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Larsson Leads Team to 8th straight Victory over Monsters 2-1
Swedish netminder comes up big in shootout win...
By Jason Kasiorek

Daniel Larsson stood on his head to keep his team in the game early and then turned in a masterful performance to give them a 2-1 shootout win. Kris Newbury scored the only goal of the shootout, but couple with Larsson's 5 stops, it was all that was needed. Jeremy Williams had the other goal for Grand Rapids who are now unbeaten in 8 including 7 straight at home.Grand Rapids has used the streak to climb to 4th place in the North Division, 1 point out of third place behind the Abbotsford heat, and 2 points behind the 2nd place Hamilton Bulldogs.

Lake Erie came out of the gates and caged Grand Rapids in their own end, outshooting them 5-0 in the opening 5 minutes. Two straight Monsters powerplays didn't help the Griffins cause. Crosty smoked Bordeleau in front of the benches, setting the physical tone for the rest of the game between those two. Grand Rapids killed off the penalties and started to build some momentum as the period went on. Newbury showed great patience along the boards before floating a cross ice pass to Williams in the circle who one timed a shot past Cann for a 1-0 lead. The Griffins never looked back from this point, outshooting Lake Erie 13- 3 in the second half. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - LE 8.

Grand Rapids continued its surging play, firmly in command of the game until a 5-on-3 powerplay halfway through the period. The Griffins penalty killers were up to the task, killing 6 minutes of a Lake Erie man advantage. Larsson was incredible during the kill to keep the 1-0 lead. Tardif got his bell rung along the boards by Bordeleau, which of course immediately attracted the attention of Paul Crosty. Bordeleau and Crosty had a heavyweight bout with both landing some big flurries. It looked to be continued later with Bordeleau leaving the ice for repairs.In the closing minutes of the stanza. Larsson made a huge stop on a Cavosie breakawy to keep the lead. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - LE 10.

The 3rd period looked a little more even at the start. Pare blocked a shot with his foot and hobbled off the ice in pain. He would eventually return. Bradford picked up a loose puck in front and chipped it over Larsson, breaking the shutout bid with six and a half minutes left and tying the game at one. The Griffins had several great chances to win the game as the clock ticked down. Newbury and Mursak with a 2 on 1, Mursak had a great chance, but Cann made an impressive save. Lake Erie really stepped up their play at the end of the period, leaving the Griffins on the ropes. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - LE 4.

The Griffins were back on their heels for all of the extra session, having trouble even getting the puck out of their own end. Shots on goal: GR 1 - LE 5. For the Game: GR 35 - Hou 26.

The Shootout:
Williams went first for GR, but didn't get a shot off. Former Griffin Darren Haydar was next for Lake Erie, but his shot missed the net. Round two was more of the same for grand Rapids with Ritola not getting a shot off beofre running out of room. Willsie was second for Lake Erie, but Larsson made a pad save to keep it scoreless. Emmerton tried to make a move and watched the puck roll of his stick, and at the other end Bradford fired a shot that Larsson snared with a quick glove. Pare started round 4 by ringing a shot off the crossbar behind Cann, McNicoll finished by watching the puck roll wide of the net. Newbury blazed in and blistered a shot five hole into the back of the net to give Grand Rapids the lead. Stoa was the last chance by Lake Erie, but ran out of room and didn't get a shot away, giving Grand Rapids the win.

Ritola - Newbury - Mursak
Axelsson - Rismiller - Williams
Tatar - McGrath - Tardif
Vigilante - Emmerton - Pare

Kolosov - Kindl
Crosty - Pyett
Janik - Delmore

Starter: Larsson
Backup: #1 Centomo


Ritola - Newbury - Mursak
Williams - Kindl

Tatar - McGrath - Tardif
Demore - Williams

Ritola/Mursak - Newbury
Janik - Delmore

Axelsson - Rissmiller
Kolosov - Kindl

Emmerton - Vigilante


Let me start out by saying I have seen the white whale! (sorry obscure Moby Dick reference) Jakub Kindl had a good game. As a matter of fact he had a very good game, one of the best I have seen in three years. Their were no glaring defensive zone giveaways, he made good crisp passes, and used his body to shield the puck to move it up ice. I have no idea what the difference was today, but it almost looked like someone else was wearing his sweater today.

The story of this game had to be Daniel Larsson. The second year netminder was phenomenal when he had to be, like on the 5 on 3 powerplay, making stops look easy. He did a great job of steering rebounds out of the shooting lanes and into the corner. He very easily could have had a shutout today, but for a little bad luck late in the game.

Jan Mursak had a great game as well. He was very good as a penalty killer, taking away a sure goal with a fine defensive play next to the net. At one point he stickhandled through three Monsters players and had a very dangerous chance. He is very visible all over the ice, and is really making a name for himself with his hard work and hustle.

Some of the same could be said for his linemate Kris Newbury. Newbury never stops skating, working or hustling. It is hard to see why Toronto would give up on a player like this, if only to use as a role model for their younger players.

Mattias Ritola had at least a dozern quality scoring chances, but is absolutly snakebit right now. He had pucks roll off his stick, fanned on shots, and at one point even fell down while trying to score. Hopefully his hard work will be rewarded and they will start going in for him.

Another player who is due for some puck luck is Axelsson who also had several good chances, but couldn't get one by Cann.

Frankie Pare had another solid outing and was very noticeable, breaking up plays and sending the puck up ice.

Official Game Sheet