Minard's Hat Trick Ices Icehogs 5-2|
Veteran sniper keys offensive explosionÉ
By Jason Kasiorek
January, 28th, 2011
The big news for tonights game was the return of Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak and Tomas Tatar to the Griffins lineup after being re-assigned by the parent Red Wings. But the story ended up being about slumping veteran Chris Minard breaking out for a hat trick, and third string goalie Jordan Pearce staking his claim on the number one job with another impressive win. The Griffins kept up with Rockford, perhaps the fastest team in the AHL, and at times outskated them in a blisteringly fast pace game featuring end to end action. Ilari Filppula ended the night with a goal and two assists, while Pare and Meech each added a pair of helpers. Jordan Pearce made 39 stops to record his fourth win in his last six starts while lowering his GAA to 2.10 during that span with a .938 save percentage.
Rockford got on the board five and a half minutes in on the powerplay. Potulny got a great pass from Taffe back door and slid it in behind Pearce. Keefe and Beach had a little scrum, probably to be continued later. Tatar on a two-on-one with Filppula, Tatar ripped a wicked wrister past Richards to tie the score at one. Rockford regained the lead with another powerplay marker with four minutes remaining on the clock. Mursak drew a penalty giving Grand Rapids the man advantage and then a delayed penalty sent Pearce to the bench. Minard jousting in front of the net and filppula in the corner with the puck. Filppula threw it at the front of the net through traffic and it pinballed in behind Richards to knot the score again. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Rock 18.
Minard in front screening Richards, got the puck and banged it home low glove side for the lead. Andersson had to be helped off the ice and went straight to the room. He did eventually return. Keefe went toe-to-toe with Hagel along the boards, giving as well or better than he got before going down. Amadio smoked Makarov with a huge open ice hit. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Rock 8.
Pearce was saved by the post as a close in shot beat him but hit the pipe and came back out. Minard cruising through the slot picked up the puck and chipped it over Richards and into the net. Richards to the bench for an extra skater in the dying minute of the game. Tatar stole the puck at the line and just missed the empty netter. Off the next face-off Filppula fed Minard for a couple of chances and the hat trick. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Rock 15. For the Game: GR 33 - Rock 41.
Emmerton - Tardif - Mursak
Owens - Johnson - Pare
Straub - Andersson - Keefe
Tatar - Filppula - Minard
Janik - Meech
Amadio - Lashoff
Meech - Pyett
Raedeke - injury
Smith - shoulder
Minard - Filppula - Tatar
Pare - Meech
Owens/Tardif - Andersson
Janik - Pyett
Johnson - Filppula
Kolosov - Meech
Great game by Grand Rapids and a very deserving win. I can't believe the pace of this game, one of the fastest and most exciting I have seen in a long time. Very nice to see Minard get untracked and Pearce was solid if not spectacular only giving up two powerplay goals on 41 shots.
Filppula was not as noticeable at even strength most of the game because of the speed, but was still deadly with the man advantage. Big night for the finnish forward.
Tardif looked good in his return to the lineup buzzing around the ice and playing strong around the net. he also showed some nice chemistry with Emmerton on the give and go plays.
Tatar looked like he had been shot out of a cannon. He was brimming with confidence and played a strong game. It was funny when he bulldogged an IceHogs player all the way down the ice singlehandedly and then stole the puck. Wow! His time in Detroit apparently did him well.
Kudos to Minard who did a great job of keeping the puck out of harms way and broke out for a hat trick, nearly doubling his output for the season. he looked very dangerous around the net tonight.
Great game for Greg Amadio who did all of the little things to get the win and was his usual trucculent self.
The whole team played well, and I am sure I am missing someone important as I had notes next to most players names on my sheet.