Griffins Whip Wolves 4-2 in Game Three|
Grand Rapids leads series 2-1...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 6, 2017
Tyler Bertuzzi's goal stood up as the game-winner as the Griffins recovered from a 7-3 shellacking on Friday night. The home team came out of the gate in game three with a chip on their shoulder, putting three goals past Ville Husso and sending him to the showers just past the halfway point of the first period. Grand Rapids got goals from Matthew Ford (4), Ben Street (2) and Tyler Bertuzzi (3) in the first and then Joe Hicketts capped the scoring with his 1st of the postseason. The team played without defenseman Brian Lashoff who left yesterdays game with an injury, but got ace defensive forward Colin Campbell back from the injured list. Netminder Jared Coreau was sharp when he needed to be, turning aside 27 shots for the win.
Good news/bad news situation for the Griffins to start the game as top defender Brian Lashoff was out with an injury, allowing rookie Filip hronek to draw in for his first AHL playoff experience, but the good news was the return of Colin Campbell one of the key defensive forwards after missing game two. Grand Rapids setting the pace early on with a lot of physical play and speed through the neutral zone. Mitch Callahan had the first shot of the game with a shot from the slot that Husso stopped. MacEachern slashed the stick out of McIlrath's hand right in front of the official, setting up a Griffins powerplay. Pileup in front of the net with several griffins had pops at the rebound until Matthew Ford corralled it and put it in the net glove side to open the scoring. A few minutes later the Griffins took advantage of two on one with Callahan and Ben Street, Callahan feathered a pass through to Street who picked the top corner stick side 2-0 Griffins. Less than a minute after the that goal, Tyler Bertuzzi opportunistic in front made it 3-0 and sent Husso to the showers.The Griffins penalty kill has been money in the first period, especially Colin Campbell who has forced several shorthanded turnovers. Nosek blazed down the wing and put a rising shot on Binnington that he got a piece of. Shots on goal: GR 16 - Chi 10.
Bertuzzi got blindsided and knocked to the ice, but got right back up and stayed in the play. Joe Hicketts getting worked over behind the play with no call. Robbie Russo and Kenny Agostino engaged in a grappling match with both heading off for two minutes. Joe Hicketts hard work behind the net drew a penalty setting up a rare 4-on-3 powerplay. Chicago 2-on-1 against Dan Renouf, and the rookie defender took away the pass and the shot and sent the attacker into the corner in a heap. Bertuzzi got tied up with Loney at the line and even had a glove off before looking at the bench and rethinking his timing. Robbie Russo got jumped by two Wolves players at the end of the period with GR shorthanded and a mismatch on the ice. Turgeon went over to help and was attacked by Blais who took him down and pummeled him as the officials tried to pull him off. Coreau skated out of the crease and started down ice but was waived off and skated to the bench instead. Binnington also started out and turned back. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Chi 8.
Matt Lorito cut right through the slot for a great chance as the powerplay expired. Butler broke the goose egg for Chicago with a long blast that somehow eluded Coreau low. Two minutes later MacEachern cut the lead to one when he beat Hronek for position and converted a centering pass form right on the doorstep. On the next shift, Joe Hicketts along the boards put a shot on net that found its way through Binnington to restore the two goal lead.Chicago threw everything they had at the Griffins for a few minutes in an attempt to tie the score, but eventually GR started to push back, pressuring Binnington. The wolves pulled their netminder with two and half minutes remaining in the third. Blais took an elbowing penalty to give GR a late powerplay and taking the steam out of the wolves comeback attempt. GR 4 - Chicago 2. Shots on goal: GR 11- Chi 11. For the Game: GR 40 - Chi 29.
12 forwards - 6 defense
Svechnikov - Criscuolo - Lorito
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Ford - Turgeon - Campbell
McIlrath - Hicketts
Renouf - Russo
Paetsch - Hronek
#11 Cleary - Veteran
#18 Lashoff - injury
Ford - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Hicketts - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Paetsch - McIlrath
Ford - Nosek
Renouf - Russo
Good effort by the Griffins to rebound after a tough loss on Friday in Chicago. After being lit up for all seven goals the game before, Coreau looked very focused and confident, and while he didn't have to make a lot of saves, he made the ones he needed to. Dylan McIlrath benefitted from the absence of Brian Lashoff and really stepped up his game, finishing +3 on the night. He showed some nice chemistry with Joe Hicketts and the pair was the best for GR in the game.
Despite not showing up on the scoresheet Eric Tangradi was a beast all night. He lead the team with 6 shots on goal, but his real value was apparent in that Chicago just had no answer for his blend of size and skill. He would peel off the boards carrying players on his back, stickhandle through a defender and set up a scoring chance. There were a couple of different times that someone lined him up for a hit and bounced off him as he continued on with the puck.
Matt Ford continues to hold a hot hand in the playoffs, scoring his fourth goal. He also has been an ace on special teams, scoring three powerplay goals and doing greta work on the penalty kill. The fourth line with him riding the left side with Turgeon and Campbell have also been responsible for frustrating opponents with a relentless forecheck that creates chances and wears the other team down. Campbell has been a one man wrecking crew when in the lineup in the post-season, as he uses his speed and vision to anticipate where the puck will be and put himself in position to steal it, disrupt the play, or knock the puck carrier on his butt.