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Griffins Stun Marlies with late Comeback 5-4
Cross Hanas puts the nail in the coffin with overtime winner...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 11th, 2022

Rookie Cross Hanas capped off a three-point night (1g-2a) by scoring a huge goal (6th) just over a minute into overtime to put a successful end to an unlikely four-goal comeback by the Griffins. Missing offensive stars Matt Luff, Austin Czarnik, and Jonatan Berggren on recall to the parent Detroit Red Wings, the undermanned Grand Rapids team fielded a lineup of 11 forwards and 7 defensemen and found themselves in a hole early. The lineup may have been lacking star power, but made up for it in determination, battling back from 3-0 and 4-1 holes on the strength of Pontus Andreasson's first two AHL goals and single tallies from Jared McIsaac (1st of the year) and Joel L'Esperance (5th). The win brought GR back to .500 on the season at 6-6 and snapped the Marlies' six-game win streak.

First Period
Toronto got on the board first, as Semyon Der-Arguchintsev fired a shot in over Olkinuora's glove just past the six-minute mark. With Criscuolo in the box for a rare ‘throwing the stick to a teammate' minor, the Marlies had their first powerplay. Albert Johansson had a nice shorthanded scoring chance on a nifty feed from along the boards. He cruised into the circle and ripped a shot on McKay. Play went the other way and a Marlies shot trickled through Olkinuora and sat in the crease behind him until Holmberg reached in and slid it in for a powerplay goal and a 2-0 lead.
Griffins trying to ratchet up the intensity level with a physical forechecking shift. Big hit by shine behind the net, followed by Smith finishing a big check in the corner. Johansson rattled the boards by the blueline with a loud check. Trenton Bliss very aggressive on the forecheck and one of his checks draws a crowd and then a scrum breaks out in the corner leading to another Marlies man advantage. Great play by Spezia to intercept a pass and clear the puck. Taro Hirose just about picked off an errant clearing pass, then back the other way and Toronto notches their second powerplay goal of the period with just under a minute left. Kyle Criscuolo had a good chance in front but hit McKay in the chest. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Tor 9.

Second Period
Givani Smith all alone in the circle, pounced on a loose puck and beat McKay, but the puck just hit the post and stayed out. Criscuolo took exception to a cross-check in front of the net and dropped the gloves with the much larger Hoefenmeyer in a very one-sided bout that saw Criscuolo taken to the ice and both players receive double minors for roughing. Eemil Viro to the box for slashing, and another Marlies powerplay. Brian Lashoff with a huge play, stopping a shot that was headed into the net on the open side of Olkinuora. Giveaway in front of the Marlies net and Spezia with a big shot. Smith made a heads-up play to move the puck up-ice through traffic. Criscuolo put a shot between McKay's pads that slid just wide.
What a move by Givani Smith stickhandling in front through traffic to produce a beautiful point-blank chance. Spezia down the wing on a 2-on-1 and hit Joel L'Esperance who drilled a shot under McKay's glove for a Griffin's goal 1-3. Hirose on a partial break, pulled down from behind with no call. Viro tried to pinch and missed the puck, leading to a Marlies 3-on-1 and an easy goal to push the lead to three. Griffins on a late powerplay, Hirose having a tough time at the point, turned the puck over, and then on the next possession couldn't hold it in at the line. Good pressure by GR on the powerplay, starting to show some signs of life. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Tor 9.

Third Period
The Griffins' comeback started early in the third, with Pontus Andreasson calling for the puck in the slot, he got it and roofed it over McKay for his first AHL goal. Donovan Sebrango got called for cross-checking and the Griffins go back to the penalty kill. The Andreasson goal seemed to give the team some jump and they killed off the penalty. Hirose whistled for tripping right after the penalty expired and GR was right back on the kill. Despite the back-to-back powerplays - both teams had one shot on goal in the first ten minutes of the period.
Midway through the period, Jared McIsaac rifled a shot from the circle that found its way through McKay to cut the lead to one. Big scramble in front and Smith had a couple of great pokes at it. Hirose took a high stick, and the Griffins had a golden chance to tie things up on the powerplay. Cross Hanas set up as the triggerman in the circle, but McKay stopped the shot. The second time was the charm as Hanas blistered a shot from the circle that hit Andreasson in front and went in 4-4. Grand Rapids with smothering defense and Toronto is not able to get the puck into the GR end with control. Pushing and shoving after the whistle as the Marlies took exception to Smith at the edge of the paint and a big scrum broke out. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Tor 5.

Both teams had a scoring chance before Hanas shot in, stole the puck and walked right in on McKay, and chipped the puck in under the crossbar. GR 5-4 win. Shot on goal: GR 2 - Tor 1. For the Game: GR 33 - Tor 24.

Starting Lines:
#28 Bliss - #32 Spezia - #65 Shine
#96 Andreasson - #51 Criscuolo - #54 Smith
#17 Hirose - #11 L'Esperance - #13 Worrad
#71 Hanas - #11 L'Esperance - #51 Criscuolo
#79 Tyutyayev - #65 Shine - #54 Smith

#3 McIsaac - #18 Lashoff/#20 Kampfer/#33 Johansson
#18 Lashoff - #5 Viro
#5 Viro - #49 Barton/#20 Kampfer
#18 Lashoff - #37 Sebrango

Starter: #45 Olkinuora
Backup: #1 Brattstrom

#40 Newpower-Inj
#41 Lacroix
#77 Edvinsson


#17 Hirose - #11 L'Esperance - #96 Andreasson
#71 Hanas - #3 McIsaac

#779 Tyutyayev - #65 Shine - #54 Smith
#13 Worrad - #49 Barton

#13 Worrad - #71 Hanas
#33 Johansson - #20 Kampfer

#65 Shine - #32 Spezia
#3 McIsaac - #18 Lashoff


Cross Hanas has a great game, stepping up in the absence of so many top griffins players. He was involved in all situations and logged a ton of ice time. As noted before, he has a knack for going to where the puck is going to be and get a lot of nice scoring chances because of that. He has good speed and is an agile skater, something which serves him well defensively and on the penalty kill. One of his greatest strength is his release which is lightning quick and very accurate. He fired a one touch shot right onto the stick blade of Andreasson in front of the net that nearly went in. He has been very impressive in the early going and his 6 goals is tops on the team and second in AHL rookie scoring.

Givani Smith had a very impactful night despite not showing up on the scoresheet. He had five shots on goal, and several more that were blocked or missed the net. He was on tonight, and his A game sees him using his size and soft hands to make things happen in front of the net. When the desire is there he can stick handle through traffic with the best of them, and can make things happen with no room. He was also a physical force, throwing checks and bulling his way to the slot with the puck. If he plays like this more often the points will come.

Seth barton, recently recalled from Toledo had a great night on the Griffins blue line. As the night went on he saw more and more ice time, as his steady play and great first pass calmed things down after a shaky Griffins start. He is an effective and unflashy defender, but really moves the puck well. Evidence of the coaching staff liking his game was seen when he was the one defender out for the winning goal during the 3-on-3 overtime.

Shout out to Tyler Spezia and his return to the lineup. He is such a hard working and noticeable player, his absence was a tough one for the team to recover from. He gives 110% every shift and is great on the forecheck. Seeing him and Trenton Bliss out together made for some entertaining shifts as Toronto could not get out of their own end as they buzzed around stealing pucks and hitting everything in a blue sweater.

Official Game Sheet