Griffins Manhandle Moose 4-1 In Physical Contest
New look Griffins take down divisional foe...
By Jason Kasiorek
The new look Grand Rapids Griffins took advantage of an attitude influx to topple the Manitoba Moose 4-1. Newcomers Jordan Owens and Riley Armstrong set the pace early in the first with their energetic forechecking and hitting, and the rest of the team fed off that to power a suddenlny potent offense. Jeremy Williams led the way with two goals and assist, while Rissmiller and Pyett also tallied for the home team. Netminder Daniel Larsson surrendered one goal on 24 shots for his eighteenth win.
The first period started was all Grand Rapids in every facet of the game. The team had a lot of energy and jump, and came out of the gate with a fast paced physical game. This led to several odd man rushes for GR during the period. Williams took advantage of a powerplay to put Grand Rapids on the board at the four minute mark. He cranked a point shot past Schneider to give his team a 1-0 lead. A big hit by GR and a line brawl broke out with everybody pairing up. Abdelkader and Janik both dropped the gloves but it was little more than a wrestling match before being broken up. Grand Rapids ended up with a powerplay from that and Williams again connected to make it 2-0 when he took a nice feed from Rissmiller as he cut in to the side of the net. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Man 5.
The pace of the second period slowed down with neither team carrying an advantage, and the Griffins looked to be ready to escape the dreaded second period letdown. Nycholat snuck a shot through traffic with about a minute and a half left in the period to cut the lead in half. Logan Pyett however restored the two goal cushion thirty seconds later when he cruised in and picked up a rebound at the side of the net and slid it home past Schneider for his 9th of the campaign. Schneider took a swipe at Rissmiller in the crease, and Rissmiller shoved back. He was immediately jumped by a Moose player (McIver), touching off a goal-mouth scrum. May challenged Waugh, but he wanted no part of that. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Man 10.
Early in the third things came to a head. Their was a pileup in front of the Moose net and Tardif tried to get back up but Desbiens crosschecked him back to the ice. This was repeated several times until a very ornery Abdelkader went to his aid. McIver from the Moose grabbed Abdelkader and they squared off. Desbiens blind-sided a stunned Tardif with a sucker punch and then just kept teeing off on him. Tardif got a couple of good licks in at the end, but wasn't able to do much to protect himself from the attack. Abdlekader and his man were broken up earlier than he wanted, and he tried to leave the box to go again, he was really bent. Somehow GR ended up with the extra penalty out of all this, but managed to kill it off. Owens used his world class speed to go in on Schneider with a breakaway, but was fouled just enough to not get a good chance. Desbiens keeps jostling with Larsson at every opportunity. Mursak and McGrath had a great two-on-one, but Mursak just ripped it wide. The Moose summoned their netminder to the bench for the extra attacker with about a minute and a half on the clock. Mursak made a great play, outracing the Moose defenseman to the puck and passing it to Abdelkader who unselfishly passed up the shot and touch passed it to Rissmiller for the empty net score. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Man 9. For the Game: GR 36 - Man 24.
Ritola - Abdelkader - Williams
May - Rissmiller - Tardif
Owens - Riley - Pare
Vigilante - McGrath - Tardif
Kolosov - Pyett
Janik - Kindl
Tollefsen - Ehrhardt
Emmerton - Healthy
Tatar - Healthy
Crosty - Healthy
Oulahen - Hip
May - Rismiller - Mursak
Janik - Pyett
Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif/May
Williams - Janik/Kindl
Ritola - Abdelkader
Tollefsen - Janik
Vigilante - Owens
Kolosov - Pyett
Williams/Pare - Armstrong
3 Schneider - Man
2 Mursak - GR
1 Williams - GR
Wow! What an entertaining game. The team put together a good win and as close to a 60 minute effort as I have seen all year.
We may not win a lot of games, but other teams are not going to like playing against Grand Rapids the rest of the season. The addition of Owens, Armstrong, Tollefsen and even Abdelkader have completely changed the dynamic of this team. You have to keep your head up on the ice now.
Speaking of Owens and Armstrong, they had a strong home debut. They both buzzed around and hit anything in black. The energy they brought was contagious, and both created several turnovers. Owens showed off some his incredible speed with a couple of scoring chances. Riley drew a few penalties and got under the skin of the moose all night long.
Another good night by Pyett who just looks so confident. The difference in him since the start of the year is pretty profound.
Anybody else think Abdelkader looks much more feisty this year after getting sent back by Detroit? He really looks to be foul-tempered and uses any excuse to get in an opposing players face. It is nice to see the mean streak.
May played a good game, though he seemed frustrated that he could not get either Waugh or Desbiens to drop the gloves with him despite several challenges.