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McIntyre backstops Checkers to 3-1 Win
Griffins anemic offense can't overcome soft goaltending...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 23rd, 2015

The visiting Charlotte Checkers took a small measure of revenge in avenging Wednesday's loss by stealing a 3-1 victory Friday at Van Andel arena over the struggling Grand Rapids Griffins. The Griffins were unable to get their offense online, and were further shaken by at least one shaky goal by netminder Thomas McCollum. The loss drops the team to 1-5 on the season and leave more questions than answers about what is plaguing a team that should be among the league leaders. Brian Lashoff scored the lone goal for Grand Rapids in the loss.

Grand Rapids started out the game with a lot of jump. They had an early power play where they dominated, keeping the puck deep for the entire two minutes with great movement. Checkers' goaltender (and former Griffin) Drew McIntyre made several great stops to keep the score at zero. At the other end of the ice, McCollum wandered out to play the puck behind the net and got caught. One of his teammates bailed him out with a diving block at what would have been a sure goal into the empty cage. Athanasiou, short-handed, used his speed to pick Jake Chelios' pocket and was pulled down, drawing a penalty and setting up a 4-on-4. Sutter crossed the line and fired a long shot that cleanly beat McCollum over the shoulder, giving the Checkers the lead, on a goal he would probably like back. Miele tried to get it back with a great individual effort to go end to end for a good chance, but McIntyre closed the door. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Cha 11.

Mantha had a great chance in the second period, batting down a high flip pass from Nathan Paetsch and going in alone on McIntyre. The Griffins picked up the hitting game midway through the period trying to up the intensity. Louis-Marc Aubry ripped a huge shot from the line that McIntyre steered away. McCollum caught a break on the power play when a back door chance hit the crossbar and stayed out. The Checkers controlling play with the man advantage, cycling the puck and setting up the back door chance several times. Campbell had a break on McIntyre but couldn't get the puck past him, a common refrain in this game. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Cha 6.

Lashoff launched a rocket from the point that found its way into the net over McIntyre's shoulder, stick-side, to tie the game at one. Miele came out of the box and had a good scoring chance then got the puck back and hit Tangradi in the slot for another. Mantha made an excellent diving play to break up a Checkers' 2-on-0. McCollum made a save and then didn't realize the puck was laying next to him for an agonizing few seconds. The Griffins got a late 5-on-3 man advantage to try and break the deadlock. Frk got his cannon of a shot off from the point and just missed wide. An ill-timed too many men penalty to the Griffins negated the rest of the power play. Charlotte scored a back breaker on the power play with a minute and a half left, and then added an empty netter with McCollum on the bench for an extra attacker to seal the loss. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Cha 13. For the game: GR 29 - Cha 30.

Callahan - Nosek - Zengerle
Tangradi - Miele - Frk
Bertuzzi - Athanasiou - Mantha
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell

Lashoff - Sproul
Ouellet - Marchenko
Paetsch - Jensen

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Coreau

#28 Cleary
#5 Russo
#37 Nastasiuk
#23 Grant - Injured
#44 Rechlicz

Frk - Zengerle - Bertuzzi
Ouellet - Sproul

Callahan - Athanasiou - Mantha
Miele - Paetsch

Zengerle - Callahan - Miele
Patesch - Frk

Nosek - Campbell
Paetsch - Jensen

Athanasiou - Aubry
Ouellet - Marchenko


While I don't put the whole loss on McCollum, the soft goal from the line he let in really appeared to be a backbreaker. The team seemed to sag after that. Having said that though, when you only score one goal you cant expect to win very often. This team's offensive struggles are very perplexing.

Official Game Sheet