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Griffins Rout Rivermen 4-1
Former Griffin Legace lit up for four goals...
By Jason Kasiorek

Grand Rapids has had a knack for welcoming back former teammates this season, and last night was no exception. Darren McCarty and Garrett Stafford led the way with a goal and an assist each as they torched Griffins alumnus Manny Legace for 4 goals on 35 shots. Justin Abdelkader and Aaron Gagnon also scored for Grand Rapids, while Jimmy Howard made 24 saves to record his 17th win of the campaign. Darren Haydar added an assist, keeping his scoring streak alive at ten games (6 goals + 12 assists = 18 points).

The Griffins were taking it to Peoria early, not letting the Rivermen get much in the way of chances on Howard. Stafford put the home team on the board late in the period when his point shot on the powerplay beat Legace for a PPG. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Peo 5.

Oulahen had a great chance shorthanded with a behind the back pass to Gagnon. He couldn't quite get a stick on it, but it ended up bouncing past Legace for a 2-0 lead. Jozsa got driven into the boards from behind and Ritola went right in creating a big scrum. A peoria turnover at center ice got the puck to McCarty for a breakaway. he made a great move and and cleanly beat Legace to make it 3-0. Howard came up big with a couple of nice saves at the end of the period to keep Peoria off the board. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Peo 10.

Oulahen got taken down leading to McCarty and Helm trying to get at the Rivermen forward as a scrum broke out. Later in the period Grand Rapids had a 3-on-1, Pare tried to center but ran out of room. Pare recovered and had a nice rush before being angled off. Leino hit McCarty with a cross ice feed that he stroked into the empty side of the cage. McCarty went right to the official to let him know that the puck had hit Abdelkader in front, and the goal was credited to Justin. Peoria broke the shutout halfway through the period when Jonas Junland scored. McCarty smoked Paddock and Cowan immediately dropped the gloves and engaged him. It was mostly a grappling match with few good shots landed. Howard made a huge on a Rivermen shorthanded chance to keep the three goal lead as time ran out. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Peo 10. For the Game: GR 35 - Peo 25.

Leino - Abdelkader - McCarty
Ritola - Pare/Gagnon/Helm - Haydar
Emmerton - Pare - McGrath
Oulahen - Helm - Downey

Kolosov/Jozsa - Stafford
Kindl/Jozsa - Galvin
Kolosov - Atherton

Starter: Howard
Backup: Larsson

Mursak - Not eligible
Tardif - Knee

Leino - Abdelkader - McCarty
Haydar - Kindl

Emmerton - Pare - McGrath
Stafford - Haydar

Oulahen - Gagnon
Kolosov - Stafford

Helm - Ritola
Kindl - Galvin

Abdelkader - Haydar


Darren Helm was all over the ice tonight but had very little to show for it. His offensive game has really disappeared the second half of the season, but his energy has helped a lot.

Ritola was very feisty all game long playing with a chip on his shoulder, and playing a gritty game.

Justin Abdelkader continues to show more and more confidence with the puck. He is carrying it more and showing the patience to hold onto it for another second before making the play.

Aaron Downey had several huge hits during the game, but left himself out of position several times. His labored skating did not help him get back into the play.

Jimmy Howard was not tested much early, but came up with a big game in the latter stages to keep the score low.

Official Game Sheet