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Griffins Offensive Surge Downs Marlies 5-3
Three goals in 3:06 span stuns Toronto...
By Jason Kasiorek

The Griffins line of Mark Cullen centering Carl Corazzini and Mattias Ritola has been on fire since being put together recently, accounting for 6 goals and 8 assists in the last two games. Tonight the potent trio each scored within a 3:06 span in the first to propel the Griffins to a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Marlies. Grand Rapids also got goals from Ryan Oulahen (12) and Darren Helm (8) as well as a solid performance from last minute starter Adam Berkhoel. Berkhoel stopped 22 of 25 shots including a penalty shot by Tyler Doig late in the second that would have tied the game.

Grand Rapids and Toronto played a pretty even first period, with neither team generating a lot of quality scoring chances. Michel Leveille broke the deadlock just past the nine minute mark of the period when he ripped a Battaglia feed from the slot past Berkhoel. The two teams traded powerplays, but neither was able to capitalize. The Griffins started their scoring flurry at about the 16 minute mark of the period on an innocent looking play. Ritola let a bad angle shot go from the corner that hit a Marlies player in front and pinballed past Pogge to tie the game at one. Two minutes later the Marlies turned the puck over in their own end and Corazzini pounced on it. He made a nice move, froze Pogge and lifted it over him as he went around the net. Seventy-four seconds later Cullen made it 3-0 when he one-timed a pass from the circle that clinked past Pogge glove-side. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Tor 6.

The second featured more of the same with the two teams going end to end, but being unable to get much going. The Marlies pulled within one with a few minutes left in the second when Wozniewski wired a shot from the corner that skipped past Berkhoel, low glove side. Two minutes later they had a golden chance to tie things up when a turnover by Stafford led to a shorthanded breakaway by Doig. He was interfered with a bit (not enough to warrant the call), and a penalty shot was awarded. Berkhoel made the save of the game, standing tall and stoning him. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Tor 10.

Ryan Oulahen regained the two goal lead early in the third. McCarty went to the net, and Oulahen was the trailer on the play, stroking the drop pass from Dmac into the net. Later in the period the Marlies pulled within one again, on a shorthanded rush , Doig ripped a shot from the slot that cleanly beat Berkhoel (I think he would like that one back). The play started to get rough, lots of big hits and behind the play stuff going on. Helm put the game out of reach with a minute left on a give and go with Tardif. Helm ended up getting the puck back right on the edge of the crease and chipped it over Pogge. Toronto pulled the goalie with time ticking down, but it was no help. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Tor 9. For the Game: GR 27 - Tor 25.

Helm - Oulahen - McCarty
Ritola - Cullen - Corazzini
Tardif - McGrath - Lemieux
Redenbach - various - Gelech

Insana - Stafford
Quincey - Jozsa
Kindl - Galvin

Starter: Berkhoel
Backup: Turple

Ference - wrist
Howard - Leg

Helm - Cullen - Corazzini
Stafford - Quincey

Ritola - Oulahen - McCarty
Kindl - Galvin

Corazzini - Cullen
Stafford - Insana

Oulahen/Helm - Tardif
Quincey - Galvin
Oulahen - McCarty


Ritola had another stellar game, maybe his best of the season. At one point he gained the zone, stickhandled through three players and then hit a surprised Corazzini with a perfect pass on the doorstep. His confidence is high, and the puck is starting to go in for him.

Rookie defensman Jason Jozsa stood out tonight, playing with poise and patience, playing with Quincey.

Ryan Oulahen also had a quietly impressive game. His offensive game is really coming online playing in an offensive roll with McCarty and Helm. Hopefully this is the beginning of his transition into a consistent threat.

Official Game Sheet