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Howard's Lapses Cost Griffins in 5-2 Loss
Star Netminder loses goaltending duel with fill-in Morris...
By Jason Kasiorek

Jimmy Howard left his focus somewhere on the road between Detroit and Grand Rapids, turning in a poor performance in a 5-2 loss to Rochester. Howard gave up two back breaking goals that he didn't seem to realize had been shot at him, and was clearly upset by that. Grand Rapids got goals from Quincey and Lemieux but could not generate anymore offense despite firing 49 shots on nemesis Dov-Grumet Morris.

The Griffins came out with a lot of energy and really took it to the Americans, dominating play for most of the period. The Griffins did get into some penalty trouble and ended up on the wrong side of a five on three powerplay that ended up costing them. Gragnani scored his first of two goals on the night just as Helm was about ready to step out of the box. Grand Rapids could not be too happy about trailing 1-0 after controlling play for the period. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - Roc 8.

Grand Rapids tied things up at one, early in the second, when Quincey snuck in from the point and snapped a shot from the slot that beat Plante stick side. The Griffins had several good chances during the period, controlling play for large parts of it. Then disaster struck on a routine dump in from the line. Howard had a lapse in concentration and didn't even react as the 65 footer went by him into the net for an abysmal goal. A minute later O'Leary tried to bat the puck out of midair in the crease and inadvertently hit Plante in the face which drew a large gathering ending with Baier pummeling him unmercifully. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Roc 7.

Lemieux knotted the score by two early in the third, cutting by the net and chipping a shot into the top corner of the net. About two minutes later Howard spaced again and got surprised by a quick shot right off the face-off that beat him. Brutal non-call on Ritola being hooked and taken down on a scoring play. Lemieux got knocked into Plante by an Amerks defenseman, setting off another big scrum. Grand Rapids turned the puck over on a powerplay and Gragnani went in on the net, put a move on Howard and slid the puck five-hole for an easy shorthanded goal. Jimmy got called to the bench for the extra attacker, but Stewart scored the empty netter with time running out for the win. Shots on goal: GR 17 - Roc 11. For the Game: GR 49 - Roc 26.

Ritola - Helm - Corazzini
O'Leary - Oulahen - Gelech/Torquato
Tardif - McGrath - Redenbach/Lemieux

Ericsson - Stafford
Quincey - Galvin
Kindl - Jozsa

Starter: Howard
Backup: Berkhoel

Ference - wrist
Cullen - Shoulder

Oulahen/Ericsson - Helm - Corazzini
Stafford - Ericsson/Kindl

Tardif - McGrath - Redenbach
Jozsa - Kindl

Helm/Ritola - Corazzini
Quincey - Galvin

O'Leary - Oulahen
Stafford - Ericsson/Kindl

Tardif - Gelech/Oulahen


Not much to say since I normally don't say to much about the quality of the officiating, which was pretty rough). Howard needs to play better than he did if he going to prove he is NHL ready. He probably already knows this, so I won't beat the proverbial dead horse.

Strong games by Quincey, Kindl, Jozsa, Helm, Tradif and Lemieux, the usual suspects.

Official Game Sheet