Griffins Smoke Marlies 6-3|
Six Players Score In Victory...
By Jason Kasiorek
Stefan Liv was not supposed to play again until after the all-star break, as he rested a groin injury suffered in practice on Thursday. But after watching the team struggle with shaky goaltending from Dominic Vicari in his absence on Friday, he surprised everyone by proclaiming himself able to start against the Marlies. He turned in a 30 save gem to give his team a much needed win and notch his eight win of the season. The Griffins got goals from six different players including newcomer Jamie Tardif who scored his first career AHL goal and added an assist.
The Griffins looked very determined from the opening whisle, methodically clearing the zone and then banging on the forecheck to create chances. Jamie Tardif had a huge hit in the circle that sent a Marlies player flying. Grand Rapids got on the board at 7:02 of the first when Hussey sent a cross crease pass to a waiting Oulahen who tapped it into the open side of the net, stick-side. Six and a half minutes later Bootland scored his 13th of the season to increase the lead to two. Miller hit Booter with a pass, and he cruised in on net and wristed a shot under Racine's arm, glove-side. It became 3-0 28 seconds later when Campbell took a shot on net that bounced off Racine, and the rebound flopped down next to him. Barney Crashed the net and chipped it in, stick side, for his third of the campaign. Shots on goal GR 13 - Tor 12.
GR picked up where it left off, starting the second with a lot of jump. Radunske almost made it 4-0 when he showed off his quick hands around the net, getting 4 pokes at the puck before jamming it home, but the whistle had already gone. The Marlies caught a break on their first goal when Danny Syvret tried to corral an errant puck and ended up deflecting it into his own net with his foot past a surprised Liv. The tempo continues to grow ina feisty, chippy game. Grand Rapids was not backing down, and crashing the net on every chance. Lots of pushing and shoving in front of the net. One of the scrums ended up with Smith dropping the gloves and landing a couple on Nash in a wrestling match before being separated. Westrum cut the lead to one goal when he found an opening on the PP, streaked in on Liv and let a rocket go that cleanly beat him high, glove-side. Rookie Jamie Tardif restored a two-goal cushion when he shot down the wing and rifled a shot on Racine. He then followed up the play while sliding on the ice and poked in his own rebound , stick-side low for his first AHL goal. Shots on goal GR 11 - Tor 8.
Toronto stepping it up in the 3rd period, more hitting, more intensity, but they were too aggressive - leaving themselves open to turnovers. The Griffins had several great chances on turnovers. Nearly half way through the period, the Marlies pulled with in one on another goal by Westrum. D'amour took a shot from the point that knuckleballed through traffic to the net where Westrum tipped it past Liv. Westrum boarded Ericsson a few minutes later, leaving the hulking defenseman down on the ice for awhile. He eventually made his way to the bech under his own power, and didn't miss a shift. With a minute sixteen left on the clock, Oulahen found Himelfarb in the circle, and he snapped a shot that hit Racine and deflected up into the top of the net to make it 5-3. In the last minute Toronto pulled the goalie for an extra attacker, but Oulahen intercepted the puck and took off on the empty net. He dished to Hussey for the empty netter to seal the win 6-3. Shots on goal GR 15 - Tor 13 for the Game GR 39 -Tor 33.
Hussey - Miller - Oulahen
Radunske - Himelfarb/Miller - Brooks
Tardif/Barney - Ellis/Oulahen - Bootland
Barney - Himelfarb - Campbell
Tardif - Ellis - Campbell
Syvret - Norton/Insana
Smith - Meech
Ericsson - Insana/Norton
Backup: #31 Clayton Pool
Miller - Ellis - Bootland/Tardif
Ericsson - Hussey
Barney - Himelfarb - Campbell
Syvret - Meech
Oulahen - Ellis
Smith - Meech
Hussey - Himelfarb
Norton - Ericsson
Tardif - Campbell
Howard - Injured
Quincey - Injured
Keller - Injured
Great night by Tardif; he looks even better than in camp, really showing off his skill and nose for the net. If he can keep playing like this, sign him up.
Brendan Brooks and Matt Hussey both looked like different players, using the extra ice time well, and being more involved than in recent games. Both plyers had a lot of jump and were blazing around the ice creating chances. Keep up the good work.
Matt Ellis was in the right place at the right time all night. He was unbelievable on the PK, and had even more jump after his latest recall, much like Hussey.
Norton had another tough game, with several glaring giveaways, luckily he was bailed out by his defense partner Ericsson. Another crowning moment of his night was when he argued a call and drew an extra two minutes in the box.
Dan Smith had a good game and was particularly fiesty and trucculent, almost dropping the gloves several times. He stood up the Marlies at the line and finished +3.
Official Game Sheet