Griffins Rally Falls Short as Wolves Win 4-3|
Chase Pearson scores first pro goal...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 29th, 2019
The Grand Rapids Griffins showed a lot of heart in bouncing back from a four goal deficit to make a game out of it. The visiting Chicago Wolves took advantage of a depleted Griffins lineup and an in-game injury to starter Harri Sateri to get off to a blistering start scoring three goals in the first thirteen minutes. The Griffins dug in and scored three unanswered goals by Camper (17), Megan (17) and Chase Person's first pro tally to pull within one, but were unable to get the equalizer. Patrik Rybar made 15 saves, shutting the door for the last 39 minutes.
Grand Rapids got off to a rocky start as Libor Sulak's attempt to bat the puck away from the crease rebounded off of McKenzie's skate and into the net for an early 1-0 lead. Things got worse, when just a minute and a half later Sateri left the game after suffering an injury to his hand. Backup Patrik Rybar came in but was stone cold. Rybar came way out to play the puck, and needed some help from his defense to protect the open net. Joe Hicketts in front with a big save. Griffins on the powerplay, Chris Terry set up at the back door but missed the net. The Wolves powerplay took advantage of two consecutive man-advantages to break the game open. Just twelve seconds after Campbell went to the box for elbowing, Tomas Hyka ripped a shot form the circle past Rybar to put the Wolves up by a pair. Two minutes later with Hicketts in the box for tripping, Hyka repeated his feat, beating Rybar with another shot from the the same spot. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Chi 11.
The Wolves ran the score to 4-0 just twenty-nine seconds into the period, McKenzie scored his second of the game and Chicago's third straight powerplay goal. Dominik Shine with a huge hit on Tynan behind the net, knocking him flying. McKenzie took exception to the hit and dropped the gloves. Shine took the worst of it, but McKenzie drew the extra two for instigating and left for 17 minutes (2+5+10) and setting up another Griffins powerplay. Griffins unable to capitalize again. Wolves two on one with Cholowski the last man back, but he didn't take away the pass. The young defender was lucky, as the shot was wide of the net. The Griffins finally got on the board late in the period. Turner Elson behind the net, centered for Camper in the slot. Camper stroked a shot past Dansk to cut the lead to 4-1. The emergency goalie is now on the bench suited up, Dan Harland sporting number 35 with no nameplate. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Chi 5.
Midway through the third, rookie Chase Pearson fired a weak shot on net that pinballed off a couple of players and into the net for his first pro goal. Shine was drilled into the boards, touching a scrum. Sulak in the middle of things with McGinn, but Kolesar was trying to get at Shine. McGinn to the penalty box, setting up another Griffins powerplay. Elson with a great chance but rolled it wide. Wade Megan whittled the lead down to one when his long drive on the powerplay got past Dansk with Smith screening in front. Trevor Hamilton was hurt and hobbled to the bench before heading down to the locker room for the rest of the night, Rybar to the bench for an extra skater with several minutes left. Grand Rapids peppering the Wolves net with several quality chances, but Dansk was up to the task. Time finally ran out for the home team as the Griffins fall 4-3. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Chi 6. For the game: GR 32 - Chi 22.
#54 Smith - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
#55 Ford - #22 Megan - #11 Zadina
#15 Elson - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#39 Hulak - #21 Chase Pearson - #65 Shine
#18 Lashoff - #9 Saarijarvi
#4 Sulak - #14 Hamilton
#2 Hicketts - #44 Cholowski
Starter: #29 Sateri - left early with injury
Backup: #42 Rybar
#35 Dan Harland - emergency goalie
#51 Troy Loggins
#15 Elson - #22 Megan - #25 Terry
#44 Cholowski - #19 Camper
#55 Ford - #21 Pearson - #11 Zadina
#9 Saarijarvi - #2 Hicketts
#23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell/
#18 Lashoff - #2 Hicketts
#39 Hulak - #65 Shine
#4 Sulak - #44 Cholowski
#22 Megan - #15 Elson
Chase Pearson made his home debut and scored his first goal, albeit a fluky one, and did not look out of place in the lineup. He centered a line with Hulak and Shine, but also saw some time with some other combinations. Most noticeable was he actually won some draws, which has been a weakness for the Griffins all season. I did not see much evidence of his rough and tumble crash the net game, but am assuming his physical ply will pick up with some comfort.
With Jake Chelios and Dylan McIlrath in Detroit (along with Hronek), the Griffins defense was certainly not looking great especially in the early going, and could look different again tonight as Trevor Hamilton looked to be hurt and left the game, which mean that Crawford would draw in. Chris Terry has gone cold again, and with shooters Frk and Puempel in the NHL, Terry's inability to score was pretty glaring as they set him up for chance after chance, but he couldn't convert. Hopefully he will snap out of his slump again, as the powerplay specifically is not as effective without his prowess.