Griffins Lose Goaltending Duel 3-2|
McCollum comes up short in tough loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 10th, 2014
The Griffins ran into a hot netminder in Johan Gustafsson who shut down one of the top offenses in the AHL making 41 saves to give his team a 3-2 win. His counterpart at the other end Thomas McCollum did not have a strong night, giving up three questionable goals en route to his 7th loss. Cory Emmerton and Teemu Pulkkinen scored for the Griffins who carried play for most of the game.
First shift of the game Pulkkinen in the corner hit Emmerton all alone in the slot. Emmerton put a rising shot on Gustafsson and then followed up and batted his own rebound out of mid-air to open the scoring with his 10th.
The wild tied things up six minutes later when McCollum caught a shot and accidently dropped the puck. Bussieres was all alone in front and jammed it into the net to knot the score at 1. Tootoo smoked Baldwin in the corner drawing a crowd of Wild looking for blood. Tootoo took a dumb penalty, cross-checking a player away from the play and leaving his team shorthanded. Later in the period, Tootoo and Baldwin squared off at center ice. Both combatants were throwing punches and landing them, with Tootoo at least earning a draw despite giving up several inches and pounds. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - Iowa 8.
Emmerton was set up for a beauty chance in front but couldn't convert. Then he worked his way back into the slot with the puck for another great chance at point blank range. Midway through the second, McCollum started to come out to play the puck and didn't get back in time allowing McMillan to score a brutal goal short side. Nestrasil had a great scoring opportunity and then came back on the back check and broke up a scoring chance for the Wild. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Iowa 7.
Callahan shorthanded, stole the puck at the line, went in on Gustafsson and made a nifty move to get a dangerous chance. Jurco cut to the net and did a great job of protecting the puck with his body. Pulkkinen came late and fired the puck in behind Gustafsson. Callahan chased down a rebound close to the net igniting a gathering of the clan for some pushing and shoving. The feisty winger had a great chance on the doorstep,and had several pops at the loose puck before being taken down. Late in the third, McCollum made the initial stop, but didn't realize the puck had trickled through and Dowell pounced on it to give the Wild a 3-2 lead. Great individual effort by Pulkkinen to go end to end through the whole Wild team before getting pulled down in the slot. McCollum to the bench on the ensuing powerplay to give Grand Rapids a 6-on-4, but they couldn't get a good chance set up and time ran out on a 3-2 home ice loss to the Iowa Wild. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Iowa 11. For the Game: GR 43 - Iowa 26.
Ferraro - Emmerton - Frk
Jurco - Jarnkrok - Pulkkinen
Callahan - McIntyre - Tootoo
Grant - Nestrasil - Parkes
Paetsch - Almquist
Jensen - Ouellet
Evans - Sproul
Ferraro - Emmerton - Frk
Sproul - Paetsch
Jurco - Jarnkrok - Nestrasil
Pulkkinen - Almquist
Callahan - Jarnkrok
Evans/Jensen - Ouellet
Emmerton - Ferraro
Paetsch - Almquist
Hats off to Martin Frk who had a very good game. He was engaged, had a couple of dangerous scoring chances, and played a ton of ice time on the top line without looking real out of place. He was still a bit behind the play when transitioning zones, and looked gassed every time he went to the bench, but quite an improvement.
Landon Ferraro also looked good. He was involved offensively, really pressuring the net and using his speed to get the puck deep.BR>
Pulkkinen and Jurco were at their slippery best, working the give and go, and making some incredible scoring plays.
Tootoo was a mess tonight, playing a very undisciplined game. His antics are beginning to wear thin, and it is difficult to imagine him having a regular role on this team if it remains championship caliber. He brings energy, but was a detriment tonight.
McCollum looked like the McCollum of old tonight, giving up a couple of brutal goals. The loss wasn't all on him, as the team should have been able to score more with 40 shots, but he needs to bounce back in a big way.
A shout out to Ryan Sproul who sprayed the wild net with chances from his cannon of a shot. They may not have gone in, but he had everyone ducking when he was out.
Another quietly good game for Callahan who just keeps killing penalties and generating scoring chances. Tonight a team high 6 shots on goal, and he went to the net with the puck every chance he got.