Griffins Blank Crunch 2-0|
Howard Posts Second Whitewash in Three Games...
By Jason Kasiorek
Jimmy Howard turned in a solid outing, stopping 26 shots for his 10th career shutout, downing the Syracuse Crunch 2-0. Carl Corazzini and Mark Hartigan provided the offense, notching a goal and an assist apiece in the win. The Griffins dominated play most of the game, turning in a full 60 minute effort for the first time at home this season.
The Griffins came strong out of the gate, taking it to the crunch, and playing with some jump. Syracuse tried to establish a physical, checking game early, but Grand Rapids matched them hit for hit. Corazzini put GR on the board at the 6:47 mark when he notched a rare powerplay goal. The speedy winger came late and took a great feed from Ritola, rifling it from the circle, over Munro. Quincey turned the puck over at the line, leading to a 2 on none break for the crunch, but Jimmy came up big. Late in the period Gelech and Ritola had huge chances in front, jamming at a loose puck in the crease. GR 15 - Syr 10.
The Griffins continued to carry the play in the second, and the Crunch started to back off on the hitting. Grand Rapids peppered Munro's replacement Popperle with pucks and held the Crunch to just 4 shots, most of which came on a late powerplay. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Syr 4.
Syracuse tried to pick up the pace in the third, but the Griffins resolve was good. Just past the 10 minute mark Hartigan potted the insurance marker, crashing the crease and knocking the puck in over Popperle's shoulder to make it 2-0. Syracuse had a great chance late when Galvin turned over the puck behind the net, but Howard held his ground and kept the puck out. Popperle to the bench with almost 2 minutes left on the clock for the extra attacker. Oulhen had a partial break on the empty net, but Rome hooked him down, ending the Crunch's comeback attempt. Shots on goal - GR 9 - Syr 12. For the Game: GR 34 - Tor 26.
Tardif - Helm - Cullen
Oulahen - Hartigan - Corazzini
Ritola - McGrath - Gelech/Engelhardt
Ference/Quincey - Galvin
Ericsson - Insana
Kindl - Stafford
Note: GR dressed 7 defenseman, so everyone played with everyone else.
Ritola - Hartigan - Corazzini
Ericsson - Insana
Tardif - Cullen - Helm
Quincey - Stafford
Tardif - Oulahen
Quincey - Ference
Corazzini - Helm/Cullen
Hartigan - Gelech
McGrath - Helm
Another Solid game by Ference who looks to have turned the corner.
Hartigan was a demon in the corners, digging the puck out and setting up scoring chances.
Kindl didn't see a lot of ice time, but looked pretty good when he was out.
Ritola had some good offensive pressure, and it can only be a matter of time before he starts ringing up points.
The Cullen - Helm - Tardif line was very effective, breaking up plays and putting pressure on the net. Cullen in particular was very noticeable.
Congrats to Howard on his strongest home game of the season. If he continues to play like this, the wins will keep coming. he did a very good job of coming out of the net and challenging the puck. He made the big saves when he had to.