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Griffins Come From Behind to Stomp Admirals 6-3
Captain Jamie Tardif scores twice in physical contest...
By Jason Kasiorek

The newlook Grand Rapids Griffins showed the Milwaukee Admirals that they were not going to be taken lightly. They ran up a five goal third period, and answered the bell physically to shut down a Milwaukee team that always seems to have their number. Jamie Tardif led the way with a pair of goal and an assist while Thomas McCollum won his first game since December. Grand Rapids also got goals from Owens, May, Mursak and Tatar and a terrific performance from utility forward John Vigilante.

Milwaukee drew first blood just under three minutes into the game when both GR defensemen took the same man and left Murray alone in front with the puck. He chipped it over McCollum from the slot for a 1-0 ads lead. A late hit in the corner by Milwaukee leads to a little scrum that quickly ends up with Crosty and Grant squaring off at the blueline. Crosty lit him up with a flurry of blows to the head that left the big winger stunned and sent him to the ice. Milwaukee had the better chances in the period and looked sharper than the home team. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Mil 11.

Early in the second Ford blindsided Armstrong in the face drawing a crowd of Griffins for some pushing and shoving. Riley was eventually able to make it to the bench and then straight down the tunnel. The feisty winger would return later in the game. The period was broken up by a long stoppage in play to repair a divot in the new ice at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins tied things up 7:29 into the period with Tardif leaving a drop pass for Owens who stroked a shot past Dekanich for his first goal as a Griffin. Abdelkader knocked Murray into his own net as the physical tempo picked up. Good cycling down low by Ritola and Abdelkader drew a penalty, and then hard work by Pare and Armstrong in the Admirals zone drew another to make it a 5-on-3. Ritola had a nice break, but waited for Abdelkader and his pass was broken up. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Mil 7.

Vigilante started a five goal Griffins third period when he stole the puck from Dekanich behind the net, walked out, and hit Tardif for an empty netter and a 2-1 lead. May was jockeying for position in front of the net, and got knocked down into Dekanich. The ads netminder took a shot at May who turned around and smoked him. After it was broken up Yonkman challenged May but the officials kept them apart. Things are getting ugly with both teams getting more aggressive physically. May got the puck on the doorstep and scored a powerplay goal and then all hell broke loose. Maki cross checked May and then Yonkman attacked him. Everyone dropped the gloves and bodies were flying everywhere. Somehow Grand Rapids ended up with the extra penalty and that became a 5-on-3 shortly thereafter. Sulzer's shot found its way between McCollum and the post on that man-advantage to cut the lead to one goal. The Griffins extended their lead again with a beautifully executed 2-on-1 with Vigilante and Tardif. Johnny hit Jamei with a perfect pass, Jamie made a move and buried it for his second of the night. Santorelli made things interesting with four minutes left in the game, scoring on a weak shot from the slot that caught McCollum napping. A minute and a half later, Emmerton Found Mursak who got behind the defense and out-raced them to the net where he dipped his shoulder and smoked a shot past Dekanich, high stick-side. The ads pulled their goalie with a minute and a half left, and after several missed opportunities, Tatar slid a shot into the empty net with just under a minute left. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Mil 9. For the Game: GR 27 - Man 27.

Ritola - Abdelkader - Williams
Tatar - Armstrong - Pare
May - Emmerton - Mursak
Owens - Vigilante - Tardif

Kolosov - Pyett
Ehrhardt - Janik
Kindl - Crosty

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Larsson

Tollefsen - Knee
Rissmiller - Wrist
Wong - Healthy
Oulahen - Hip

May - Emmerton - Mursak
Williams - Janik

Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif/May
Williams - Kindl

Tatar - Armstrong - Pare

Ritola - Abdelkader
Kindl - Janik

Vigilante - Owens/Armstrong
Kolosov - Pyett

Williams - Emmerton

Three Stars:
3 Santorelli - Mil
2 Vigilante - GR
1 Tardif - GR


Great game! It started slow, but GR looks like they got angry enough to force the issue and came out strong in the second half of the game.

Nice to see McCollum get the monkey off his back with his 8th win of the season. He still looked shaky at times, but played well enough to keep his team in the game.

Armstrong and May had targets on their back all night with the Admirals running around trying to headhunt with them around.
Vigilante looked like he had been shot out of a cannon and had a very strong game. He could have easily had twice as many points than he ended up with.

Tatar got his nose dirty several times, showing a willingness to wade into the scrums.

Official Game Sheet