Helm Leads Griffins to 6-1 Rout of Monsters
Speedy winger nets 5-on-3 shorthanded goal in penalty filled contest...
By Jason Kasiorek
It is ironic that on the night the Griffins were eliminated from post-season contention they played one of their most dominating games of the year. Jonathan Ericsson scored early in the first, and the team never looked back, adding five more goals and fighting through the thuggery of a down and out Lake Erie team. Jimmy Howard rebounded with a solid performance between the pipes, stopping 25 of 26 shots in the win. In addition to rookie Darren Helm's three point night (2 goals and an assist), Grand Rapids got goals from Ericsson (9), O'Leary (3), McGrath (13) and Gelech (6).
Jonathan Ericsson put the home team up by one early in the first on the powerplay, unleashing one of his cannon shots from the blueline. Weiman got a piece of it, but not enough as it trickled through just squeezing in by the post. Six minutes later the Griffins added another powerplay goal on a heads up play by Corazzini. He spotted Helm in front and got him the puck for a nice back door redirection to make it 2-0. Jakub Kindl dropped the gloves with Boychuk, and took a beating for his effort. Give him full marks for standing in there, but he was brutalized. A few seconds later O' Leary came late and stuffed the rebound of an Oulahen shot into the open side of the net for a commanding three goal lead. Quincey and Healey were dance partners late in the period, with Quincey getting the only real shot in before they were separated. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - Lake Erie 3.
Captain Ryan Oulahen got into a rare fight early in the second when he took exception to being roughed up by Denison in a pretty even match-up. Howard made a huge save early when a turnover led to a shorthanded breakaway. Corazzini had a dangerous chance on the powerplay, just ringing a shot off the post. Griffins in penalty trouble with O'Leary and Quincey in the box for a five-on-three monsters advantage. Jimmy made the first stop but was left out of position to stop Stewarts easy open-net tap in giving the monsters some life. That life was short lived however as Evan McGrath made a couple of incredible one-on-one moves to score a highlight reel goal. Purinton was following McGrath, and immediately after the goal, blinsided himwith a hit from behind head first into the boards. Quincey immediately went after Purinton, knocking the larger player to the ice and throwing punches. It took the officials a while to get Quincey tied up and under control, and eventually both players were thrown out. Somehow the cheap shot was not called, and GR ended up with the extra penalty. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Lake Erie 15.
Darren Helm added insult to injury in the third, scoring his second goal of the game while shorthanded. With O'Leary and Ritola in the box, leaving GR down 5-on-3, Helm blocked a shot and sent the puck to Corazzini. Helm blazed down the ice, behind the defense, and took a beautiful pass from "Corzo". Darren made a nice head and shoulder fake, froze the goalie, and slid the puck in stick side. Gelech closed out the scoring late in the period notching a rare powerplay marker, burying the rebound of an Ericsson blast. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Lake Erie 8. For the Game: GR 31 - Lake Erie 26.
Ritola - Helm - Corazzini
O'Leary - Oulahen - Gelech/Torquato/#19 Novotney
Tardif - McGrath - Redenbach
Redenbach - Helm/McGrath - Gelech
Ericsson - Stafford
Quincey - Galvin
Kindl - Jozsa
Ference - wrist
Cullen - Shoulder
Oulahen - Helm - Corazzini
Stafford - Ericsson
Ritola - Helm - Gelech
Jozsa - Kindl
Tardif - Helm
Quincey - Galvin
O'Leary - Oulahen/Helm
Stafford - Ericsson
Redenbach/Oulahen - Corazzini
Rough game, I am glad the season series is over with Lake Erie, they don't play to win, they play to hurt you. Very dirty play especially by resident goon Purinton.
Helm is playing with a lot of confidence since his recall to the NHL. He is attempting more on the ice offensively and is being rewarded as the puck is going in the net for him.
Nice to see Quincey play a solid physical game. He is more valuable to the team on the ice, not in the box, but this is the way he needs to play more often, with an edge.
Hopefully McGrath is no worse the wear for that hit, the goal was without a doubt the best display of skill we have seen from him as a pro. He is taking advantage of more ice time, and it would be nice if the last stretch was a preview of things to come.
O'Leary played another good game, playing a simple, physical role, and being one of the few forwards to go to the front of the net consistently.
Newcomer Landon Novotney didn't see a lot of ice through the first two periods, but got an extended look in the third. He made a couple of nice plays, but looked out of sync.
Zach Torquato is really going to have to work on his skating over the summer, as that is a glaring deficiency in his game. It is hard to rpovide offense when you are always behind the play.