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Griffins Suffer Monumental Collapse - Fall to Rivermen 5-3
Peoria scores five unanswered goals in the second...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids just keeps finding new ways to lose, tonight blowing a 3 goal lead to fall 5-3 to the visiting Peoria Rivermen. The Griffins started out hot, running up a three goal lead on tallies from Emmerton, Tardif and Pyett. Then the wheels fell off in the second and the Rivermen scored five unanswered goals, including three in a minute and fifteen second span. Thomas McCollum made 24 saves in absorbing his 12th loss of the season.

The Griffins came out of the gate with some energy for a change, and had Peoria back on its heels. Newbury picked off a clearing attempt and went in alone on Toivonen but couldn't pull the trigger. Late in the period Emmerton was the late man and followed up a Ritola shot, picked up the juicy rebound and roofed it over Toivonen for the lead. Newbury, in a surly mood the last few games, dropped the gloves with Fletcher in front of the Rivermen bench and unloaded on him. The gritty winger absolutely floored Fletcher with a flurry of blows. Tardif made it 2-0 with his 12th of the campaign, tipping in a Janik point shot on the powerplay with just over two minutes left in the period. Tempers flared as the period went on with lots of little scrums breaking out at the whistle. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Peo 4.

Logan Pyett made it 3-0 just over a minute into the second when he snuck in and let a shot go from the top of the circle that hit Toivonen's pads and squeezed through five-hole. The goal was the surging blueliner's 8th of the season, tops on the team, and a share of the top spot in defense scoring on the team with 24 points. Cam Paddock broke the goose egg for Peoria around the four minute mark when he stroked a shot through traffic that beat McCollum high. The Griffins were doing a good job of cycling the puck in deep, mostly the Tatar - Mursak line. McCollum made a couple of big saves on a Peoria 5-on-3 advantage, but the Rivermen eventually broke through. Eller made it 3-2 when he rifled a shot from the circle over McCollum. Thirty-one seconds later Sonne tied the score with a shot right off the face-off. Fourty-four seconds later Porter notched another one past McCollum and the team completely imploded. Sonne would complete the damage with a powerplay goal with just 38.4 on the clock in the second, capping off five unanswered goals. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Peo 19.

Pare had a great scoring chance on a 4-on-3 powerplay and got smoked in front for his effort. This of course touched off a big scrum in front with the truculent Newbury dropping the gloves with Stastny and both of them earning 4 minute roughing penalties. The Griffins killed off another 5-on-3 powerplay and were starting to show a little life again. Mitch Love was really working over Mursak pretty good along the boards until Tardif went over to intervene. Kindl coughed up the puck at center ice, sending Pelletier in on a breakaway. McCollum to the bench for the extra attacker, but Peoria ends up with the puck and starts a rush. Abdelkader broke it up by hitting Drazenovic with a huge hit. Drazenovic took exception and dropped the gloves. Abdelkader, who had been the victim of several cheap shots during the game, held on for a few minutes before going down. This left the Griffins with a 6-on-4 advantage for the rest of the game. Ritola had a great chance in close, touching off another scrum. The Griffins could not get another one and fall yet again. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Peo 6. For the Game: GR 30 - Peo 29.

Newbury - Pare - Williams
Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif
Tatar - Rissmiller - Mursak
Vigilante - Emmerton - McGrath

Kindl - Pyett
Janik - Ehrhardt
Janik/Crosty - Delmore

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Larsson


Tatar - Rismiller - Mursak
Kindl - Pyett

Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif
Janik - Williams

Ritola - Abdelkader
Janik - Pyett

Newbury - Williams
Delmore/Ehrhardt - Kindl

Vigilante - Emmerton

Three Stars:
3 Porter - Peo
2 Tardif - GR
1 Sonne - Peo


It would be to easy to talk about what is not working so I will instead focus on the positive.

The line of Tatar-Rissmiller-Mursak was really doing a good job of keeping the puck in deep. Mursak and Tatar in particular seem to have no fear taking the puck to the net.

I also thought the addition of Tardif to the Rito-Abdelkader combo really showed some good things as well. Nice to see the captain find the range and get some offense going.

Logan Pyett continues to impress, and had another good game at both ends. His goal was impressive, but so was the shot he batted out of midair in front of the net and down the ice while on the PK.

It seems the longer his scoring slump continues, the feistier Newbury gets. he has looked very short tempered the last couple of games. Maybe it is the cheesy mustache.

Official Game Sheet