Mantha's Hat Trick Torpedo's Admirals 4-1
Young gun converts first penalty shot...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 17th, 2016
Grand Rapids played up to level of their competition last night, handing the division leading Milwaukee Admirals a lopsided 4-1 loss. Anthony Mantha notched his first pro hat trick to power the Griffins offense, including Grand Rapids first successful penalty shot in 4 years. Jared Coreau turned in a near perfect game to lead the Griffins over Milwaukee to record his 23rd victory of the year. The Griffins also got a goal from veteran defender Nathan Paetsch in the win.
Mantha got things going early when he stole the puck and went in alone on Mazanec. He was hauled down and awarded a penalty shot that he made the most of. The slick sniper skated in on Mazanec, faked a shot to freeze him, and then lifted the puck in under the crossbar for the first Griffins penalty shot goal since 2012. The Griffins made it 2-0 when Nathan Paetsch's long point shot got past Mazanec with Aubry screening in front, just sliding between his foot and the post, glove side. Grand Rapids buzzing the Milwaukee net late in the period and Fiala grabbed Callahan's protective shield and started yanking it down, touching off a small scrum. Shots on goal: GR 14 - MIL 7.
Joel Chouinard took a big hit to make the play and get the puck safely out of the zone. Steal by Bertuzzi and he worked his way deep into the Admirals zone with speed, circling the net and setting up a great scoring chance. Big hit by Hoggan behind the net as the physical play starts to pick up. Grand Rapids with good pressure and two great scoring chances, one by Sproul who jumped way up into the play. Frk flattened a Milwaukee player along the boards. Fiala going after Callahan's head again behind the play. Mantha in the slot cranked a wicked wrister that beat Mazanec five-hole and then bounced up and clanked in off the crossbar. Off the next face off, the puck appeared to redirect off of Zengerle's skate and into the net, but it was immediately waived off. GR challenged, but it was still ruled no goal. Shots on goal: GR 11 - MIL 9.
Aronson broke the goose egg for Milwaukee somehow scoring on a wraparound despite Jensen diving to cover the side of the net. Colin Campbell with a good chance in front and then a pushing and shoving match when he tried to follow it up for a rebound. Grand Rapids on the powerplay, Mantha came late, gloves the puck out of midair to his stick and smoked a shot past Mazanec to complete the hat trick. Two-on-one Milwaukee, Russo took away the pass, and Coreau stoned the shooter. Mitch Callahan pressuring deep on the forechecking. Tangradi almost extended the lead with a brilliant shot in front that just missed wide. Shots on goal: GR 5 - MIL 14. For the Game: GR 30 - MIL 30.
Bertuzzi - #13 Joakim Andersson - Nosek
Callahan - Miele - Frk
Tangradi - Zengerle - Mantha
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell
Lashoff - Lashoff
Paetsch - Russo
#49 Joel Chouinard - Sproul
#23 Grant - Injury
#32 Hirschfeld - Seizure
Callahan - Miele - Zengerle
Paetsch - Frk
Tangradi - Nosek - Mantha
Russo - Sproul
Aubry - Nosek
Lashoff - Jensen
Andersson - Campbell
Nice to see Mantha with a little snarl and intensity to his game. He has been quietly piling up points, but tonight he made some noise and stepped up to become a focal point. Two of his goals were pure power as he ripped quick, heavy shots from the slot that blazed into the net through the netminder.
Joel Chouinard looked like an AHL veteran tonight in his season home debut. He does a great job of moving the puck quickly and is solid in his own end. His speed and mobility also help him be a very effective blueliner. The team did not miss a beat with him in Ouellet's spot. I am looking forward to seeing more of him.
Joekim Andersson, the team's other newcomer last night played well and used his speed especially on the PK. He looked tired in the latter stages of the game as he is not used to having so much ice time, but he certainly was a factor in the win.