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Special Teams Snuff Stars
Tardif Scores for Third Straight Game...
By Jason Kasiorek

The surging Griffins used two shorthanded goals and a powerplay tally to notch an important victory over the Iowa Stars. Jamie Tardif scored his 8th of the season on a first period powerplay, while Ben Simon and Ryan Oulahen scored shorthanded to give the Griffins the AHL lead in shorties. Jimmy Howard was sharp, turning aside 27 shots for his 18th win of the season.

As you would expect when playing a Dave Allison coached team, the game had a very pysical feel to it with lots of hitting early. Jamie Tardif scored a rare Griffins powerplay goal when he poked a loose puck past Ellis, low, glove side just before the 10 minute mark. Less than four minutes later, Simon extended the lead to two, causing a turnover, and then turning it into a shorthanded breakaway. Simon blazed down the ice, made a move on Ellis and slid the puck five-hole. Things got exciting late in the period when Ericsson was last man back and turned over the puck. Iowa had a shorthanded break, but Howard made the stop. Shots on goal 8-8.

The Stars cut the lead to one about 5 minutes into the third on a bang-bang play in front. Endicott took a pass from Fistric behind the netand one-timed it into the top corner of the net. Iowa almost tied things up when Howard stopped a big shot that trickled through behind him. Dan Smith shot in behind Howard and just got the puck out of harms way. GR put the game away just past the 10 minute mark with its league leading 20th shorthanded goal. Ericsson made a heads up play to spring Oulahen and Hussey on a shorthanded 2-on-1. The two speedy forwards worked the give and go before Oulahen made a move, froze Ellis, and slid it past him glove side. Tom Galvin made a great defensive play late in the period when he took away a golden scoring opportunity right on the doorstep. Shots on Goal GR 7 - Iowa 12.

Grand Rapids put the final nail in the coffin at 10:09 of the third when Kip Miller got a breakaway and in slow motion burned Ellis five-hole for his 21st. Shots on goal GR 7 - Iowa 8.

Simon - Miller - Hussey
Campbell - Oulahen - Tardif
Voce - Himelfarb - Keefe
Walsh/Oulahen - McGrath - Keefe/Voce

Quincey - Norton
Ericsson - Galvin
Smith - Insana

Starter: Howard
Backup: Liv

Campbell - Oulahen - Tardif
Ericsson - Miller

Voce - Himelfarb - Simon
Hussey - Quincey

Himelfarb - Tardif/Campbell/Simon
Smith - Insana

Hussey/Campbell/Simon - Oulahen
Quincey - Norton

Meech - Injured

Three Stars:
3 GR Oulahen
2 GR Howard
1 GR Simon

With all the turnover and changes in the lineup lately, the team is starting to play a different style. Early in the season the team used speed an passing to score. Tonight it was obvious that this club was much more feisty, using hard work, speed, and physical play to create scoring chances. Tardif, Oulahen, Campbell and Simon leading the way, breaking up plays and counter-attacking.

Ryan Oulahen has really stepped up his game, taking on a much more dynamic role. His defense is still sound, but offensively he is making things happen, creating chances and winning the battles. His emergence bodes well for next season.

Jamie Tardif continues to show off his hot hand, scoring his 8th goal in 16 games. Even more valuable than that is his chippy physical game, and never say die attitude. He has been a spark in the lineup, and is turning out to be a top flight forward.

Eric Himelfarb has taken over for Matt Ellis on the PK, sometimes staying out for almost the entire penalty. His speed and anticipation is used to full effect while a man short, and is a big reason GR leads the league in shorthanded scoring.

Click here for the Official Scoresheet.