Grand Rapids Griffins Central Logo

The System
Message Board
Contact Us
Training Camp
RSS Feed
Griffins Tame IceHogs 3-1
Larsson loses shutout bid in last minute...
By Jason Kasiorek

With a newly bolstered lineup featuring Darren McCarty, Darren Helm and Ville Leino among others, the Griffins thoroughly dominated the visiting rockford IceHogs in a 3-1 contest. Frankie Pare scored his 20th of the season joining Justin Abdelkader to tie a team record for rookie goal scorers in a season. Josh Langfeld and Chris Bala both scored 21 goals in the 2001-02 season as rookies, marking the only other time the team has had two first year players break the 20 goal mark. Ryan Oulahen scored his career best 18th goal, and the recently returned Leino also scored in the win. Daniel Larsson turned in a great game, but was denied a shutout in the last minute of play when Leino got cute instead of shooting the puck at the empty net, and turned the puck over, leading to an IceHogs goal.

After playing with a patched together lineup for so long, it was apparent right from the pre-game skate that there was a lot of offensive firepower on the roster tonight. It didn't take them long to connect either as seven minutes in McGrath behind the net, made a great pass to Pare in front. Pare roofed it just under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead. For the most part Grand Rapids carried the play in the period only allowing Rockford two really good scoring chances. Larsson came up big on the first and got some help from Kolosov behind him in the crease on the other. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Roc 10.

Oulahen had a great chance shorthanded, manufacturing a partial breakaway on Crawford, but couldn't get a good shot off. The Griffins finally got their first powerplay almost halfway through the second, but it would only take them 19 seconds to score. Leino let go a rocket wrister from the circle that hit something and got past Crawford who was being screened by Abdelkader. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Roc 11.

The third period got a little interesting as four straight Griffins penalties gave Rockford a chance to get back into it. The Grand Rapids penalty killers, however, were up to the task and had some of the more danerous scoring chances. Crawford to the bench for the extra skater with 2:02 on the clock. Even with the extra attacker the Griffins still controlled the puck. Leino got the puck out of the Griffins zone and looped around at the line trying to weave in and out of several IceHogs for a pretty play at the open net. He got caught and coughed up the puck which ended up in the Griffins net with less than a minute on the clock. With time running out and the IceHogs still pressing with the extra attacker, Darren McCarty got the puck out of the zone, made the smart play, and hit Oulahen with a pass that ended up in the empty net to close out the scoring. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Roc 10. For the Game: GR 39 - Roc 31.

Ritola - Helm - McCarty
Oulahen - Abdelkader - Haydar
Leino - Emmerton - Tardif
Gagnon - Pare - McGrath

Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif
Leino - Helm - Haydar
Emmerton - Pare - McGrath
Oulahen - Gagnon - McCarty

Stafford - Jozsa
Kolosov - Pyett
Kindl - Peterson

Kolosov - Stafford
Peterson - Jozsa
Kindl - Pyett

Starter: Larsson
Backup: #29 Clayton Pool

Howard - Concussion, Knee
Galvin - Knee
Lemieux - Knee, hip

Oulahen/Helm - Abdelkader - Leino
Haydar - Stafford

Ritola - Emmerton - Tardif
Kindl - Haydar/Pyett

Oulahen - Gagnon
Kolosov - Stafford

Ritola - Abdelkader
Kindl - Peterson

Helm - Leino


It was fun to watch this lineup attack the Icehogs in waves. At times they were cycling the puck while they completed line changes, never giving up pressure on Crawford. The end really was a letdown, as was my opinion of Leino's play most of the night.

We wondered whether Helm and Leino would be motivated to play hard, or would sulk after their recent time in the NHL. Helm did not disappoint, playing hard all night. Leino on the other hand spent a lot of time coasting, and when he did have the puck he was trying to beat the whole other team instead of just making a play. Several times instead of passing the puck and getting it back he thought he was Pavel Datsyuk trying to beat three guys. I am sure he will adjust, if he is here long enough before returning to Detroit.

I was quietly impressed with Peterson's game. He made some nice defensive plays where his superior speed allowed him to get back and make a difference. He had a nice shot on goal from the point that looked dangerous, and he moved the puck up ice well.

The converse of that was Jakub Kindl who has slipped even further from his early season form. I lost count of the number of times he had all the room in the world and still went up the middle, banging his clearing pass off the forecheckers leg creating a turnover and subsequent shot at Larsson. I am sure that Evan McGrath had something to say to him too, as Kindl passed the puck from behind the net to McGrath's feet right in front as two Icehogs converged on him. He was forced to take a couple of big hits to move the puck out from in front of the net and prevent a scoring chance.

With Galvin sidelined and Ericsson in Detroit, the Griffins are in need of another defenseman before the clear day deadline, preferably one who can shoot the puck on the powerplay as well as play in his own end. Galvin who is rumored to have a torn MCL may return earlier than the 6+ weeks projected usually associated with that injury.

Official Game Sheet