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Griffins On the Ropes After Disappointing 3-1 Loss to Moose
Sub-par effort leaves GR in 3-0 series hole...
By Jason Kasiorek

The Griffins never looked like they were able to get their game up to speed, leading to an uninspired loss and possibly a season on the brink. The passion and fire this team showed in the first round against Hamilton was not on display, and the red hot powerplay unit was a dismal 0 for 6. Francis Pare scored the teams only goal in the second on a nice two on one with Frankie Lemieux for his second of the series. Grand Rapids big guns, Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino, and Darren Haydar were kept off the scoresheet for the third straight game.

The home team came out flat in very slow paced unemotional first period. Matt Pope got Manitoba on the board just over eight minutes in when he froze Jimmy Howard and then skated around him and lifted the puck over the goaltender from the bottome of the circle. The Moose would make it 2-0 right before the end of the period when Bolduc let a shot go from the side of the net through traffic and past Howard. The Griffins couldn't get anything going offensively, which was very noticeable on their three straight powerplay opportunities. Shots on Goal: GR 4 - Man 7.

The pace picked up a little in the second as Grand Rapids put on a little bit of sustained pressure. Aaron Downey took another bad penalty, turning a small scrum into 12 minutes in penalties for himself, leaving his team down a man. The GR penalty killers were up to the task , killing off the man-advantage. Frankie Lemieux forced a turnover, and had a great two on one opportunity with Pare. Lemieux fed Pare a great pass, and the rookie sniper lifted it over Schneider to pull within one. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Man 10.

Fraser was switching the lines up for most of the third in an effort to get some offense out of his team. Howard was lifted a little over a minute left on the clock, and Jaffrey scored an empty netter to put the nail in the coffin. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Ham 11. For the Game: GR 23 - Ham 28.

Ritola - Abdelkader - Downey
Tardif - Emmerton - Haydar
Leino - Gagnon - McCarty
Lemieux - Pare - Andersson

Kindl - Galvin
Kolosov - Galvin/Pyett
Stafford - Jozsa

Starter: Howard
Backup: Larsson

Oulahen - Hip
McGrath - Shoulder
Lashoff - Concussion

Leino - Abdelkader - McCarty
Haydar - Stafford/Kindl

Lemieux - Pare - Andersson
Stafford - Pyett

Tardif - Gagnon
Kindl - Galvin

Ritola - Andersson
Kolosov - Stafford

Abdelkader - Haydar

Where is the team that was here in round one? The team on the ice last night bore little resemblance to the energetic, composed team that took out Hamitlon.

How many more games is Aaron Downey going to get to play if he keeps taking so many undisciplined, emotional penalties. He has cost this team dearly, and veteran should no better than that.

The team clearly missed rookie blueliner Brian Lashoff last night, stuggling to get the puck out of their own end, and generating very little offense from the point. That is a great compliment to Lashoff, but a stinging indictment of the rest of our defensive corps.

Speaking of defense, I almost cannot comprehend what must be plaguing Jakub Kindl, or the turnover machine, as we call him in our section. We counted on one shift he gave the puck up four times in his own end. He is not doing the things he did earlier in the year, and is regressing on a daily basis.

This team needs to get some scoring and quick. Our big three are being contained by the Moose (who are doing a very good job of taking away the Griffins Speed), but aside from Pare's 2 goals in the series, what happened to everyone else?

Let's hope that coach Fraser can rekindle a little bit of that magic before game four on Wednesday.

Official Game Sheet