Howard Blanks Marlies in 4-0 Win
Second year goaltender ties team record with 6th shutout...
By Jason Kasiorek
Ace netminder Jimmy Howard stopped all 29 shots he faced to tie the Griffins team record with his 6th shutout of the season. The shutout also gave him his 20th win of the season, the second season in a row he has hit the 20 win plateau. Captain Matt Ellis notched two goals for the Griffins, while Johansson and Oulahen also tallied in the win. Rookie Scott Parse kept up his hot hand, turning in two assists in a strong effort.
Jonas Johansson put the Griffins on the board early, ripping a shot from the circle that beat Racine high for his seventh of the year. The Griffins carried the play most of the period with Toronto not getting many quality chances. Grand Rapids made it 2-0 around the 14 minute mark when Oulahen took a cross ice feed from Miller and let a wrister go that beat Racine low, glove-side. The Griffins had both powerplays in the first but were not able to get much going with the man advantage. Shots on goal GR 12 - Tor 8.
Grand Rapids was much more passive in the second, especially the first half when they seemed to sit back and protect their lead. Howard made some huge stops to preserve the lead. Hussey made a great move to get free with the puck, but couldn't get it done. Late in the period, Simon just missed for a shorthanded goal. The Marlies were not able to get a puck past Howard despite owning all three powerplays. Shots on goal GR 6 - Tor 11.
Matt Ellis cemented the win with his first of two goals in the third. Matt won a big battle along the boards and came out with the puck which he rifled into the page past Racine. Five minutes later, Ellis scored again, a rare powerplay goal for GR. The GR Captain took a swipe at a loose puck and slid it along the ice and past Racine for a 4-0 lead. Surging rookie Scott Parse had a great chance late when he made a great move on Racine but just missed the net. Shots on goal GR 9 - Tor 10.
Simon - Ellis - Campbell
Hussey - Himelfarb - Bootland
Miller - Oulahen - Parse
Voce - Himelfarb - Johansson/Hussey
Smith - Insana
Meech - Norton/Ericsson
Ericsson - Galvin
Simon - Himelfarb - Voce
Meech - Johansson
Bootland - Ellis - Campbell/Oulahen
Miller - Parse
Ellis - Simon
Smith - Insana
Himelfarb/Campbell - Bootland
Norton - Meech
3 GR Miller
2 GR Ellis
1 GR Howard
After a couple of off games, Matt Ellis was flying tonight, buzzing around the net and winning the battles in the corner and around the net.
Scott Parse continues to impress. 5 games into his pro career, he is very involved, showcasing confidence and creativity.
Jimmy Howard was huge tonight, and deserved the shutout. He made several great saves especially late in the game and looked very unflappable in the net. He never looked like he was scrambling, but seemed to be in the right position to make the stop.
It was nice having Ben Simon back in the lineup, he had several quality scoring chances, a couple of them shorthanded, and played a gritty game.
Click here for the Official Scoresheet.