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Griffins Crush Marlies 7-1
Helm scores career high four point night...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids rode an unexpected offensive surge to a big victory over the first place Marlies, scoring seven goals on just 23 shots. Red hot rookie Darren Helm earned his first NHL call-up with a two goal - two assist performance, while newcomer Mark O'Leary playing in his first AHL contest added a pair of goals. Evan McGrath kept pace, adding two goals of his own, and blueliner Garrett Stafford added his 10th of the season. More important than the scoring or the impressive netminding of Jimmy Howard was the fact that the team gave a full 60 minute effort, perhaps the first time this season.

Darren Helm scored early to give the Griffins the lead, streaking in on net and blistering a low shot past Pogge. Neither team was able to get much going offensively the rest of the period, but when called upon, Howard made some incredible stops to keep GR on top. The Griffins set the tone, playing a physical game, initiating contact, and putting traffic in front of the Marlies net. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - Tor 10.

Two minutes into the second, McGrath made it 2-0, deflecting a Kyle Quincey point blast past Pogge. Recently signed Mark O'Leary notched his first AHL goal thirty seconds later, redirecting a Tyler Redenbach shot behind Pogge to make it 3-0. For the second straight time between these two clubs, Pogge was pulled in favor of Clemmensen. Later in the period, on the powerplay, Evan McGrath was part of a traffic jam in front of the Marlies cage and pounced on a loose puck, chipping it over Clemmensen from the edge of the paint for his second of the game. Garrett Stafford made it 5-0 on the powerplay, taking adavantage of a blocked shot by Corazzini. The offensive defenseman picked up the puck, weaved his way to the net, and lifted a high shot from the low slot over Clemmensen's shoulder. Sifers and Tardif had a short go at it after the fifth goal, with neither doing much damage. Late in the period, Grand Rapids had traffic in front of Clemmensen again, and O'Leary causing havoc in front, chipped in a loose puck for his second of the game. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Tor 12.

Ericsson went after Aubin 12 seconds into the third, knocking him to the ice, climbing on, and pummeling him for awhile until pulled off by the officials. Oddly enough neither player got a fighting major, just roughing minors, with Ericsson earning the extra two. Tardif had his second bout of the night, tangling with Mitchell who had the upper hand early in the fight before Jamie landed a couple of big blows and pulled his sweater over his head. The marlies finally got on the board in the third, on the powerplay, Harrison fired a low shot through traffic that got by Howard stick-side. At this point the game really started getting ugly with scrums after every whistle and lots of big hits. Helm capped his four point night at the 12:54 mark of the third, when Corazzini centered from the corner to Helm backdoor for the team's 7th goal. Shots on goal: GR 6 - Tor 13. For the Game: GR 23 - Tor 35.

Ritola - Helm - Corazzini
Lemieux - McGrath - #25 Tardif
#34 O'Leary - Oulahen - Redenbach
Fojtik - various - Gelech

Stafford - Ericsson
Kindl - Jozsa
Quincey - Galvin

Starter: Howard
Backup: Berkhoel

Ference - wrist

Ritola - McGrath - Tardif
Stafford - Ericsson

Helm - Oulahen - Corazzini
Kindl - Jozsa

Corazzini - O'Leary
Stafford - Ericsson

Helm - Gelech
Galvin - Jozsa
Oulahen - Tardif


I have to start out by giving props to Jimmy Howard who played a great game, making up for his last couple of outings. He made the stops he had to, and even a couple he shouldn't have.

Obviously Helm had a good night, but to be honest he has looked good lately, the only difference tonight is that they went in.

Ritola kept up his strong play, recording a team high five shots on goal. His true value tonight was his strong play along the boards and in the corners.

I was quietly impressed with defenseman Jason Jozsa who did a good job of getting the puck out of his zone, and played relatively mistake free hockey.

Three cheers for the debut of Mark O'Leary! While we probably won't see another offensive performance like that from him again, he stood out in a lot of other areas. He has good speed, actually went to the net, and was very scrappy and chippy all night.

Randall Gelech, long a whipping boy here, did a great job on the PK, he was very noticable blocking shots and working hard to break up plays.

Official Game Sheet