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Grand Rapids Stomps Moose 4-0
Howard Holds The Fort...
By Jason Kasiorek

Jimmy Howard rang up his first shutout of the season, and NHL returnees Filppula and Quincey both added a goal and an assist to power the Griffins past Manitoba at Van Andel arena tonight. Josh Langfeld also added a goal and an assist, and Kolanos added a pair of assists in the win.

The crowd enthusiastically welcomed back Filppula and Quincey when they were announced as starters at the beginning of the contest. Kyle got the crowd into it less than five minutes in when his point blast found its way through traffic in the dying seconds of the powerplay to put GR up 1-0. Bootland took a bad penalty a few minutes later, negating a Griffins powerplay, he went on to play a great game after that, trying to make up for it. Great work by Booter upon leaving the box signlehandedly he battled for the puck, won the battle, generated a quality scoring chance, and drew a penalty. Filppula snuck in backdoor, picked up a shot by Ericsson just after that penalty expired and blew it into the wide open side of the net for a 2-0 lead. Shots on goal GR 10 - Man 6.

The Griffins went up by three early in the second when Langfeld crashed through the crease and corraled the puck for an extreme angle shot he lifted into the opposite top corner of the net. Smith dropped the gloves with the Moose's Bouck for a short grappling match that landed them both in the box with roughing minors. Meech went to the box as well, but GR killed off the penalty as they would all 7 on the night. Late in the period with the Griffins on a 5-on-3 powerplay, Syvret launched a rocket from the blueline, dead center, that ended up behind "Flats" stick side for a 4-0 lead. Shots GR 10 - Man 5.

In the third, Manitoba threw everything they had at Jimmy Howard, but he stood tall. With pressure mounting, Manitoba took its second High Sticking Major of the game and spent the rest of the third killing that penalty off. Shots on goal GR-8 Man 12. For the game GR 28 - Man 23.

Oulahen/Barney - Filppula - Brooks
Kolanos - Miller/Filppula - Langfeld
Brooks - Oulahen/McGrath - Bootland
Hussey - McGrath/Ellis - Bootland

Quincey - Meech
Smith - Syvret
Ericsson - Galvin

Starter: Howard
Backup: Liv

Himelfarb - Lower body injury

Miller - Ellis - Langfeld
Syvret - Quincey
Kolanos/McGrath - Filppula - Bootland/Barney
Ericsson - Galvin

Ellis - Langfeld
Ericsson/Smith - Meech

Hussey - Oulahen
Quincey - Syvret

Filppula - Bootland

Three Stars:
3 GR Filppula
2 GR Howard
1 GR Quincey

Observations: Filppula really learned a lot in the NHL, and looked very poised and patient tonight. He dominated offensively, especially on the PP where he controlled play. Watch him while you can, because he is sure to be back in the NHL soon.

Ericsson had a burr under his saddle tonight, showing off his mean streak. He was pushing back and getting in peoples faces, and for a few moments, I thought he might drop the gloves after an attempted spear by Manitoba.

Bootland played one of his best games in a Griffins sweater, after returning from a bad penalty early in the game. He was like sandpaper on the forecheck and dogged in his puck pursuit. The only thing he couldn't do was get on the scoresheet.

Jimmy Howard was not tested much, but kept his focus and made the big stops when he had to. congrats on the shutout.

Click here for the Official Scoresheet.