Griffins Rebound to Rough Up IceHogs 3-1|
Rally runs streak to eighteen games...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 14th, 2015
Grand Rapids kept up its winning ways by rallying from a one goal deficit to score three unanswered goals and take a 3-1 win from the visiting Rockford IceHogs. Thomas McCollum kept up his elevated level of play, stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced to notch his 13th win of the season. Ryan Sproul (4), Kevin Porter (11) and Jeff Hoggan (10) scored for the Griffins to extend the teams franchise record point streak to 18 games.
Lots of neutral zone play as both teams were playing great defensive hockey. Johns caught Captain Jeff Hoggan with a big open ice hit and Louis-Marc Aubry returned the favor, laying a hit on McNeil that sent him to the ice for awhile. Athanasiou great pressure short handed, giving the IceHogs fits. Paetsch and Ouellet having troubles in their own end and can't the get puck out of the corner to clear. Mark Zengerle set up a nice chance in front and then picked up the rebound and almost banked a shot in from behind the net. Shots on goal: GR 4 - Rock 8.
Rasmussen bowled over McCollum and Ouellet took exception to it and went right over. Grand Rapids ended up with the power play once things had been sorted out. Paetsch just missed with a big blast from the line. Ryan Sproul broke up a shorthanded breakaway with a great diving play to bat the puck away. The intensity level started to pick up midway through the period and the game got more physical as the Griffins began to take the puck to the net more. McCollum cleared the puck all the way up ice, resulting in a great chance by the speedy Ferraro. A big scrum broke out and Labrie was incensed trying to get at Czarnowczan. He was so angry he shoved the linesman, resulting in a trip to the locker room, but somehow he didn't get a game-misconduct. Bass was also wrestling with Mantha on the ice after taking him down. Ouellet's man got away from him and almost had a breakaway on McCollum, but Paetsch took him down and also took the penalty. Jensen blocked a shot and was hobbled.
Carey fired a low shot through traffic that beat McCollum to open the scoring. Bodies flying around in front of the Griffins net, Ouellet retaliated for a cross check, and got caught, setting up another IceHogs power play. Athanasiou shorthanded with a dangerous chance in front, draws a penalty, making it 4-on-4. Nosek cut through the crease with speed for a nice chance. The IceHogs got whistled for another penalty giving Grand Rapids a rare 4-on-3 man advantage. Mantha set up shop in front of Leighton, drawing the ire of Miskovic who tried to move him. Grand Rapids called a time out to rest their power play unit for a 5-on-3 advantage. Zengerle tied up the other center off the face off and the puck was taken by Miele. Miele passed, Zengerle faked a shot, and the puck continued on to Sproul who lasered a shot into the top of the net to knot the score at one. Great job by Porter to steal the puck after a long foot race. He made a quick move and slid the puck under Leighton for a 2-1 lead. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Rock 11.
Martin Frk won the battle along the boards, and fed the puck to Mantha for a great chance, then followed the play up and just missed a back door opportunity. Nosek got hooked in the slot giving the Griffins another power play. McCollum fired a perfect lead pass, very aggressive coming out of net to play the puck all night. Great chance in front, and then a couple of pokes at it before the whistle. Nosek got caught with his head down coming through center ice and got smoked. He eventually made it to the bench and then down the hall to the dressing room. Sick play by Athanasiou to drag the puck around a defender for a dangerous shot.
Anthony Mantha hit a streaking Hoggan with a pass below the circle. The Griffins captain put a heck of a move on the IceHogs defender, walked in on goal, and grooved a shot past Leighton making it 3-1. Nosek returned from the room and seemed none the worse for wear. Rockford took its second too-many-men penalty of the game. Leighton out for the extra attacker with over three minutes left to go. McCollum almost got caught out chasing the puck, but managed to get back as Zengerle blocked a shot. Scramble in front, but McCollum kept the door closed. Miele lobbed a high shot over the defense at the empty net, but the defenseman dove and just batted it wide. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Rock 9. For the Game: GR 29 - Rock 28.
Tvrdon - Miele - Zengerle
Porter - Nosek - Ferraro
Frk - Athanasiou - Mantha
Hoggan - Aubry - Bruton
Lashoff - Jensen
Paetsch - Ouellet
Czarnowczan - Sproul
Callahan - ACL - Out for season
Evans - Lower Body Injury
Mantha - Miele - Zengerle
Tvrdon - Sproul
Hoggan - Nosek - Ferraro
Paetsch - Frk
Nosek - Ferraro
Paetsch - Jensen
Athanasiou - Porter
Lashoff - Ouellet
Another really strong performance by McCollum kept the Griffins in the game until the offense perked up. His confidence is at an all time high and he showed off a surprisingly adept puck handling element. He made several plays with the puck to send it up ice, which is not the norm.
Aubry was a physical catalyst for the Griffins and played a very aggressive hitting game. The IceHogs just could not counter his size, speed and aggressiveness.
Xavier Ouellet had an uncharacteristically bad defensive game. He lost a lot of battles and was not strong on the puck. A couple of different times his partner Paetsch had to bail him out. Hopefully it was just a hickup, but he seemed to be fighting the puck all night.