Team Effort Tames Wolves 4-2|
Grant's Gamewinner sends Griffins to Sixth straight win...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 5th, 2014
The Griffins lost another piece of their high powered offense this afternoon, but that didn't stop them from doubling up the visiting Chicago Wolves to notch their sixth straight win. Grand Rapids rallied back twice from deficits and scored three unanswered goals, getting tallies from Martin Frk (2), Landon Ferraro (13), Triston Grant (5) and Nathan Paetsch (3). Petr Mrazek ran his personal winning streak to six games, making 32 saves in the win, his 17th of the season.
The buzz in the arena prior to the start of the game was the trade this afternoon of Calle Jarnkrok to the Nashville predators. The trade and the recall of Cory Emmerton to Detroit left the Griffins with 11 forwards, so defenseman Gleason Fournier was pressed into service on the fourth line.
Davies took advantage of a bad bounce to gain possession behind the Griffins' defense. He went in on Mrazek and hit him with the stick on the shot, allowing the puck to go in just under his catching glove. Pulkkinen bulled his way to the net and was taken down setting up a Griffins powerplay. Tootoo stole in front but couldn't get a good shot off. Pulkkinen pesky around the net almost snuck a shot in under Allen. Nathan Paetsch was high sticked on the PK evening things up at 4 aside. Callahan giving the Wolves fits on the forecheck got a great scoring chance. Pulkkinen ripped a shot off Allen's mask that broke it. Play continued and Frk jammed in the loose puck next to a mask less Allen who was very upset that the powerplay goal was allowed to stand. The Griffins had a late 5-on-3 powerplay thanks to Regner slashing Frk, but they were unable to capitalize. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Chi 14.
Rattie picked up a rebound to the side of the net and snapped a shot in over Mrazek high stick side to regain the lead. Ouellette stopped a big drive by Shields right in front. Great pass by Tootoo to McIntyre who steered a shot between Allen's legs that trickled through and stopped on the line. Grant centered from behind the net to Tootoo who fired a shot off Allen. The fourth line doing a great job on the forecheck and Fournier is really fitting in. Ferraro on the rush, split the defense but ran out of room to get a shot off. Off the next face off, Ferraro had another chance and converted for his 13th to tie the score at two. Callahan stole the puck on the PK and Grant joined him as he came out of the box, setting up a 5-on-3. Callahan passed and Grant cut in, deked, and slid the puck in past Allen along the ice stick side as he fell down. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - Chi 10.
Great shift by Parkes to steal the puck, smoke a Wolves player in the corner to take it back and then draw a penalty. Tootoo roared up the middle, blew by the defense and put a shot on Allen. Chicago really pressing in the Grand Rapids end, it looks like they are on the powerplay despite being at even strength. Allen to the bench for an extra attacker, and the Wolves are swarming the net. After a couple of great scoring chances, Paetsch fired it down the ice into the empty net to punctuate a 4-2 win. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Chi 10. For the Game: GR 40 - Chi 34.
Hoggan - Ferraro/McIntyre - Tootoo/Callahan
Grant - McIntyre - Callahan/Tootoo
Frk - Nestrasil - Pulkkinen
Fournier - Aubry - Parkes
Paetsch - Almquist
Jensen - Ouellet
Evans - Sproul
Emmerton - on the way back from Detroit
Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season
Ferraro/Frk - Nestrasil - Callahan
Pulkkinen - Almquist
Hoggan - Ferraro - Tootoo
Sproul - Paetsch
Callahan - McIntyre
Paetsch - Almquist
Nestrasil - Ferraro
Evans - Jensen
This was a true team win, lots of people played parts in pulling this off, it was not one hot line like it has been recently.
Lets start out with Triston Grant. It was great to see him score a goal (the game-winner), but beyond that, his physical presence led the way for his teammates. When he plays, he bangs and hits and makes the other team look over its shoulders. That supports Trevor Parkes who plays the same way, then you have two players hitting. Then Aubry starts to hit, and suddenly you have 5 or 6 guys playing the body, all because of the confidence Grant brings to the bench.
Kudos to Gleason Fournier for playing out of position on the wing to help his team, and he did not have a bad game. he moved the puck well, and fit right in on the 4th line. His shift allowed them to roll all 4 lines which kept the pace of the game up, a plus for the Griffins.
Another solid outing by Nestrasil who took over as top center by default and look like he fit. Blashill has reclaimed another project player and turned him into a valuable member of the team.
Martin Frk continues to make great strides and scored his second goal of the season on the powerplay. He still needs work, especially on his skating and keeping his feet moving, but is becoming a complimentary player for the high end talent, next season should be interesting for him.