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Rivermen Surge Past Griffins 6-4
Defense miscues in third doom Griffins...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids led the game three different times, but in the end, giveaways and defensive breakdowns cost them the game. Mark Hartigan had two goals for Grand Rapids who also got tallies from Corazzini and Cullen in a losing effort. Griffins netminder Adam Berkhoel, making the start in place of injured all-star Jimmy Howard, made some big stops early but had no chance at the end.

The Griffins got off to a rocky start, giving Peoria several good chances early on, thanks to some awful giveaways. Galvin put the puck on net where an opportunistic Corazzini slipped it home, putting the Griffins on the board. Five minutes later Drazenovic picked up a turnover at the line, blazed in on Berkhoel and lasered a shot over his shoulder, stick side, to tie the game at one. GR 5 - Peo 9.

Cullen put GR back in the lead early in the 2nd when he converted a pass in the slot from Meech past Schwarz. Hartigan made it 3-1 a few minutes later on a great play. He faked a shot, walked around the defenseman, went behind the net and banked a shot off Schwarz and in. Berkhoel coming up big with some huge saves. Grand Rapids is in control of the game at this point, spending most of the period in the Rivermen zone. Stastny drew Peoria within one late in the period, pouncing on a loose puck and snapping two quick shots, the second of which found its way over Berkhoel. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Peo 11.

Hartigan coughed up the puck right in front of his own net. Lemtyugov picked it up and chipped it into the net past Berkhoel to tie the game at three. Hartigan made up for it a few minutes later, finishing off a pretty tic-toe-toe passing play. Corazzini went cross-ice to Ericsson who fed it to Hartigan cutting in front of the net. Mark snapped it past Schwarz glove side to restore the lead again. Ten Seconds later Drazenovic scored his second of the game to knot the score at 4. Stastny gave the Rivermen their first lead of the game, with 3 and a half minutes to go, spinning around in the circle and sliding the puck past a partially screened Berkhoel. Peoria put the nail in the coffin less than a minute later with Wagner scoring on another screened shot. Berkhoel to the bench for the extra attacker with :45 on the clock. Tardif broke a stick and the bench tried to throw him a new one, drawing a bench minor and negating the extra attacker. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Peo 7.For the Game: GR 24 - Peo 27.

Oulahen - Cullen - Engelhardt
Ritola - Hartigan - Corazzini
Clark/Engelhardt/Keefe - McGrath - Tardif
Gelech - Cullen/Hartigan - Keefe

Quincey - Meech
Ericsson - Insana
Kindl - Galvin

Starter: Berkhoel
Backup: #35 David McKee

Ference - wrist
Stafford - Charley Horse
Howard - Finger

Tardif - Hartigan - Cullen
Quincey - Meech

Oulahen - Cullen - Engelhardt
Ericsson - Kindl

Hartigan - Corazzini
Ericsson - Insana


Brutal meltdown, the team has to tighten up and cut back on the turnovers.

Kyle Quincey played perhaps his best game of the season - or longer. he was physical, poised, and made things happen when he was on the ice.

Ritola played another good game. He was robbed on breakaway, hooked dwn on what probably could have been a penalty shot. What really stood out was watching him block shots at the line.

Official Game Sheet