Griffins Hang On To Beat Amerks 5-4
Victory marred by brutal injury to OwensÉ
By Jason Kasiorek
March, 4th, 2011
The recently untracked Griffins offensive kept up it's hot hand, scoring 5 goals against the visiting Rochester Americans. Then they were forced to hang on as the Amerks fought back to make a game of it, scoring 3 goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. Grand Rapids got goals from five different players, Straub (3), Minard (14), Filppula (19), Tardif 23 and Smith (10). Griffins forward Jordan Owens fell into the end board and apparently suffered a broken arm before collapsing by the bench and having to be removed on a backboard.
It was a physical first period, lots of hitting and speed. Amadio and Selleck came to blows to the side of the Griffins' net. Amadio stood strong for a few minutes before falling in a flurry of blows. Straub banged the puck past Plante in a goal mouth scramble to give the Griffins a 1-0 lead. Late in the period Minard ripped a shot from the circles that Plante closed the pads on, but it trickled through for a goal. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Roc 7.
Owens went into the boards hard and laid himself out. He was on the ice in a semi-fetal position for awhile before being helped towards the bench where he collapsed. The EMS was summoned and after quite a bit of time, strapped him to a backboard and removed him on a gurney. 5-on-3 powerplay, Meech hit Filppula in the circle. Filppula cranked a shot in over Plante for a goal. Tariff had a great scoring chance but was pulled down on his way to the net right in front of the official, and no call was made. The Griffins got a 3-on-1 and Tatar made a great pass to Tardif on the other wing. The captain went top shelf for a 4-0 lead. The Amerks sent out their backup netminder, and then switched back right before the next faceoff. Rochester trying to mount a comeback late in the period, applying some pressure. Former Griffin Clay Wilson potted a back door goal on the powerplay, Pearce had no chance. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Roc 7.
Brendan Smith made it 5-1 on the powerplay early in the third when he rifled a pointshot in over Plante. Pearce made a diving save at the line to just keep the puck out. Fenton beat Pearce on the next play to cut the leas to three. Griffins dodged a bullet shorthanded when a miscommunication behind the net led to a turnover in front of an empty cage. But GR managed to clear. Another penalty left the Griffins down by two skaters. Grant fought through three Griffins to get the puck to the net and beat Pearce with a snap shot glove side. A minute later a defensive breakdown in front of the net allowed Jenks to pick up the puck at the edge of the paint and chip it in over Pearce. Lantern to the neck with just under a minute left for the extra attacker. Shots on Goal: GR 3 - Roc 13. For the Game: GR 25 - Roc 27.
Tatar - Filppula - Tardif
Minard - Johnson - Mursak
Emmerton - Pare - Keefe
Owens - Andersson - Straub
Janik - Pyett
Smith - Lashoff
Meech - Amadio
Kolosov - Knee
Ehrhardt - Groin
Minard - Emmerton - Mursak
Johnson - Smith
Tatar - Filppula - Tardif
Meech - Pare
Emmerton - Tardif/Mursak
Pyett/Amadio - Meech
Andersson - Tatar
Pyett - Smith
Mursak - Johnson
It looked like it was going to be rout until the last 10 minutes or so and then things just about got away from the guys. It ended up being much closer than it should have. A lot of those goals in the third were caused because the Griffins eased up. As a defender you can't waive your stick at an opposing player like a matador and expect to stop him.
The injury to Owens looked much worse than it ended up being. As someone with some experience with spinal injuries and how to recognize possible injuries, it really looked like he was in the tantrum position indicating possible spinal cord injury. Happy to hear it was just a broken arm.
Interesting to note that Tardif was taking face-offs on two different lines at times tonight, subbing in the circle for both Filppula and Andersson. He normally takes some face-offs, but usually not as many as tonight. The captain appears to be in the zone, and it is fun to watch while it lasts. Hopefully it pays off with an NHL audition at some point.
Brendan Smith looked very frustrated with his own play at several times earlier in the game, but was all smiles after notching #10 on the season.