Griffins Rally with Three Goal Third To Take 4-2 Win|
Callahan nets late game-winner to give Griffins 2-1 series lead...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 24, 2017
Mitch Callahan played the hero again, scoring the go-ahead goal and snapping a 2-2 tie with less than 4 minutes remaining en route to a 4-2 win and 2-1 series lead over the visiting San Jose Barracuda. The Griffins returned to Van Andel arena after splitting the first two games in San Jose, hoping that some home ice magic would help them restore their swagger in the Western Conference Finals. Things did not get off to a good start as the Griffins fell behind early and were outplayed through the first two periods. A Matt Lorito powerplay goal in the third tied things up, setting the stage for Mitch Callahan's game winner. Tomas Nosek provided the final margin with an empty netter, capping off a three goal rally.
The game got off to an interesting start as the Barracuda fielded a different starting lineup than the one on their lineup card, leading to an early and embarrassing penalty. Mitch Callahan has a great chance at the side of the net, but it hit Grosenick. The Griffins were applying pressure until Bertuzzi, last man back, turned the puck over and McCarthy had a free chance in alone on Coreau. He froze the Griffins' netminder and then slid the puck in past his outstretched pad for a 1-0 lead. San Jose grabbed some life from the goal and had several good scoring chances as play started to turn the other way. Nathan Paetsch got the Griffins on the board when he took a nice feed from Tangradi in front and roofed it for his 1st of the postseason. The tie was short-lived however as Coreau gave up a stinker on a dump-in from the line that beat him five-hole. With time ticking down on the period the Griffins had another great chance, right off the faceoff, but Grosenick made the save. The Griffins are clearly frustrated and are spending too much time in the extra-curricular's after the whistles and Ford eventually takes a penalty. Shots on goal: GR 16 - SJ 16.
Big hit by Eric Tangradi in the corner and Callahan scoops up the loose puck for a chance. Grosenick came out to play the puck and watched it take a Griffins bounce and go right past him and into the crease, but the Griffins could not get to it before it was finally cleared. Turgeon winning battles along the boards, finally taken down, drawing a penalty and setting up a Griffins powerplay. Griffins just not looking sharp and PP does not produce much. Callahan jockeying for position in front and gets mugged, knocking his helmet off. Paetsch called for a late penalty, but the Griffins catch a break as the Barracuda player is called for diving, making it a 4-on-4 situation. Shots on goal: GR 10 - SJ 9.
Tangradi with a huge hit along the boards is whistled off for boarding. Griffins penalty killing, stellar all night, does the job again. Hicketts with a steal and a nice pass to set up a scoring chance but it was just offside. The Griffins thought they had scored to tie the game, but the official said no and there was no review, leading to some unhappy players and a round of booing from the audience. The Griffins were awarded their third powerplay of the game with Robinson in the box for high-sticking. Matthew Ford took up position in front of the net, screening Grosenick, and Lorito picked up the rebound of a Frk shot and tucked it behind Grosenick for a powerplay goal. This goal seemed to flip the switch for the Griffins who started picking up the pace and taking it to the Barracuda. Several good scoring chances for Grand rapids as San Jose is really back on its heels. Dylan McIlrath with a huge hit behind the net that caught everyones attention. Steal by Tangradi and then he went end to end for a great chance. Mitch Callahan gave the Griffins their first lead of the game, skating around behind the net to pick up a rebound and slide it behind Grosenick for his 5th of the playoffs. Grosenick to the bench with possession for the extra skater and Callahan and Tangradi both had chances at the empty net that were blocked. Nosek by his own net found a seem and fired it the length of the ice for an empty netter to push the score to 4-2. The Barracuda threw everything they had at Coreau, but he came up big and stopped everything he needed to. In the dying second a big scrum broke out behind the net as Robbie Russo gave out a facewash and grappled for a bit with a Barracuda forward. Shots on goal: GR 16 - SJ 8 For the Game: GR 42 - SJ 33.
12 forwards - 6 defense
Bertuzzi - Nosek - Frk
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Svechnikov - Criscuolo - Lorito
Ford - Turgeon - Holmstrom
Lashoff - Russo
Paetsch - Hicketts
Renouf - McIlrath
#11 Cleary - Veteran
Ford - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Criscuolo/Callahan - Svechnikov
Bertuzzi - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Paetsch
Ford - Nosek
Renouf - McIlrath
Things did not look good for the home team for most of the game. They were clearly missing their swagger and while they didn't play bad, they didn't play good either. It looked for awhile as if they were trying to be too fancy instead of just bulling the puck to the net. Then with the Lorito goal, it was as if a switch had been flipped and they looked dominant for the rest of the contest.
The fourth line was a difference maker again in this game, Dominic Turgeon was especially impressive and was just a beast with the puck along the boards. This line wore down the Barracuda and were just abrasive on the forecheck. Colin Campbell ended up with four shots on goal and Matt Ford with six, largely as the result of the turnovers they created.
The Tangradi-Street-Callahan was really the only consistent offensive presence the team had through the game. Tangradi and Callahan especially just assaulted the San Jose net and while credited with six shots each, they probably had more than a dozen chances apiece.