Griffins Five Goal Third Demolishes Amerks|
Lemieux's second hat trick keys offensive surge...
By Jason Kasiorek
After playing down to the level of their competition the first two periods, the Griffins' potent offense switched on and buried the visiting Rochester Americans in a flurry of third period goals. Francis Lemieux led the way with his second hat trick of the season, but the home team also got strong offensive performances from Ryan Oulahen (2 goals), Sergei Kolosov (2 goals), Evan McGrath (4 assists), Frankie Pare (3 assists) and Darren Helm (1 goal, 2 assists). The Amerks battled back three times to tie the score, but couldn't keep up against the onslaught. Netminder Daniel Larsson had a rare off night between the pipes, but still held on to make 30 saves for his 16th win of the season.
Oulahen opened the scoring three minutes into the first with an easy tap in past Brodeur. The Americans tied things up a few minutes later when Stewart let a shot go through traffic that bounced around and past Larsson. The Griffins don't seem to have the spark again tonight, as Rochester is playing us much closer than they should be, it could be another long night. Downey to the box with a four minute highsticking minor, but GR manages to kill it off despite some good chances by Rochester. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Roc 11.
Amerks all-star goalie Brodeur is not back to start the second as he suffered a groin injury, so the Griffins favorite sieve Chris Beckford-Tseu is in to replace him. Early in the second, Lemeiux restored the lead when he snuck in from the corner and snuck a shot in over Beckford-Tseu's shoulder. Rochester battled back to tie the score again five minutes later when Larman let a shot go from the top of the circle that seemed to dip and confuse Larsson before going in. Ericsson came out of the box and was sprung on a breakaway. He beat the Rochester goalie but hit the post and the puck stayed out. Helm put Grand Rapids back on top late in the period with an unassisted powerplay goal. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Roc 12.
A Griffins turnover early in the third led to a scoring chance on Larsson who gave up a soft goal to Carlson to tie things up. Shortly after, Oulahen wired a shot over Beckford-Tseu for the lead and his second goal of the game. Jamie Tardif dropped the gloves with Stewart just shy of the halfway point of the period. The two grappled with Tardif getting in a few good shots. Stewart unloaded a couple at the end, and they both went to the ice. This bout seemed to energize the Griffins and the next 10 minutes would be quite a show. On the next shift Pare on the rush slid the puck across the crease to Lemieux who tapped it home for his second of the contest. Kolosov made it 6-3 when he fired a blooper from the circle that arced in over Beckford-Tseu's shoulder. The Americans tried to rally one more time, with Haydar in the box, Repik struck with a powerplay goal to cut the lead to two. Time running out in the game and Rochesters goalie on the bench for the extra attacker. Pare in on the empty net, instead dishes to Lemeieux who scores to complete the hat trick. The Griffins got a late powerplay with 11 seconds left on the clock, and they took advantage of it. Kolosov scored his second of the game when his point shot found it's way through traffic with 6 seconds left on the clock. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Roc 11. For the Game: GR 39 - Roc 34.
Oulahen - Helm - Tardif
Lemieux - Pare - McGrath
Ritola - Emmerton - Haydar
Mursak - Gagnon - Downey
Kindl - Galvin
Kolosov - Stafford
Ericsson - Pyett
Lemieux - Pare - McGrath
Haydar - Stafford
Oulahen - Helm - Mursak
Kolosov - Pyett
Oulahen - Gagnon
Helm - Ritola
Kolosov - Stafford
Oulahen - Haydar
Larsson didn't have a great night between the pipes. He was lucky to get the win, because a couple of those goals were ugly. We will chalk that up to not playing a meaningful game in over a week.
What a great night by Kolosov! As mention in yesterdays game recap, he really looks like a different player the last few games. Aside form the unexpected offensive output, he also was much more involved in the play and looks very confident. He was playing physical last night and put the body on several Amerks players along the boards.
Oulahen continues his excellent play with yet another strong game. He is playing prime minutes with quality wingers and is beginning to put up some nice numbers. The great news is that he hasn't sacrificed his ait-tight defensive game.
Great to see the two Frankie's line clicking again. Lemeiux is a lucky guy to recieve those Pare setup's, and skilled enough to convert the chances.