Rampage Rout Griffins 6-3|
Griffins can't overcome shaky outing by McCollum...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 23rd, 2013
Grand Rapids fell behind early to the visiting San Antonio Rampage, and could not dig their way back out of the hole in a humbling 6-3 loss on home ice. The Rampage jumped out to a 2-0 lead and never looked back, scoring two goals in each period including a pair of powerplay tallies. The Griffins got markers from Nyquist (18), Sheahan (15) and Callahan (9) in the loss. Thomas McCollum had a rocky night in the Griffins net giving up 5 goals on the first 13 shots before finishing with 15 saves in absorbing the loss.
San Antonio lit the lamp just 37 seconds into the game as the Griffins coverage in front fell apart allowing Hamill a point blank scoring chance. Jurco dazzled late in the first playing keep away with the puck and setting up 2 or 3 scoring chances in a row. Almquist got caught with a brutal hit at the line and went down like he had been shot. Paetsch immediately started throwing punches at Rampage winger Wilson with Parkes and Grant trying to get to him as well. Almquist was down for awhile and had to be helped up before slowly making his way to the bench and then down the tunnel to the room. Incredulously there was no penalty call on the hit, Paetsch and Wilson both drew 2 for roughing. Evans got off a big shot that handcuffed Grumet-Morris and just about beat him. Nyquist went off on a horrible call leaving GR a man short. San Antonio scored on the powerplay with Rallo picking up the rebound of an O'Hanley shot and roofing it over McCollum from the opposite side of the net. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - San 4.
Parkes almost knocked one in on a wraparound, using his speed to steal the puck behind the net. Nyquist finally got the Griffins on the board midway through the second when he took a cross-ice feed from Skinner and smoked a shot past Grumet-Morris, high, stick-side for a powerplay goal. Hoggan stole the puck and broke in on net but was hooked down setting up another GR powerplay. Pare took a quick penalty to negate the man advantage. The Griffins had a couple of great chances 4-on-4 and then the puck went the other way and McCollum gave up a softy to Howden, short-side. A few minute later Timmins deflected another puck past McCollum to make it 4-1. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - San 8.
Early in the third, Howden ripped a point shot through traffic that beat McCollum low between the legs to extend the lead to 4 with a powerplay marker. They may not have all been McCollum's fault, but five goals on thirteen shots is just brutal. Sheahan gave the Griffins some life when he batted a puck out of the air with his hand and and ripped a heavy shot into the net as he got knocked down to cut the lead to three. Parkes smashed a Rampage player into the endboards after a race for the puck. McCollum went to the bench with about 5 minutes on the clock to set up a Griffins 6-on-4 powerplay. Loose puck in front with several griffins jamming away at it and it ended up in the net. Grumet-Morris blew a gasket and chased down the referee. The Rampage coach was also melting down over the call. Callahan was given credit for the goal, his 9th of the season and 8th in his last 16 games. Nestrasil pushing and shoving and not backing down against the Rampage. McCollum out again with 2:42 left in the game. Skinner picked off a scoring chance at the empty GR cage. Finally San Antonio picks up the empty netter to cap a 6-3 shellacking. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - San 5. For the Game: GR 31 - San 29.
Hoggan - Glendening - Callahan
Nestrasil - Aubry - Jurco
Pare - Sheahan - Nyquist
Parkes - Raedeke - Grant
Paetsch - Almquist
Evans - Billins
Skinner - Nicastro
Ferraro - Injured
Nestrasil - Hoggan/Glendening - Callahan/Hoggan
Paetsch - Almquist/Nicastro
Nyquist - Sheahan - Pare
Skinner - Billins
Sheahan - Raedeke/Hoggan
Evans - Billins
Aubry - Callahan
Skinner - Nicastro
Pare - Glendening
McCollum did not have a strong game - make all the the excuses you want about the awful officiating and powerplay goals etc. but the truth is he looked a lot more like the old McCollum, complete with 5 goals against.
Lets talk about a couple of the players that stood out tonight. Andrej Nestrasil looked like he belonged tonight, he played chippy, supported the puck well, and used his size several times. He even showed off some slick moves to keep possession of the puck at the line while his teammates regrouped. If he can find that game on a regular basis he will be here to stay.
Mitch Callahan has just been so good as of late. He is noticeable almost every shift and is playing with confidence and swagger. He has earned his extra ice time, and has blossomed into a consistent scoring threat. His speed and puck smarts make him arguably the best forechecker on the team. Wow what a difference a year makes.
While he may not get mentioned here as often as he should, captain Jeff Hoggan has also been a force the last several games. He has really stepped up as the team lost guys like Tatar and Andersson. He had a team high nine shots on goal and really did a good job of using his speed to exploit the Rampage blueline to get the puck to the net.
Jeff Skinner has been a huge boost to the Griffins blueline. He has been a great fit and it is easy to see why he has logged time in the NHL. He is often paired with the rookie or fill in player but covers well. I continue to be impressed with his heads up plays and good puck movement.
Jurco had a big game and was very involved tonight. He really had some jump in his step and was flying around the ice, using his frame to play a grittier game and making great plays at high speed.