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Griffins Go the Distance in 10 Round Shootout Win
McCollum outduels Tokarski for win...
By Jason Kasiorek
April 5th, 2014

Defenseman Nathan Paetsch scored in the 10th round of the shootout to give the Griffins a 2-1 win over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs and extract a measure of revenge for yesterdays loss. Thomas McCollum was near perfect stopping 22 of 23 shots and 9 of 10 in the shootout winning the goaltending duel against Dustin Tokarski. The Griffins scored early in the first as Andrej Nestrasil kept up his hot hand and notched his 14th of the season and 7th in his last 11 games. The Bulldogs finally solved McCollum in the third on a powerplay, forcing overtime and a shootout.

Paetsch put a low shot on net from the line, right up the middle that Nestrasil got a piece of in front for a goal. Lots of pushing and shoving in front of Tokarski with GR on the powerplay. Parkes in front tipped a Sproul point shot just wide. Nestrasil chipped the rebound over the net. A shot landed on top of the cage, and Emmerton tried to lift it in but got roughed up. Later Emmerton stole the puck in the circle and walked into the slot for a prime scoring chance but got knocked down. Big scrum after the buzzer. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Ham 9.

Nestrasil stole the puck and started a rush up ice that resulted in a good scoring chance. Another Nestrasil steal sprung Pulkkinen on a partial break, but the talented Finn was pulled down giving GR a powerplay. Big open ice hit by Campbell knocked the puck loose giving the Griffins a prime scoring chance. Another penalty to Hamilton gives Grand Rapids a two-man advantage. Hoggan with a scoring chance in front took exception to a cross-check from Pateryn and dropped the gloves, pummeling the Bulldogs blueliner. Campbell using his strength to fend off a defender one-handed and keep the puck. Great rip by Pulkkinen hit Tokarski. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Ham 7.

Paetsch blocked a shot and was in some pain, but walked it off and went to the bench under his own power. Macenauer picked up the puck in a scramble and faked that he was going around the net for a wraparound but reached back and slid it between McCollum's foot and the post for a powerplay goal to tie the game at one. Hamilton's Schiestel took a four minute penalty for high-sticking Aubry behind the net. Lots of pressure by Grand Rapids with man-advantage. Best chance was when Emmerton found Almquist sneaking in to the slot but he couldn't get the shot he wanted. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Ham 7.

Pulkkinen with a great chance on the doorstep, but he was mugged and taked down with no call. Sproul went end-to-end for a chance, and then a quick redirect by Emmerton into Tokarski's pads. Steal by Pulkkinen set up a rush with Nestrasil. Another good chance in close by Ferraro. Grand Rapids called a timeout with just seconds remaining for one more push. Paetsch had a great shot at the buzzer. Shots on Goal: GR 5 - Ham 1. For the Game: GR 38 - Ham 23.

The Shootout
Emmerton went first for GR, firing a shot that Tokarski stopped with a flash of his leg. Andrighetto was first for Hamilton and tried to freeze McCollum, but he kicked it out to make the save. Tootoo was next and ran right up the middle and fired a shot into Tokarski's chest. Macenauer got in close on his attempt, but McCollum made a poke check to knock the puck into the corner. Almquist had a nice chance, but the puck rolled off his stick before the shot. Dumont made a nice stutter step move, but McCollum stayed with him and the shot him him in the chest. Round 4 saw Pulkkinen absolutely fly in and fire a high-velocity shot through Tokarski five-hole. Thomas tried a stutter-step and fired a shot that was gloved by McCollum.

The Griffins sent out there secret weapon for round five, but Evans went way wide and only got a weak shot off, while Holland wired a shot in under McCollum's catching arm to keept them alive. Next up was Fournier who fired a shot into Tokarski and then St Pierre who rang a shot off the post and crossbar but not into the net. Nestrasil started off round seven and made a great move only to have the puck roll off his stick. Leblanc drew McCollum out and then tried to go around him but the Griffins netminder got a toe on the puck to keep it out. Round 8 started with Ferraro firing a weak shot off Tokarski and Blunden tried to go five-hole, but McCollum closed up and denied him. Parkes froze Tokarski and tried to put the puck in over his leg but couldn't get it up. Sorking also tried to beat McCollum between the legs, but could not. Nathan Paetsch started the 10th round and fired a shot past Tokarski glove side to put GR back in the lead. Morgan Ellis went wide on MCCollum and fired a shot that McCollum flashed the pad on to give the Griffins a 2-1 win.

Pulkkinen - Emmerton - Nestrasil
Hoggan - Ferraro - Campbell
Parkes - McIntyre - Tootoo
Fournier - Aubry - #37 Nastasiuk

Paetsch - Almquist
Evans - Sproul
Jensen - Ouellet

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Mrazek

#1 Paterson
#2 McNulty
#3 Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season
#9 Hirschfeld
#15 Callahan - Broken Jaw/Facial Injuries - out indefinitely
#17 Nicastro
#23 Grant - Veteran
#27 Frk

Pulkkinen - Emmerton - Campbell
Jensen - Almquist

Hoggan - Nestrasil - Ferraro
Sproul - Paetsch

Campbell - Emmerton
Evans - Ouellet

McIntyre - Ferraro
Paetsch - Almquist


The Griffins win a nailbiter in the 10th rnd of the shootout. For a low scoring game, it was pretty intense and the crowd was on the edge of their seats.

McCollum looked very sharp early and was in the zone. He was square to the shooter and always in position to make the save without scrambling around. Huge game Thomas, especially in the shootout, where he has had troubles in the past.

Campbell is really making a name for himself on this team and received another promotion, moving up to the second line with Hoggan and Ferraro. He saw first unit powerplay time and despite the lack of offensive numbers, really looks like he belongs. The other thing that really stands out his strength, he hits hard and wins battles along the boards often. He reminds me of a young Jamie Tardif.

The captain does not drop the gloves very often, but he made a point when he did tonight, handing Pateryn a beatdown.

Zach Nastasiuk made his AHL debut, playing on the fourth line in very limited icetime. He had a couple of nice plays and did not look too bad. It would be nice if he could get a longer look and get his feet under him heading into the postseason.

Running out of superlatives to talk about Nestrasil, but he continues to impress. At one point he had 5 straight steals on one shift and was driving the Bulldogs nuts as they could not get the puck past him.

Official Game Sheet