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Senators' Road Warriors Rally Past Griffins 4-3 in Shootout
Cholowski notches a goal in losing effort...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 18th, 2020

The Griffins, riding a five-game point streak, welcomed the Belleville Senators, the AHL's best road team to Van Andel arena Saturday night. The Griffins outplayed the Sens for most of the game, firing 46 shots on goal but could not hold off a late rally that forced overtime and eventually a shootout loss 4-3. Grand Rapids got goals from Dominik Shine (4), Dennis Cholowski (2) and Evgeny Svechnikov (6) in the losing effort along with a shootout goal from Chris Terry. Kevin Poulin was solid between the pipes, making 27 saves before falling in the skill-competition.

McIlrath with a big hit was whistled off for boarding early, but the Griffins penalty killers kept the game scoreless. The physical game was very apparent as Moritz Seider had a couple of big open ice hits also. Dominik Shine with a big blast from the circle that Daccord juggled before making the save. Belleville looking very fast, great speed through the neutral zone, but Grand Rapids doing a good job of closing off lanes and keeping the puck deep in the Senators zone. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Bel 3.

Super play by Tyler Spezia in front, he got position, stopped short and put a point-blank shot on Daccord. Shine at the edge of the circle drilled a shot behind Daccord for a 1-0 Griffins lead. Shorthanded 2-on-1 for Belleville, but they fired the puck wide. Poulin go hit in the crease and bowled over turning the powerplay into a 5-on-3 advantage. The Griffins got caught standing around watching as Kelly capped off a nice play, skating through the Griffins zone untouched and ripped the puck in off the post, low, glove-side for a shorthanded goal to tie the game at one each. The rest of the powerplay was just as brutal as Grand Rapids had no good chances and little pressure. Dennis Cholowski with a nice scoring chance, flying around the net for a dangerous wraparound chance. Joe Hicketts made an incredible play at the line, taking a hit to make a play, clear the puck and spring Pearson on a breakaway. Pearson was taken down and no call! The Senators ended up taking an elbowing penalty a few minutes later, leading to another Griffins powerplay. Matt Puempel in front with a great chance and then Ras with a quick snap-shot in close. Cholowski gave the Griffins the lead when his cannon from the line went right up the gut and beat a screened Daccord. Shots on goal: GR 23 - Bel 9.

Belleville into the zone with numbers and speed, but Poulin kicked his pad to take away a great chance. Veleno and Elson with several quick shots on Daccord right in front. Another odd-man rush for Belleville, but Cholowski last man back took away the pass and the opportunity. Evgeny Svechnikov, nice play, circled the net and came out in front with his back to the netminder, backhanding the puck into the open side of the cage for a 3-1 lead. Slick play by Hirose to pass the puck to an open spot on the ice, jump into the gap and create a scoring chance. Belleville pressing just pass the midway point of the third and a long point shot by Brannstrom was redirected past Poulin by Klimchuk. Logan Brown drove through three Griffins defenders and hit Carcone, who skated across the front of the net, froze Poulin and slid the puck past him for a 3-3 tie. Nice burst of speed by Michael Rasmussen to surprise the defender and create something out of nothing. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Bel 14.

Belleville nice pick to box out the Griffins defender and allow the puck carrier to walk right in on net. Poulin had to come up with a huge stop. Breakaway by Rasmussen, but he rang a shot off the post. The puck went right back down ice and Poulin had to be sharp on another quality scoring chance. Turner Elson with speed, shot up the wing, cut in on net, and lost his footing before he could get the shot off. Yet another Belleville 2-on-1 and Puling somehow came up with another big save. Puempel at the end of a shift had a full-on breakaway, hit the post in the same spot as Rasmussen and the puck lay in the crease behind Daccord. Shots on Goal: GR 2 - Bel 4. For the game: GR 46- Bel 31.

Chris Terry was the first skater in the shootout, cutting in on net with speed, deking and then going top shelf for a 1-0 lead. Josh Norris followed for the Senators and missed the net on his attempt. Joe Veleno shot in on net and tried to go five-hole, but Daccord closed the pads for the stop. Abramov returned the favor, rocketing a shot in and out of the net between Poulin's legs. Matt Puempel led off the third round, firing a shot off the netminders arm, then Brown won the game, freezing Poulin and scoring for a 2-1 edge. Griffins still earn a point for the sixth straight game but drop a heartbreaker 4-3.

#17 Hirose - #90 Veleno - #73 Puempel/#37 Svechnikov
#15 Elson - #27 Rasmussen - #25 Terry
#32 Spezia - #22 Pearson - #65 Shine
#55 Matt Ford - #23 Turgeon - #37 Svechnikov/#73 Puempel

#44 Cholowski - #52 McIlrath
#18 Lashoff - #5 Lindstrom
#2 Hicketts - #53 Seider

Starter: #34 Poulin
Backup: #35 Nagle

#10 MacLeod
#14 Lukosevicius
#21 Kuffner
#26 Tangradi - Injured
#29 McCrea
#30 Larsson - Injured
#36 Wood


#73 Puempel - #27 Rasmussen - #25 Terry
#44 Cholowski - #17 Hirose

#37 Svechnikov - #90 Veleno - #55 Ford
#2 Hicketts - #53 Seider

#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon
#18 Lashoff - #52 McIlrath

#90 Veleno - #22 Pearson
#2 Hicketts - #5 Lindstrom


The Griffins dominated most of the game and probably deserved a better fate. A huge lapse that allowed a shorthanded goal was costly, and you could feel the game slipping away late in the third as the Griffins sat back on their lead and allowed Belleville back in. Poulin played a great game and it was tough to see him lose another one that he deserved to win.

For all of the negative reporting on Dennis Cholowski's regression, he played a very good game tonight, with very few unforced errors. He seemed to do a lot better when he had less time to think about the play. Hopefully this is the start of something good from him.

Official Game Sheet