Shootout Loss Mars Griffins Home Opener
Hot starts for Smith and Filppula...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 7, 2010
Super rookie Brendan Smith had a great start to his pro career scoring his first goal, but had to settle for a shootout loss as he and his teammates could not hold onto a 2-1 lead. The home team dominated the first period, and then had to hang on as the Heat took over, forcing overtime late in the third. Veteran Jamie Johnson had his first goal as a Griffin and newcomer Ilari Filppula notched 2 assists in the loss. Starter Joey MacDonald, second star of the night, played a great game, but could not stop Abbotsford in the shootout, giving up goals on all three shots.
Things got off to a great start for Grand Rapids when first year blueliner Brendan Smith scored his first career goal just 3:09 into the game. The organizations top prospect drifted in from the point, took a pass in the slot and went to the net to give his team a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later, Greg Amadio made his presence known, throwing a huge hit to clear the front of the Griffins crease and push the puck away. Midway through the period, Joey made the stop and then was jampiled by a crowd of Heat players knocking the puck loose and into the net. MacDonald was incensed that the official waited so long to blow the whistle when he had it frozen. GR almost took the lead again a few minutes later when Coetzee made a great play to set up Tatar in the slot. Later Johnson, showing great second effort, followed up the play and saw a loose puck behind Irving which he whacked in for a powerplay marker. This of course touched off a big scrum that took awhile to get sorted out. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Abb 7.
The second period saw the start of the Griffins spending to much time standing around and watching the play instead of making things happen. Halfway through the period Amadio dropped the gloves with Pelech in a a short bout that ended up a draw. Mursak, Pare and Emmerton were dangerous around the net late in the period, cycling the puck down low and creating chances. Shots on Goal: GR 5 - Abb 11.
Emmerton had a good chance early in the third, cutting in on net, and then barreling into it and taking it off its moorings. Coetzee missed a wide open net on a great feed by Andersson. Great play by Lashoff on his knees to get the puck through traffic, into the zone and springing Tatar for a break. Meech went to the box with less than two minutes left on the clock, setting up an Abbotsford powerplay. Keith stroked one in from right in front to tie the game with 1:19 on the clock. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Abb 9.
The Griffins had several good chances in the overtime, but could not get another past Irving. Shots on goal: GR 4 - Abb 1. For the Game: GR 38 - Abb 29.
Minard streaked down the ice and ripped a shot off Irving's glove and into the net for a goal. Rheault evened things up, freezing MacDonald and sliding the puck past him. Filppula was the second shooter for GR and watched the puck roll off his stick without getting a shot off. Chucko got MacDonald moving and slipped the puck 5-hole to take a 2-1 lead. Johnson went third for GR and ran out of room, not even getting a shot off. Staffan Kronwall scored the eventual game winner, slipping the puck 5-hole on Joey. Emmerton was the last chance for the Griffins and fired the puck high over the net.
Pare - Emmerton - Mursak
Minard - Johnson - Filppula
Owens - Raedeke - Tardif
Tatar - Andersson - Coetzee
Lashoff - Meech
Janik - Smith
Amadio - Pyett
Minard - Johnson - Filppula
Pyett - Smith
Tatar - Emmerton - Mursak
Pare - Meech
Andersson - Tardif
Lashoff - Meech
Owens - Raedeke
Janik - Smith/Lashoff
Emmerton - Mursak/Johnson
Brendan Smith looked great! He not only scored a goal, but looked very confident and poised all night. He moved the puck extremely well, and did not get into trouble with or without the puck. He also showed he wasn't afraid to get his nose dirty, pushing and shoving in the trenches. This kid is a special talent and won't be long for the AHL.
Cory Emmerton was a completely different player from last season. He looked very confident and was making all sorts of moves that he either didn't try, or couldn't pull off in the past. He was very shifty and slippery spinning out of trouble with the puck.
Mursak didn't have much to show for it, but he was very dangerous, creating chances all night.
Filppula showed off some great hands and vision, pinpointing the puck through traffic several times. Once he gets used to his linemates, he should be a dangerous setup man.
Willie Coetzee quietly had a good game. He was in the right spot at the right time all night, showed off some good speed, and played well defensively, even blocking shots.
Tomas Tatar drove to the net, and his extra muscle was obvious as he was able to bull his way deep several times.
Brian Lashoff has icewater in his veins. He just does not panic, recovering quickly and moving the puck out of trouble. he seemed a bit tentative early on.