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Griffins Rally Can't Overcome Five Goal First Period
Five Goals on Seven Milwaukee Shots in Record Tying Period...
By Jason Kasiorek

What a comeback! Almost... After an abysmal goaltending display in the first which saw starter Adam Berkhoel give up four goals on the first five Admiral shots, people were heading for the exits at Van Andel Arena. Those that stuck around however, saw one of the best comebacks this team has put together in a long time, scoring four unanswered goals in the second to make a game out of it. Young guns Oulahen and McGrath each added a goal and an assist, while Tardif and Stafford each added single markers.

Grand Rapids did not play a bad first period, it's just that every shot ended up in their net. Niskala got the admirals on the board five minutes in, and then scored his second five minutes later, putting Gr in a 2-0 hole. Five minutes later, another admirals shot, another admirals goal as O'Reilly made it 3-0. Less than a minute later Ellison made a little move in front and easily slid the puck past Berkhoel, 4 goals on 5 shots. That was the end of the period for Berkhoel who went to the bench in favor of Cody Rudkowsky. He didn't fare much better, stopping the first shot he faced and then giving up the fifth goal on a two on one with the shooter putting the puck over his shoulder from the circle. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Mil 7.

Berkhoel back between the pipes to start the second. Oulahen finally got Grand Rapids on the board just under two minutes in with a shot from the slot that beat Daigneault low, glove side on the powerplay. A minute later McGrath took a bad angle shot as he went behind the net, but it founds its way through for a goal. The Griffins made it 5-3 on the powerplay midway through the period when stafford one times a Hartigan pass from the circle past Daigneault. Milwaukee changed goalies, putting in all-star Pekka Rinne. Thirty seconds later Tardif barreled in to the net, picked up a rebound and jammed it home for another powerplay goal. at this point Grand Rapids was in control, playing aggressively and keeping the puck in the Admirals end. Wilson got more than he bargained for when he picked a fight with Ericsson, who put a hurt on him before being tied up. On the next play, Henry tried to get at Hartigan, but McCarty pulled him out and god several good blows in before losing his footing. Shots on Goal: GR 18 - Mil 7.

The Griffins came out flat in the third period, standing around and unable to get the puck out of their end. Berkhoel stopped the initial shot on the sixth goal, but the rebound lay in the crease where Guerriero pounced on it and jammed it home. A griffins penalty at the two minute mark effectively put the capper on things, but Berkhoel still went to the bench with 30 seconds on the clock for the extra attacker. For the Game: GR 43 - Lake Erie 22.

Hartigan - Oulahen - McCarty
Helm - Cullen - Corazzini
Tardif - McGrath - Lemieux/Redenbach
Oulahen/Lemieux/Tardif - Redenbach - Gelech

Kinley - Ericsson
Insana - Kindl
Stafford - Galvin

Starter: Berkhoel
Backup: Rudkowsky

Ference - wrist

Helm - Cullen - Corazzini
Stafford - Kindl

Redenbach - Hartigan - McCarty
Kinley - Ericsson

Corazzini - Cullen
Stafford - Ericsson

Oulahen - Tardif
Insana - Galvin

Helm - Hartigan


While I was impressed with Berkhoel tightening up in the second and third periods, his awful performance in the first was impossible to overcome. Hopefully Howard is back soon, because I don't have much confidence long term with Berkhoel in the net.

The second period comeback was a much life and spirit as I have seen out of this team all season. I am sure that it is attributable to having some vocal leadership in the room (read McCarty), but I hope to see more of it.

Official Game Sheet