Wolves Whitewash Griffins 3-0|
Chicago spoils Abdelkader's season debut...
By Jason Kasiorek
Hopes were high with West Michigan native son Justin Abdelkader in the Griffins lineup for the first time this season. Unfortunately for the home crowd, the Chicago Wolves played the role of spoiler, scoring three unanswered goals to send the Griffins to a 3-0 loss. Daniel Larsson made 22 saves, keeping the Wolves off the scoreboard for the first half of the game, on the way to absorbing his 15th loss of the season. The game marked the 5th straight loss for Grand Rapids who are now 7 points out of the last playoff spot in the division.
The Griffins came out hard, playing a more aggressive game than usual with centerpiece Abdelkader leading the way. Larsson stood on his head, turning in some great saves, especially on the PK late in the period. Grand Rapids was not able to solve Mannino despite several quality chances. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Chi 7.
The Griffins got into penalty trouble in the second, slowing down the pace and sapping their momentum. Crabb finally broke the deadlock halfway through the game when he shook his man at the side of the net and slid a rebound in back door on Larsson. The Griffins seemed to sag at this point and their play fell off the longer they couldn't score on Mannino. The Wolves had a great second period, but the Griffins lost a lot of life. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Chi 7.
The Wolves took over in the third with Machacek picking up the puck in front during a scramble and burying it. Five minutes later Sterling was awarded a penalty shot but Larsson came out of the net and took the puck away, not allowing a shot. The Griffins were pressing but couldn't get much going. Larsson was called to the bench with 1:21 left on the clock for the extra attacker. Fraser called a timeout with 25 seconds left, but Chicago got control and fired the puck into the empty net to ice the game. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Chi 11. For the Game: GR 32 - Chi 25.
Vigilante - Newbury - Pare
Ritola - #19 Abdelkader - #20 Williams
Tatar - Rissmiller - Mursak
Emmerton - McGrath - Tardif
Kindl - Pyett
Kolosov - Janik
Ehrhardt - Delmore
Crosty - Scratch
Tatar - Newbury - Pare
Janik - Delmore
Ritola - Abdelkader - Williams/Tardif
Kindl - Pyett/Williams
Rissmiller - Mursak/Vigilante
Kolsov - Janik
Ritola - Abdelkader
Kindl - Pyett
Vigilante - Newbury
Emmerton - Tardif
3 Machacek - Chi
2 Crabb - Chi
1 Mannino - Chi
You can tell how little confidence this team has right now. They started out great and at the first sign of adversity, pulled back and let Chicago take it to them.
Newbury was noticeable early, then disappeared after a pair of penalty calls.
Mursak was dangerous around the net and in the corners. He was not afraid to throw a hit or take one to make a play.
Ritola had the puck on a string all night, but Abdelkader and Williams could not cash in on the great setups.
Abdelkader was physical all night but looked like he was trying to find his place, and his wind especially the second half of the game.
Tatar was hard to stop when he put his head down and went to the net.
Larsson was great early and did a stellar job stopping sniper Sterling's penalty shot. He deserved better.
Congrats to Sergei Kolosov who was named to the Belarussian Olympic team this morning.