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Barons Burn Griffins 5-4
Griffins can't overcome five-goal barrage in rough contest...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 25, 2011

The Oklahoma City Baron's scored early and often in a penalty filled contest in sending the Griffins to their 10th regulation loss of the season. The loss was costly for Grand Rapids as captain Garnet Exelby was given a pair of game misconducts and will likely be suspended while blueliner Brian Lashoff left the game with an injury. The Griffins got goals from Nyquist (6), Andersson (3), Conner (7) and Johnson (9) and went 2 for 8 with the man advantage. Thomas McCollum made 28 saves and gave up 5 goals for his 3rd loss.

The Griffins had a hard time trying to catch up to the quick tempo game the Barons play. House won a race to the puck in the corner and hit a streaking Grant with a perfect centering pass. Grant one timed it behind McCollum before he even knew what happened. Nyquist stroked a shot from the slot on the powerplay that just found it's way in under the crossbar to knot the score at one. Brule scored a minute later as he went across the front of the net with Rufenach sitting on him and one handed the puck into the open side of the net. Oklahoma City spent a lot of the period shorthanded, but still carried the play most of the period. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - OKC 9.

Amadio and Grant dropped the gloves but Amadio tripped on a stick and went right down. Grand Rapids made it two-all on a nice play by Andersson, who came to the net late, picked up the rebound of a Conner shot and stuffed it under Danis. Lashoff blocked a shot in front on the PK and looked to have hurt his wrist and went right to the room after leaving the ice. Exelby destroyed Hartikainen in front of the penalty box. Plante went to challenge Exelby and was inadvertently speared in the face and went down. The two tried to get at each other again, and Exelby got the gate and left GR short for five minutes. He was assessed two game misconducts and will probably draw a suspension. Cornet scored on the ensuing powerplay on a backdoor play, lifting the puck into the net. Nyquist and Ferraro had a 2-on-0 shorthanded break but Danis swallowed the puck. Smith took a hard hit along the boards by Pitlick and Ferraro took exception, flying in and pummeling the Baron's blueliner. Pitlick also drew a major for boarding, leaving the Griffins with a powerplay to carry over into the third. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - OKC 15.

Hartikainen got position in front and wristed a quick shot past McCollum low. Curtis Hamilton made it 5-2 halfway through the period. The Griffins had a scare when the puck dribbled through McCollum's pads and rolled just wide of the post. It did however touch off a melee in front between Hartikainen and Amadio. On the ensuing powerplay Conner flicked a bad angle shot from the bottom of the circle into the top corner over Danis. A few minutes later Amadio went after Grant behind McCollum but came out much the worse for wear. Janik fired a big shot from the line that was tipped in front by Johnson to cut the lead to one with just over a minute left. Grand Rapids pressing late with McCollum on the bench, but they ran out of time. Shots on goal: GR 13 - OKC 9. For the Game: GR 30 - OKC 33.

Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Brunnstrom - Ferraro - Callahan
Brunnstrom/Andersson - Raedeke - Coetzee
Nyquist - Johnson - Conner

Smith - Janik
Rufenach - Exelby/Lashoff
Amadio - Pyett

Starter: McCollum
Backup: Pearce

Ehrhardt - Shoulder (Long Term)
Piche - Concussion
MacDonald - Concussion

Nyquist/Brunnstrom - Johnson - Conner
Janik - Smith

Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Nyquist/Lashoff - Pyett

Brunnstrom - Ferraro
Janik - Pyett

Andersson - Pare
Lashoff - Amadio

Raedeke - Callahan


Despite the score, this game was not close. Oklahoma City has a bunch of quick, talented players and they looked to be the better team.

Coach Fraser dressed 11 forward and 7 D tonight. With three forwards scratched I wonder what that says.

Brendan Smith had more spring in his step than he has all season. He made things happen all night and really moved the puck well. He was very aggressive in the offensive end and made a couple of great passes through traffic and on to the tape of someone closer to the net.

Before he was hurt, Brian Lashoff was playing a solid game defensively. He made a great play to break up a 2-on-1 and used his body well along the boards. Hopefully the injury is nothing serious.

Frankie pare is absolutely snake bit. He had so many great chances and didn't eve get the puck on net. I wonder how much longer his line with Tatar and Andersson is going to stay together and keep getting a free pass every game. These three are not scoring or making things happen right now, why they should keep getting so much ice time and powerplay time is beyond me.

McCollum deserved a better fate as he was again solid but unspectacular. He really was not as bad as the numbers say and kept his poise after giving up the goals.

Three-point nights for Conner and Nyquist who seem to be able to find those little opening in the offense zone, scoring from unlikely places.

Official Game Sheet