Zadina Nets Pair in 6-3 Rout of Hershey|
Griffins defensive woes haunt them again...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 12th, 2018
The Griffins lineup looked much different than it did at this point last season, with only seven returning players who were on the opening day roster at the start of last year. That means that the Hersey Bears faced a Griffins team that had two-thirds of its players turned over in the last year. Rookie Filip Zadina entertained the Grand Rapids faithful on opening night, scoring a pair of goals and showing off his ability to make plays in traffic. The other newcomers represented themselves well with Wade Megan and Carter Camper also notching goals and David Pope scoring his 1st pro point (an assist) in his first game. Starter Harri Sateri stopped 19 of 22 shots to pick up his first win as a Griffin
Givani Smith corralled a loose puck and went in alone on net but couldn't get a shot off. Wade Megan got the Griffins on the board with a drive from the circle that found its way in under Samsonov for a 1-0 lead. Filip Zadina with a slick spin-o-rama move at the line to sidestep a defender and gain the zone. Grand Rapids killed off a late penalty to Megan, but Shumakov picked up a loose puck in front and slid it past a frozen Sateri into the open side of the net. Less than a minute later, Zadina in the slot, blocked a shot, kicked it to his stick and sniped a sick shot past Samsonov for his first professional goal. Thirty seconds later Puempel ran the score to 3-1, putting a shot through traffic that hit Samsonov's skate and redirected into the net. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Hershey 7.
Hersye cut the lead to one early in the second period on a fluky play in front. Shumakov aggresive on the forecheck knocked the puck off defenseman Matt Finn's stick and it bounced in off Sateri for his 2nd of the game. Megan hit Matt Ford for a great shorthanded chance but he was interfered with and went down, with no call, a common theme on the evening. Givani Smith with another shorthanded breakaway, flew in on Samsonov and tried to go five hole but ran out of room. Carter Camper restored the two-goal lead when he blazed up the slot and took advantage of a puck that deflected out of the corner, rifling it past Samsonov. Hershey again pulled within one when Hobbs beat Sateri high, stick side form the circle for a powerplay goal just 11 seconds in to Zadina's penalty. O'Brien off for cross-checking, giving the Griffins their 2nd powerplay of the night. Matt Ford in front trying to push a rebound in and got taken down. Zadina in the circle one-timed a rebound past a sprawling Samsonov for his 2nd of the game. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Hershey 7.
Third period was back and forth with neither team mounting much offense. Shine cut in on net for a great chance, but broke his stick and tried t kick the puck in. Zadina snuck up the middle and ripped a shot that Samsonov closed the pads on, then looked behind him to make sure he had it. Grand Rapids with a couple of defensive breakdowns in front, leaving Sateri out to dry, but got lucky as Hershey couldn't get a shot on goal. Nice play by Finn to take away a backdoor pass that looked like a sure goal. Hershey trying to get Samsonov to the bench for an extra skater, but Grand Rapids kept putting the puck back in their zone. He finally made it to the bench with just under a minute later Dominic Turgeon fired it down the ice and into the empty net for a 6-3 lead. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Hershey 8. For the game: GR 27 - Hershey 22.
#11 Filip Zadina - #19 Carter Camper - #25 Chris Terry
#15 Turner Elson - #23 Dominic Turgeon - #12 David Pope
#54 Givani Smith - #22 Wade Megan - #73 Matt Puempel
#55 Matt Ford - #10 Axel Holmstrom - #65 Dominik Shine
#27 Jake Chelios- #52 Dylan McIlrath
#6 Matt Finn- #9 Vili Saarijarvi
#5 Mackenzie Stewart - #14 Trevor Hamilton
Starter: #29 Harri Sateri
Backup: #42 Patrik Rybar
#17 Marcus Crawford
#45 Colin Campbell
#51 Trevor Yates
Are technically still on injured reserve with Detroit (NHL).
Smith - Megan - Terry/Puempel
Pope - Saarijarvi
Camper - Holmstrom - Puempel/Terry
Zadina - Ford
Turgeon - Elson
Stewart - McIlrath
Smith - Ford
Chelios - Hamilton
The Grifins' patchwork defense did a pretty effective job for most of the game. With all of the regulars in Detroit the team was forced to dress three players who were either targeted for the ECHL or hadn't played in the AHL before this season. Saarijarvi was very involved offensively and looks to be more involved and engaged than he was in spot duty last season. Jake Chelios played a solid game in all situations and appears to be a very versatile blueliner. Dylan McIlrath played his normal physical game, and a couple of times waded into a pileup to help out a teammate. His presence caused opposing players to back away from the pile and even noted agitator Liam O'Brien only wanted to chirp when their was an official between them.
Filip Zadina played his best game of the young season last night, and after scoring his first goal, which was an amazing show of hand-eye-foot coordination, he seemed to grow more confident. the latter stages of the game showed him attacking the net and showing off his elusive moves. He needed a big night, and hopefully now that he has bulged the twine, he will feel more comfortable.
Carter Camper was very impressive showing off some nifty one-on-one skills to walk around defenders. The one negative observation I had was how much slower our crop of veterans looked to previous years. The team in general looked to lack some of the top end speed they have had for a while, part of it is probably the depleted defensive corp and players still getting used to one another, but we didn't look real fast.
Givani Smith had a solid game with very little to show for it on the scoresheet. Having watched him the last couple of years at the prospects tournament and occasional games he has played in GR, it is amazing how far he has come. He is a physical beast and can hit and fight and hold off checkers as he transports the puck to the net. He also is a good skater and his has much better hands than you would expect. He had a couple of excellent chances, hopefully one will go in for him shortly and he just goes form there.
While I missed having Colin Campbell in the lineup, I have to give a shout out to Turner Elson. It is great to see him healthy and firing on all cylinders again, he was a monster on the forecheck and did a great job on the penalty kill.