Griffins Rally Behind Coreau for 5-4 Win|
Griffins score four unanswered goals for the win...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 10th, 2016
Things looked bleak for the Griffins down 4-1 late in the second when starter Thomas McCollum was chased to the bench in favor of a rusty Jared Coreau. The hulking netminder slammed the door shut and rallied his troops to score four unanswered goals and keep the Griffins alive in the best of seven series with the Lake Erie Monsters. Grand Rapids got goals from Mantha (4), Aubry (1) and Russo (1) to knot the score at 4 early in the third, setting the stage for Andreas Athanasiou's heroic game winner with under two minutes left. Grand Rapids also got a tally from Tyler Bertuzzi (4) in the 1st. Jared Coreau was incredible stopping all 16 shots he faced for the win, while McCollum stopped 17 of 21 before being chased.
The Griffins started out in trouble, as Lake Erie kept the puck in and controlled play the first five minutes. Grand Rapids finally got a shot on goal but were still trying to climb out. Dan Cleary broke his walker and fell down as he took out a Monsters player who had beaten him wide. Lake Erie scored on the ensuing powerplay on a goal by Chaput from the slot that found its way through a maze of players to bulge the twine behind McCollum. Bertuzzi answered back with his 4th of the playoffs when he ripped a shot past Korpisalo short side to put GR on the board. Milano restored the lead with a nifty spinorama in the circle that caught McCollum sleeping, back handing the puck between him and the post. Chaput tried to block a shot at the line by Athanasiou and went down in a heap. He had to crawl to the bench and be helped over the boards. Big scrum behind Korpisalo with Mitch Callahan in the middle. Shots on goal: GR 5 - LE 13.
Coach Nelson changed the lines up to start the second hoping for a spark. Sproul with a couple of good shots on the powerplay, but they couldn't get in past Korpisalo. Bertuzzi backhanded a shot from the high circle that hit Korpisalo's foot and lay next to the post for what seemed an eternity. The physical play picked up as GR tried to raise their intensity a bit. Jeff Hoggan sprung Sproul on a breakaway, but the speedy blueliner lifted a shot over the net. Sedlak made it 3-1 when he skated in from the circle, took advantage of McCollum being shaky on his angles and found an open side of the net to bury the puck in. Sproul with shot from the point on the powerplay, but Lake Erie was starting to key on him as the only shooter. The team missed having Frk on the opposite point. Bjorkstrand off the faceoff chipped the puck in over McCollum for a 4-1 lead. This spelled the end of the night, and maybe the end of the season for McCollum as a rusty Jared Coreau came in. Coreau with a big stop right off the bat and then got some help as Lashoff cleared the puck. Late in the third, Sproul stopped a clearing attempt and then fed Mantha who flicked a shot in over Korpisalo for a powerplay goal. Shots on goal: GR 15 - LE 11.
Coreau picked up where he left off with a great stop early in the period on a break by Lake Erie. Good puck movement by Grand Rapids, buzzing the Monsters' net. Aubry in the circle snapped a shot past Korpisalo, low stick-side to cut the lead to one. just over a minute later Robbie Russo, up in the play, fired a fluttering shot between the defenseman's legs and off Korpisalo into the net to knot the score at four. Bjorkstrand with a sick chance, save by Coreau. End to end action at a blistering pace for both teams. Tangradi got smoked along the boards and was down for a bit, but the officials had put their whistles away and did not make a call. Hoggan shot down the ice and surprised the defenseman behind his own net, stealing the puck and setting a good chance in front. Nosek with a slick move, spinning into the slot to set up a backhanded scoring chance. There was a pause for awhile to deal with a broken pane of glass in the corner and then play eventually resumed. Coreau with a flurry of saves in close. Aubry blocked a shot in forn and was slow to get up. Jensen carried the puck deep and fired a bad angle shot that hit Korpisalo and popped a juicy rebound into the slot. Miele set up Mantha for a chance and then Hoggan had a whack at it before being knocked down. Ouellet tripped at the line and no call. Late in the period Athanasiou with speed broke in and beat Korpisalo, opposite side for the Griffins first lead of the game. Korpisalo to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:55 left. Lake Erie threw everything but the kitchen sink at Coreau, but the Griffins were blocking shots and what they didn't block, Coreau steered aside. Campbell got the puck deep into the Lake Erie end to kill time off the clock and Grand Rapids took a 5-4 win. The Griffins ran out of time and fall 2-1 to Lake Erie. Shots on goal: GR 15 - LE 13. For the game: GR 35 - LE 37.
Tangradi - Miele - Callahan
Bertuzzi - Athanasiou - Mantha
Cleary - Nosek - Zengerle
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell
After the 1st
Hoggan - Miele - Zengerle
Bertuzzi - Athanasiou - Callahan/Mantha
Cleary - Aubry - Campbell
Lashoff - Jensen
Paetsch - Sproul
Ouellet - Russo
#23 Grant - Injury
#27 Frk - Injury
#32 Hirschfeld - Seizure/Brain Surgery
Tangradi - Miele - Zengerle
Sproul - Mantha
Bertuzzi - Athanasiou - Callahan
Ouellet - Russo
Athanasiou - Cleary
Lashoff - Jensen
Nosek - Aubry
Paetsch - Ouellet
What an exciting game! Very proud of the boys fighting back to win this one. It now ranks #1 on my list of Griffins playoff comebacks, replacing Darryl Bootland's hat trick including the overtime game-winner again Winnipeg many years ago.
McCollum was shaky, though he didn't have a ton of help. When Coreau came into the game, it was like someone threw a light switch as the team seemed much more confident and really began to attack the net. Great call by Nelson, just wish he would have done it a few games ago. The new lines also really seemed to pay dividends as Hoggan provided some jump with Miele, and Callahan had a couple of good scoring chances with Athanasiou.
Ryan Sproul had another strong game, on the big stage in front of the Detroit braintrust. He moved the puck well, reacted to play quickly and showed off his speed and range closing gaps and jumping up into the play. He would be even more effective if Frk (or another shooter) was on the other point on the powerplay.