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Grand Rapids Rips Rochester 4-2
60 minute effort rewarded...
By Jason Kasiorek

Everyone wondered what would happen if the Griffins played a full 60 minutes. Wonder no more. Captain Matt Ellis led the team to their best effort of the season, a convincing 4-2 win over the league leading Rochester Americans 4-2. Besides Ellis' 2 goal (6,7), three point performance, Kip Miller chipped in 2 assists, and Bootland (6) and Radunske (2) added goals.

Pretty even first period, with the Griffins matching the intensity level of the Amerks. Brock Radunske drew first blood at 8:49 on a great play by Ellis. Ellis passed the puck out front while laying on the ice to Himelfarb who dished to Radunske for a quick shot that beat Anderson stick side. A few minutes later Brooks crashed the net and barrelled in the netminder which drew a crowd. A little pushing and shoving but no penalties ensued. Anthony Stewart tied the game at one when he pounced on a loose puck in the slot and snapped it 5-hole past Howard. Ellis regained the lead 2 and a half minutes later when he picked an errant puck out of his skates and snapped a lightning quick shot 5-hole on Anderson before he could react. Shots on goal GR 11 - Roc 12.

Grand Rapids turned it up a notch in the 2nd holding the Amerks to 1 shot on goal through the first 17 minutes of the period. Ellis extended the lead 1:20 in, crashing the net and powering home his own rebound. Grand Rapids almost gave them a chance to get back in it when there was a mixup at the bench. Several griffins jumped on, and then jumped back off, but it was not caught so no penalty was called. Rochester beginning to lose their composure at being down, and trying to bring the physical game. After throwing a few hits, Ericsson leveled an Amerks player along the boards, and the hitting game slowed down. Shots on goal GR 17 - Roc 4.

Bootland was hot in the third with several dangerous chances early on, playing with Miller and Langfeld. Rochester capitalized on a bad bounce midway through the third to pull within one. Howard came way out of the net to make a stop that got by him and came back off the end boards for an easy open net stuff by Mancari. The Griffins defense is starting to look a little tired, playing a man short, and leaving rebounds. Howard has closed the door, and turns aside several dangerous chances. Rochester pulls the goalie with 1:40 on the clock for the extra attacker. Langfeld makes a good move to go in 2-0 with Bootland on the empty net, and then makes a classy play by turning down the shot in favor of a pass to Booter who scores into the empty net. Anderson stays on the bench as Rochester storms the GR net, but Jimmy is up to the task. Rochester takes a penalty which takes the wind out of their sales, and even a late penalty to Galvin isn't enough to let them back in. Griffins win 4-2. Shots GR 8 - Roc 12, for the game GR 36 - Roc 28.

Langfeld - Miller - Bootland
Oulahen - Himelfarb - Brooks
Hussey - Ellis - Campbell
Radunske - McGrath - Keller
Radunske - Ellis - Himelfarb
Langfeld - McGrath - Bootland

Insana - Meech
Ericsson - Galvin
Insana - Smith
Ericsson - Meech

Starter: Howard
Backup: Koopmans

Ellis - Miller - Bootland
Ericsson - Hussey

Langfeld - Himelfarb - Campbell/Keller
Galvin - Meech

Ellis - Langfeld
Smith - Insana

Oulahen - Himefarb
Meech - Smith

Bootland - Miller/Hussey

Norton - Injured - Back
Quincey - Injured - Concussion
Syvret - Didn't make it back from Edmonton in time.

Three Stars:
3 Roc MacArthur
2 GR Smith
1 GR Ellis

Ellis was dangerous all night, I lost count of the number of dangerous chances he had. He was hustling all over the ice, and came back even after taking a shot in the back of his leg which stunned him.

Best 60 minute effort of the season by the team. Things look like they are starting to fall into place. I had a hard time believing that the Amerks had only lost 3 games and we had lost 14. Good effort by all.

Dan Smith had another good game. He is not as noticeable as some of the other blueliners because he doesn't provide much offense, but he logs a ton of minutes, sacrifices his body and makes a good first pass up the ice. Nice to see him recognized with the second star.

Other than the second Amerks goal, Howard played a stellar game. While he only faced 28 shots, there were a lot of quality chances, especially in the third when they put the pressure on.

Click here for the Official Scoresheet.