offensively tallying a goal and an assist as well as recording 8 shots. Justin Abdelkader (12), Aaron Downey (2) and Ryan Oulahen also scored for the Griffins. The star of the show was Daniel Larsson who made some big saves early to set the tone for his team. The first year netminder made 27 saves for his fifth shutout of the season, one off the team record of six, also recording his 14th win in 19 decisions.

The game started out much like yesterdays game, with one key difference, goaltending. The Griffins got some big saves early and built confidence to finish strong, instead of falling apart in the latter stages of the game. Mattias Ritola opened the scoring midway through the period, taking a Haydar pass as he drifted away from the net, and then letting a bad angle shot go that found a corner. Phantoms defenseman Nate Raduns was sandwiched between two Griffins and went down hard, needing attention from the trainer before being helped from the ice. Shots on Goal: GR 21 - Phi 10.

Leino showed great patience on the powerplay holding on to the puck long enough to open up Abdelkader for a back door pass and a powerplay goal to take a 2-0 lead. Philadelphia tried to turn things up, but Larsson responded with a flurry of incredible saves to keep them off the board. Gagnon had a great chance while shorthanded, just about pulling off a wraparound. Leino set up Downey with a great opportunity, and the gritty winger put a slapshot past Teslak for his second of the season. Tardif was injured shortly after the play and left the bench for repairs, he would return later in the game though. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Phi 9.

Ryan Oulahen put the game away for good late in the third when Kolosov sprung him on a two-on-one with Tardif. Oulahen streaked in and snapped a shot past Teslak stick side. The only thing in doubt after that was whether Larsson would keep the goose egg. He had to work for it, making a couple of dangerous saves in the last few minutes before time ran out. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Phi 8. For the Game: GR 48 - Phi 27.

Leino - Abdelkader - Downey
Oulahen - Helm - Tardif
Lemieux - Pare - McGrath
Ritola - Gagnon - Haydar

Ericsson - Pyett
Stafford - Kolosov
Kindl - Galvin

Starter: Larsson
Backup: Howard

Atherton - Knee

Lemieux - Pare - McGrath
Kindl - Haydar

Ritola - Abdelkader - Leino
Ericsson - Stafford

Oulahen - Helm - Tardif

Helm - Oulahen
Kindl - Galvin

Ritola - Gagnon
Kolosov - Stafford

Leino - Abdlekader


The team really seemed to play better as the game went on, almost a reversal of last nights game.

Daniel Larsson played another strong game and worked hard to earn the shutout. The team definitely seems to play better in front of him, and appear to be more confident in his play.

Jonathan Ericsson had another good outing, not quite as strong as yesterday, but his intensity level was definitely better than it had been lately.

Darren Helm looked like he had a little more life tonight, but remains a step behind where he was earlier in the year.

Pare had some good chances, but the usually hot line of Pare-Lemieux and McGrath was quite tonight.

Ville Leino may not have world class wheels, but he does have world class hands and hockey sense. He was on tonight, dangling the puck and making some sick passes to teammates in scoring position.

I also have to point out another strong game by Ryan Oulahen who has turned up his play the last few games at both ends of the ice. If he can maintain this level, he could put himself back on Detroit's radar.

It's nice to see Abdelkader starting to find the scoresheet again. After a long drought he has 4 points in his last 3 games including his first two goals in 10 games.

Official Game Sheet