Griffins Ground Aeros 5-2|
Sixty minute effort ensures winÉ
By Jason Kasiorek
December, 15th, 2010
The Grand Rapids Griffins got off to a hot start, scoring three goals in the first period and then held off a late areas rally to take a 5-2 win over the visiting Houston Aeros. The Griffins were led offensively by the line of Jamie Tardif, Jamie Johnson and Francis Pare who combined for 8 points on the night. Owens, Kindl and Raedeke also scored for the home team while Joey MacDonald made 17 saves for the win. The two straight wins at home are a season high for Griffins who won for only the 5th time this season at the Van Andel Arena.
Johnson dug the puck out from behind the net and sent it to Tardif who fired a perfect pass cross crease to Pare for a tap in. A few minutes later Owens stole the puck at the line and went in alone on Khudobin, made a little head and shoulders fake and smoked the puck in for a shorthanded score. This precipitated a goalie change as Hackett came in for Houston. Owens and Bagnall squared off in front of the penalty boxes for a lopsided bout that saw Jordan taking the worst of it. Pyett got smoked in the corner and Straub tried to get retribution for the hit from Gillies. Gillies left the ice, but Kassian came on and immediately challenged Straub. The Aeros forward tied him up pretty good and scored a decisive win. Kindl made it 3-0 towards the end of the period, with a seeing eye goal that found it's way in for a powerplay tally. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Hou 8.
Pretty evenly played period with neither team generating much offense. Johnson got blown out in the corner on a questionable hit. No penalty was called and he was very slow leaving the ice. This seemed to rally both teams as the hitting picked up in a big way. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Hou 6.
Kindl was the last man back on the powerplay and tried to be cute with the puck, turning it over for an Aeros breakaway. Minard made a diving play from behind to break up the rush just in the nick of time. Grand Rapids went up 4-0 on a great play in front. Johnson, the late man, got a gift wrapped puck in front of an empty net and ripped it home for his 4th of the season. Houston got it right back, scoring a powerplay goal by Almond. They pulled within two with just over three minutes on the clock when Gillies put one behind MacDonald. Hackett to the bench for the extra skater, but the puck was intercepted by Owens who threaded it to Filppula and dished off to Raedeke for the empty netter. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Hou 5. For the Game: GR 30 - Hou 19.
Tardif - Johnson - Pare
Owens - Andersson - Minard
Tatar - Filppula - Mursak
Pare/Minard - Raedeke - Straub
Janik/Amadio - Kindl
Kolosov - Meech/Pyett
Smith - Meech
Emmerton - Knee
Tatar - Filppula - Mursak
Smith - Meech
Minard - Johnson - Tardif
Kindl - Smith
Tardif/Owens - Andersson
Kolosov - Janik
Tardif - Minard
Meech - Kindl
Great game by the team, turning in a full game effort and getting a convincing win because of it. I started to worry a little bit at the end, but the empty netter sealed the deal.
Kudos to Owens who was involved and played a good game. He really looked to be working hard and ended up with the proverbial Gordie Howe Hat trick.
Johnson has strung together a couple of strong performances and has officially crept out of the do house. He was effective in all three zones and is starting to come alive offensively.
His two linemates also played good games, good for Pare who had been a little quiet as of late, and more of the same from Jamie Tardif who has had an impressive start to the campaign.
The defense did a good job of moving the puck, with only a couple of times I can remember them getting jammed up in their own end.
MacDonald was not tested much, but played well enough for the W.
Another short handed goal to add to the teams league leading total. This is very reminiscent of the days of Ellis and DiCasmirro scoring shorthanded seemingly at will. Nice to see the hard work pay off.