Callahan Leads Revenge Rout of Checkers 5-2
Gritty winger nets a pair of goals in victory...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 20th, 2016
Just a day after losing 4-2 to the visiting Checkers, Grand Rapids got its revenge and extended their lead to 3 points in the battle for 4th place in the Central division. After going down by two goals, captain Jeff Hoggan rallied his troops, who scored five unanswered goals to rout Charlotte 5-2. Mitch Callahan scored his 13th & 14th of the season, while Andy Miele (11), Anthony Mantha (16) and Tyler Bertuzzi (7) each added single tallies. Netminder Thomas McCollum stooped 30 shots for his 6th win of the season.
Peters with a stop and then several Griffins jammed away at him trying to knock it loose. Tangradi tried a short side stuff but rang the puck off Peters' pads. Jensen let his man get by him setting up a scoring chance on the doorstep and Werek chipped it in over McCollum for a powerplay goal. Hoggan with a great pass set up Campbell in front for a chance. McCollum made a stop and then couldn't find the puck that was laying on the ice near his knee. He finally found it before it became a problem. Lashoff collided with McGinn in a knee on knee hit that looked bad, but once it was apparent no penalty was being called, McGinn was ready to play again. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Cha 10.
McGinn thumped Bertuzzi pretty good along the boards, leaving him dazed in a heap on the ice. When he picked himself up he went down ice and cross checked McGinn into the net. Cornell dropped the gloves and took advantage of a clearly stunned Bertuzzi. With Bertuzzi in the box, Charlotte notched a quick powerplay goal to take a 2-0 lead. Russo to the box and Grand Rapids was shorthanded again. Aubry drilled Werek into the end boards with a thundering check. Great pressure by the Griffins 4th line. Lashoff fired a bullet from the point that was tipped past Peters by Callahan to put GR on the board. Mantha with speed at the line curled into the slot and went up the gut, ripping a shot past Peters, glove side to knot things at two goals apiece. Nice rush by Campbell, but he was hooked and spun off. McCollum out of the net to play the puck and got caught, Nosek with the save and the clear. Callahan on the rush, beat Peters but hit the post. Russo centered from the corner for Andersson with a quick redirect. Mantha got behind the D and had a good rip, then Miele picked up the rebound of a Sproul point shot and backhanded it in to give the Griffins their first lead. Nosek got his feet taken out from under him and went down hard. He was hurt and had a hard time getting off the ice and went right to the room. Woods hauled down on the way to the net and awarded a penalty shot. McCollum with a huge save, stoned him. Shots on goal: GR 22 - Cha 12.
Big blast by Sproul from the line. Callahan stole the puck, went to the net and showed great second effort picking up his own rebound (twice) and burying it behind Peters for his second of the night. Aubry got behind the defense for a great chance in close, but just couldn't lift it over Peters' leg pad. The Griffins having a hard time getting and keeping the puck out of their end for a while in the third, Nosek back out on the ice and just about scored on a nifty backhand from the slot. Mantha followed his own shot to the net and had several chances trying to shovel the rebound in while getting worked over by Murphy, which led to a big scrum. Frk won a battle in the corner and then centered for Bertuzzi who one-timed a shot into the net from the edge of the paint. Callahan with a great scoring chance, going for the hat trick, then he got attacked by Cornel and McGinn. McGinn wrestled him to the ice and pulled off his shield and helmet trying to get at his injured face. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Cha 10. For the Game: GR 49 - Cha 32.
Tangradi - Miele - Mantha
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Callahan - Zengerle - Andersson
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell
Lashoff - Jensen
Paetsch - Russo
Chouinard - Sproul
#23 Grant - Injury
#32 Hirschfeld - Seizure
Callahan - Miele - Zengerle
Paetsch - Frk
Bertuzzi - Tangradi - Mantha
Russo - Sproul
Aubry - Nosek
Paetsch/Lashoff - Jensen
Andersson - Campbell
Russo - Sproul
What a difference it makes having the captain in the lineup. The team seemed much more resilient, and the fourth line may have been the best on the ice for either team for large parts of the game. With too many veterans at the moment, Grand Rapids has been forced to employ the veteran scratch rotation. And with only six blueliners currently up with the team, that essentially means one of Cleary or Hoggan will be scratched every game. I know who I think it should be, but classy move on the part of Hoggan to rotate.
Sproul had a noticeably strong night, with no glaring defensive miscues and he was active offensively totaling a pair of assists and several big shots.
The Griffins blueline was again at the top of their game, only allowing 2 goals (both on the powerplay). The Griffins may have the best defense in the AHL, especially when you consider that the all-star of the group, Ouellet, is with Detroit, and they still look this good.