Coreau Forces Game 5 With 3-0 Whitewash
Ford's goal stands as the game-winner...
By Jason Kasiorek
April 26th, 2018
Jared Coreau stepped between the pipes for the Griffins and silenced his doubters, turning in a 25 save shutout of the visiting Manitoba Moose to force a game 5. The shutout was his third in three starts against the visiting Moose and couldn't have come at a better time for the undermanned Grand Rapids Griffins. Captain Matt Ford and Ben Street scored 1:15 apart in the second period to give the home team as much offense as they would need for the win. Brian Lashoff sealed the final margin of victory when his clearing attempt went the length of the ice and into the empty net.
Steal by Colin Campbell shorthanded and a pass to Turner Elson for a chance. Great penalty kill, what a difference having Campbell back in the lineup makes. Coreau with a big stop in front and then closed the pads as the rebound was batted out of midair. He somehow made the stop, but wasn't sure where it was. Coreau came out of the net and set a pick for Hronek to move the puck out of danger. He stunned Sgarbossa with a heavy hit that sent him flying, earning the Griffins netminder an interference penalty. Manitoba's Lemieux went down behind the net and got worked over by several players battling for the loose puck. Joe Hicketts had a dangerous scoring chance at the buzzer. Shots on goal: GR 3 - Man 8.
Manitoba looked to have scored early in the 2nd, but it was waived off immediately because it had been batted in with a glove. Dominik Shine railed Melchiori into the boards with a thundering hit that left him on the ice for a few seconds while play went the other way. Shine with a partial break and a shot as he was pushed out of the slot. Game getting chippy again as both teams pushing, shoving hacking and whacking at every opportunity. Tangradi a couple of times gave the glare, indicating things were coming to a head. Dylan McIlrath lost his stick but sacrificed his body in front to block a big shot. Campbell chipped the puck out and had a nice shorthanded scoring chance. Great play by Tangradi to use his body to shield the puck, work it out of the corner and around the back of the net and then hit Street in front for a point blank scoring chance. Robbie Russo made a sick pass, threading the needle cross ice to Ford, who sniped a shot from the circle past Comrie. A minute later Street with speed up the wing took a pass from Puempel, got behind the D and lasered a shot past Comrie for a 2-0 lead. The tension popped like a balloon and the Griffins really ratcheted up their intensity. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Man 9.
Big shot from Robbie Russo at the point hit Comrie. Cormier collided with McIlrath and was left in a heap in the circle for a few minutes while play continued. Grand Rapids really pressuring the puck, not falling back into their defensive shell. Street got mugged in front of the net after a great scoring chance. He fought his way back up and they both ended up in the box. Svechnikov and Puempel both battling along the boards for the puck. Comrie out for the extra attacker with 3 minutes and change left on the clock. McIlrath hit the puck carrier and Lashoff knocked the puck away, clearing the length of the ice from the end boards and all the way down into the empty net to push the score to 3-0. Great play by Nastasiuk to steal the puck and then clear it again. Jared Coreau picked up the shutout as the Griffins stay alive to fight another day, taking a 3-0 win over the Moose. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Man 8. For the game: GR 24 - Man 25.
#55 Ford - #15 Elson - #45 Campbell
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #73 Puempel
#65 Shine - #47 Elkins - #37 Nastasiuk
Various - #19 Esposito - #77 SvechnikovBR>
#18 Lashoff - #52 McIlrath
#20 Renouf - # 2 Hicketts
#13 Hronek - #5 Russo
Starter: #31 Coreau
Backup: #30 McCollum
#23 Turgeon - Injured - Thoracic Compartment Syndrome
#25 Holmstrom - Injured
#28 Lorito - Injured - Knee
Tangradi - Street - Ford
Puempel - Hronek
Elson - Esposito - Svechnikov
Hicketts - Saarijarvi
Elson - Campbell
Lashoff - McIlrath/Renouf
Ford - Elkins
Russo - Hicketts
Tough to second guess coach Nelson, going with Coreau tonight. The Griffins netminder shut out Manitoba for the third time in 3 starts. While McCollum was not to blame for Wednesday's game, Coreau was very good and took care of business.
Svechnikov and Puempel both look snake bit. I can't remember a stretch where I have seen more bad bounces, broken plays or flat out bad luck as the two of them can't buy a goal, and in some cases can't even get a shot to the net. Hopefully the hard work will eventually translate into them denting the scoresheet as the Griffins could really use the offensive pop they can provide.
Robbie Russo had a bounce back game after a shaky performance in game 3. He made several solid, heads-up plays to move the puck out of danger, and made a terrific pass to open the scoring. More of this would be welcome.
Despite only having two natural centers dressed on Thursday, the Griffins dramatically improved their success in the faceoff circle. Wednesday they struggled, but Thursday it appeared they won more than they lost, which really helped their possession game.
Can't say enough about the play of Ford, Tangradi and Street up front as they are on a mission and have been difference makers every night.