Stars Stun griffins With Overtime Win|
Griffins rally falls one short...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 16th, 2014
The hockey gods were not with the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday as they fell 3-2 to the visiting Texas Stars in overtime at Van Andel Arena. The irony is that the Griffins played arguably their best game of the series, outshooting the Stars 40-29 and carrying play for large chunks of time. Grand Rapids rallied back from an early 2-0 hole on goals by Callahan (1) and Pulkkinen (4) to tie the game at two. Former Griffin Chris Mueller scored just over 3 minutes into the extra session to give the visitors the win.
Great behind the back pass by Nestrasil to set up Emmerton in front, but he was knocked down before he could finish the play. Hedden on the powerplay standing next to the net got a stick on a long shot from Jokipakka and steered it past Mrazek to open the scoring . A minute later, Ranford was left all alone in front and jammed home a pass from McKenzie to run the lead to 2. Brennan Evans smoked a Texas player with a big hit in the corner. Tempers are flaring for both teams with more and more scrumming after the whistles. McIntyre hard work to draw a penalty to set up the Griffins powerplay. Nestrasil with a great chance at the top of the circle and just fired it over the net. Shots on Goal: GR 5 - Tex 8.
A texas clearing attempt hit Paetsch in the neck and stuck in his sweater. Hoggan was interfered with at the line and went down, but somehow ended up with the penalty. Great shorthanded chance by Ferraro who got high-sticked by Morin to negate the rest of the penalty. Jurco put a shot on net from the circle that Callahan got a stick on for his first goal of the playoffs, a powerplay goal. Ouellet went in alone on Campbell but was interfered with, leading to a penalty shot being awarded. Ouellet shot in and fired the puck off Campbell. Big scrum after the whistle with Labrie trying to get at Jurco in the worst way. Pulkkinen fired a shot from the circle that beat Campbell glove-side to tie things up at two. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Tex 7.
Callahan got roughed up in the corner behind the play and took exception after the whistle. Two-on-one with Frk and Ferraro, Frk made a nice move and ripped a shot off Campbell. Pulkkinen had a good chance right off the faceoff. Bad bounce and Mrazek had to be sharp. Scramble in front and bodies piling up as Texas tried to push it in. Nice play by Tootoo to control and then go cross-ice to Backman for a scoring chance. Emmerton put a hip into Hulak to break up a rush. Callahan got the puck deep and a big shot hit Campbell in the mask, stopping play with grand Rapids peppering the net. Jurco made a great move to avoid a check, keep the puck and set up Sheahan right in front. Campbell down on the ice in pain for a few minutes after making a stop. After a few minutes with the trainer, he went to the bench in favor of Nilstorp. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Tex 11.
The Griffins had a three-on-one but Emmerton couldn't handle it cleanly. Texas had a great chance in front of Mrazek. Mueller fired a routine shot from the circle that eluded Mrazek, ending the game with a 2-3 Griffins loss. Shots on Goal: GR 3 - Tex 3. For the Game: GR 40 - Tex 29.
Pulkkinen - Emmerton - Nestrasil
Callahan - Sheahan - Jurco
Hoggan - Ferraro - Nastasiuk
Tootoo - McIntyre - Frk
Paetsch - Jensen
Backman - Ouellet
Evans - Sproul
#3 Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season
#5 Almquist - Lower Body Injury - Indefinite
#23 Grant - Veteran
Callahan - Sheahan - Jurco
Pulkkinen - Backman
Emmerton - Nestrasil - Frk
Paetsch - Sproul
McIntyre/Emmerton - Ferraro
Evans - Ouellet
Callahan - Sheahan
Paetsch - Jensen
Tough loss for the Griffins who carried play for most of the game. This was their best 60 minute effort against Texas and deserved a better fate.
It was great to see Callahan break out for a goal, his first since returning from injury. He has done everything else asked of him so far in the postseason, playing with reckless abandon and leading the forecheck.
Emmerton had another strong game, and has really elevated his compete level.
Nastasiuk also continued his strong play, doing all of the little things and winning his battles along the boards. His offense has not come on line, but the rest of his game has kept him in the lineup over some other regulars.
Have to give a shout out to Brennan Evans who brought his physical game, throwing checks and battling around the net in the defensive zone.
Xavier Ouellet also deserves a mention as his strong play tonight (and the rest of the postseason) has elevated his chances of earning a spot in Detroit Next season. His competition could include Mattias Backman who had 2 assists tonight and continued to play beyond his rookie status.