Playoff Hopes Dwindle With 4-2 Loss to Bulldogs|
Penalties Lead To Griffins Downfall...
By Jason Kasiorek
With the final playoff spot on the line, The Griffins turned in an undisciplined penalty filled effort that saw them on the wrong end of a 4-2 score. Kyle Quincey and Jonas Johansson scored in a losing effort for Grand Rapids. GR killed off 9 of 10 Hamilton powerplays, but gave up a backbreaking shorthanded goal in the third which turned out to be the gamewinner.
The third meeting in four days for these two teams turned out to be a chippy, nasty affair right from the opening faceoff. Dan Smith put a big point shot on net, that Ben Simon got a couple of whacks at, setting off a big scrum in front of the net. Quincey put Grand Rapids on the board four and a half minutes in with a great individual effort. The talented young blueliner knocked down a Hamilton clearing attempt and fired a rocket from the line that hit something in front and changed directions, beating Danis. The lead was shortlived however, as less than three minutes later Jancevski shot a dribbler from the circle that Howard got a foot on and then kicked into the net. Things started to boil over at that point with Bootland and Stortini dropiing the gloves for a short tussle that ended with Booter throwing his opponent to the ice. Shots on goal GR 5 - Ham 8.
Early in the second Johansson took a pass from Parse in front, and roofed it glove side for a powerplay goal giving the Griffins the lead again. Norton challenged the Hamilton bench to come out and fight him and was moved away by the linesman. Howard lost his temper after being slashed by Stortini and started punching him in the head, which led to another big scrum. Norton again called out the Hamilton bench until the Ref moved him away, giving him a warning. The Bulldogs tied things up again late in the second when he let a low shot go from the circle with Quincey and Ferland screening Howard in front. Jimmy never saw it until it was behind him. Shots on goal GR 10 - Ham 12.
Grand Rapids had an opportunity to take the lead again when Hamilton was assessed a pair of penalties back to back early in the third. But a turnover to Duncan Milroy allowing him a short handed breakaway turned out to be the backbreaker when he beat Jimmy, high, glove-side for a shorthanded goal. Penalties finally seal the deal for the Griffins as the bulldogs score on a 5-on-3 with 51 seconds on the clock to put the nail in the coffin. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Ham 8. For the game: GR 25 - Ham 28.
Simon - Himelfarb - Johansson
Voce - Ellis - Parse
McGrath - Ellis/Oulahen - Bootland
Hussey - Miller - Parse/Bootland
Smith - Meech/Syvret
Quincey - Norton
Ericsson - Syvret
Himelfarb - Ellis/Ericsson - Voce
Meech - Miller
Johansson - Miller - Parse
Syvret - Quincey/Hussey
Keefe - Hand
3 GR Quincey
2 Ham Milroy
1 Ham Jancevski
A very frustrating game to watch. You could feel it slipping away after the first period, and it really looked like the team lost its composure. Lots of undisciplined playand retaliation.
Kip Miller was on the ice for three of the four Bulldogs goals, and had a tough night.
The usual players stand out, Ellis, Oulahen, Himelfarb, Simon, Meech, Quincey... but it was not enough.
I caught up with Jim Bedard and Ken Holland during the second intermission and had a nice conversation about the organizations goaltending. Jim is a super guy if you ever get the chance to talk to him.
Peoria lost in the shootout tonight meaning that tomorrow we need to beat Toronto, or Peoria needs to lose in regulation to Milwaukee in order for the Griffins to make the playoffs.
Click here for the Official Scoresheet.