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Griffins Prey on Eagles 5-2
Cossa stops 41 shots in Colorado rout...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 14th, 2023

For the second night in a row the Grand Rapids Griffins managed to pull off a convincing win despite being badly outshot during the game. GR held a 4-0 lead midway through the third on goals from Austin Czarnik (2), Tyler Spezia (1), Simon Edvinsson (1), and Tim Gettinger (1) then held on for an eventual 5-2 victory. Sebastien Cossa was tested early and often in his first appearance of the season and weathered the storm, making some impressive stops including an extended period of 6-on-5 and 6-on-4 play with Holm on the bench.

First Period
The home team had a lot of energy early, and the physical play started early as a carryover from yesterdays game. Simon Edvinsson knocked a Colorado player down along the boards which drew a crowd. Later in the period Edvinsson interfered with an Eagles player and was sent to the box. The Griffins killed off the penalty and just as it expired, Nolan Stevens hit Austin Czarnik for a scoring chance and a 1-0 lead. Joel L'Esperance looking a little more dangerous tonight with a couple of nice looks around the net. Tyler Spezia made it 2-0 when he cruised through the goalmouth and backhanded a shot past Holm, low glove-side. Eemil Viro with a turnover right in front of the net, but Cossa was sharp and made the save on the prime scoring chance. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Col 9.

Second Period
Early in the 2nd with Bowlby in the box for elbowing, the Griffins powerplay struck for a goal to extend the lead to 3. Edvinsson snuck in from the point to the circle and snapped a shot in high stick-side. Grand Rapids had a great chance as they entered the zone 3-on-1 with Jonatan Berggren getting wide open, back-door, but Hirose took the shot and Holm kicked it aside. Tim Gettinger in front of the net, had a great redirection of a long shot, but Holm made a stellar save to keep it out. Late in the period a rising shot hit Cossa square in the mask, but the Griffins netminder shook it off and continued. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Col 12.

Third Period
Cossa was laid out in the crease during a scrum, taking a blow to the back of the head that knocked his mask off. L'Esperance with a chance at the edge of the crease that touched off a scrum. The Griffins in trouble can't clear the puck out of their own end for several minutes which inevitable led to a Griffins penalty. Gettinger back door on Holm, converted a beautiful feed from Berggren to push the score to 4-0. Colorado finally broke the goose egg on their 35th shot of the game, with the puck eluding Cossa through traffic. The Eagles pulled their netminder with five-minutes left on the clock and Wyatt Newpower promptly netted an empty netter. Holm to the bench again for an extra skater and Viro takes an ill-timed penalty. Malinsky scored on a long shot that beat Cossa high, stick-side for a powerplay goal. Albert Johansson great skill, trying to skate the puck out of danger had his stick held. He used his skates to move the puck out of harm's way. Shots on Goal: GR 3 - Col 22. For the Game: GR 25 - Col 43.

Starting Lines:
#17 Hirose - #27 Czarnik - #48 Berggren
#20 Soderblom - #92 Kasper - #21 Stevens
#71 Hanas - #93 Lombardi - #11 L'Esperance
#26 Gettinger - #32 Spezia - #65 Shine

#77 Edvinsson - #25 Rafferty
#40 Newpower - #23 Johansson
#22 Wallinder - #5 Viro

Starter: #33 Cossa
Backup: #35 Hutchinson

#3 McIsaac
#4 Tuomisto
#44 Didier
#90 Sawchuk


#71 Hanas - #93 Lombardi/#92 Kasper - #11 L'Esperance
#21 Stevens - #25 Rafferty

#20 Soderblom - #27 Czarnik - #11 L'Esperance
#77 Edvinsson - #17 Hirose

#26 Gettinger - #65 Shine
#23 Johansson - #40 Newpower

#21 Stevens - #27 Czarnik
#77 Edvinsson - #425 Rafferty


It was clear early on Friday that this team was not what we had been subjected to the last several seasons. The change in coaching staff, brought a marked change in competitiveness, intensity and accountability. Combined with a upgrade to on-ice personnel, the opening series against Colorado was some of the most entertaining hockey we have watched at Van Andel Arena in years.

Sebastien Cossa limped into the season after a disastrous prospects tournament showing, with a tenuous grip on an AHL job. While its only one game, he looked sharp and calm, making stops look routine, and was the difference in this game. One of the most impressive things about his game was he appears to have overcome his propensity for moving around too much, leading to scrambly play. Against Colorado, he was in the right position and held his ground. Also notable was that he didn't get rattled while GR was outshot 22-3 in the third and he was under siege even after losing the shutout bid.

The 4th line was particularly effective, with Spezia and Gettinger scoring goals. Both Spezia and Shine were slotted too high in the lineup last season and were not as effective as they normally are. What a difference it makes when they play in the correct spot and can do what they do well. Gettinger is a big body and looks to be a great fit with them in the early going.

Friday night Cross Hanas and Elmer Soderblom played on the same line and created some magic with their chemistry. They were split up on Saturday and while both were noticeable, neither looked quite as good. Soderblom in particular has looked very good the opening weekend. His skating, vision and soft hands were on display, and he is just such an impressive looking player. It remains to be seen if he can channel all of that into the production that looks within his grasp.

Official Game Sheet