Late Rally Leads Griffins over Monsters 3-2
Cullen scores game winner with 39 seconds left...
By Jason Kasiorek
After a scoreless first period, Lake Erie took over in the second and it looked like the Griffins would record another home loss. That was before the Griffins scored three unanswered goals capped off by Cullen's powerplay marker with 39 seconds on the clock to give GR only their second home ice win of the season.
Grand Rapids played a fairly good first period outshooting Lake Erie and having the more dangerous of the scoring chances. Evan McGrath had the best chance when he found himself in the corner with the puck and made a nice head and shoulders fake to get to the front of the net for a point blank opportunity. Weiman was up to the task for the Monsters, frustrating the Griffins shooters to keep the game at 0-0. GR 11 - Lake Erie 5.
The tide turned in the Monsters favor early in the second when Forbin flew by the front of the net and batted a puck out of midair past Howard to put them up 1-0. Corazzini had a nice chance to quickly tie things up on a wraparound, but could not get it in. Things got worse when former Griffin Brent Kelly picked off a centering attempt and took off on a breakaway. He frozer Howard and roofed it to make it 2-0. Lake Erie carried the play most of the period and looked to be in the drivers seat when Tardif was sent to the box for hooking. They were unable to take a 3-0 lead, and when the penalty expired, Stafford hit Tardif with a pass as he came out of the box. Tardif streaked in, went behind the net and made a great move to score on the wraparound. The goal came with 28 seconds left in the period and seemed to give the home team some life. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - Lake Erie 13.
It was all Grand Rapids in the third period as they peppered Weiman with 19 shots. Just 49 seconds in Corazzini launched a wicked wrister from the circle that found an opening high stick-side to tie the game at two apiece. Two and a half minutes later Cody McLeod was sent off by himself with a high-sticking major, leaving Grand Rapids with a five minute man-advantage. The Griffins were not able to get much going on the powerplay, even giving Lake Erie a good scoring chance when Gelech turned over the puck in the slot to Brent Kelly. With time getting short GR ended up with a 5-on-3 powerplay and had several great chances. Burki came out of the box for Lake Erie cutting the advantage to 5-on-4. With 39 seconds on the clock Cullen put a weak shot on net from the circle that dribbled in, just laying over the line for the game winner. The monsters pulled the goalie but could not get the equalizer. Shots on goal - GR 19 - Lake Erie 4. For the Game: GR 39 - Tor 22.
Tardif - Helm - Cullen
Oulahen - Hartigan - Corazzini
Ritola - McGrath - Gelech/Engelhardt
Stafford - Ference
Ericsson - Galvin/Insana
Quincey - Kindl
Note: GR dressed 7 defenseman, so evryone played with evryone else.
Ritola - Hartigan - Corazzini
Ericsson - Insana
Tardif - Cullen - Helm
Quincey - Stafford
Tardif - Oulahen
Quincey - Ference
Corazzini - Cullen
Hartigan - Gelech
Nice to see the guys rally late in the game, usually when they are down late, they are done.
Gelech was very aggressive on the PK, playing with moreintensity than the last home stretch.
Corazzini had a good game and was hustling all over. Was fabulous on the PK using his speed to break things up.
Kyle Quincey had one of his best games of the year. He was solid defensively, played physical, and cointrolled the puck well. Hopefully this is a sign he is on again.
Ericsson needs to use his size more effectively. Several times he was outmuscled or outworked for the puck, that should not happen. He also doesn't seem to be handling the puck as much which is strange, since it was one of his strengths last season.
Ference had a pretty good game in his own end, and broke the goose egg in the points column on the season.
I can't say enough about the play of Darren Helm and Jamie Tardif. Several times those two seemed to breathe life into the team with their hustle and energy. Helm ate up the Monsters defense all night with his end to end speed, and Tardif went to the net and generated 7 shots on goal while keeping the puck deep on the cycle.
I was fortunate enough to run into Steve Yzerman and Jiri Fischer at the rink, and while I din't have an opportunity to speak with Yzerman, I did talk to Fischer. Jiri is the Wings director of player development and a frequent visitor at the Van Andel.