Miele Manhandles Marlies in 7-1 Win|
Veteran center tallies 5 points in victory...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 19th, 2014
Veteran Andy Miele keyed a 7-1 win over the visiting Toronto Marlies Friday night by scoring a season high five points (1g 4a). The Griffins scored early and often in the rout, notching four powerplay goals in the process against a slumping and undisciplined Toronto team. Teemu Pulkkinen had a pair of goals in the win, while Mantha, Callahan, Sproul and Zengerle each had two points. Jared Coreau kept up his string of steady starts, turning aside 22 shots for the win to run his record to 5-0 with a 0.98 goals against average.
The game had a physical tone right from the opening faceoff as Toronto tried to intimidate the Griffins. Mantha took a shot from Granberg in the corner and did not back down, giving him a couple of shots right back. Sproul put a shot on net from the circle, and Callahan picked up the rebound firing a bad angle shot at Bibeau. Miele corralled the rebound and ripped it into the net for a man-advantage marker. A little later, Porter made it 2-0 at the side of the net when he buried a back door pass from Marek Tvrdon. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Tor 7.
Pulkkinen's powerplay bullet from the circle beat Bibeau with Callahan screening in front to extend the lead to three goals. Brutal non-call on the Marlies at center ice with the Griffins killing a penalty. MacWilliam and Nosek were scrapping and Mantha came right over to pull the Toronto player's helmet off and touch off a multi player scrum to the side of the Marlies net. Four on four play, Pulkkinen cut across the the slot and roofed a shot over Bibeau from in close. Rupert tried to bait Callahan into a fight, but Cally wasn't interested. Game getting more physical, with lots of chippy little hits and slashes. Frattin smoked Jensen along the boards and Paetsch went right over to express his displeasure. Miele with a behind the back pass to Mantha who pushed it over to Ferraro for the Griffins fifth goal, glove side. The Marlies finally got on the board, late in the period when the puck was turned over next to Coreau and Brown capitalized. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Tor 8.
Early in the third Evans got boarded in the corner and was slow to get up. On the ensuing powerplay, Callahan took a Sproul centering pass in front and roofed the puck over Bibeau for a 6-1 lead. Frattin hit Bruton at the line so hard he lifted the physical winger right off his skates and knocked him through the air. Bruton got right back up and shook it off. Great shift by Aubry , who won a race to the puck, kept possession, winning a couple of battles in the corner, and then drew a penalty. Mantha walked in and hit Nosek with a back door pass. He ended up getting it back and went top shelf with a quick shot from the circle. All hell broke loose behind the Marlies net as frustrations bubbled over with Rupert attacking Porter and then Pulkkinen. Tvrdon with a nice scoring chance when he split the D and just had the puck roll away in the slot. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - Tor 8. For the Game: GR 29 - Tor 23.
Hoggan - Aubry - Bruton
Pulkkinen - Miele - Callahan/Mantha
Zengerle - Porter - #13 Tvrdon
Mantha - Nosek - Ferraro
Evans - Sproul
Paetsch - Jensen
Czarnowczan - Marchenko
Athanasiou - Broken Jaw
Backman - Returned to Sweden
Callahan - Miele - Pulkkinen
Paetsch - Sproul
Zengerle - Nosek - Mantha
Czarnowczan - Jensen
Porter - Callahan
Paetsch - Jensen
Nosek - Ferraro
Evans - Marchenko
The top line was dangerous all night and victimized a struggling Marlies team. Miele, Pulkkinen and Callahan had nine points on the night including 4 goals and 5 assists. Mantha saw a couple of shifts in Callahan's place.
The losses of Athanasiou to a broken jaw for the next seven weeks and Backman back to Sweden weren't felt tonight, but will be serious blows to the team depth long term.
Speaking of depth, Marek Tvrdon had a solid game for the Griffins playing on the third line, and getting some extra time late in the game. He was a different player than we saw last year prior to being returned to juniors. He was engaged, went to the net, and kept his feet moving. The rookie winger even used his size a couple of times to fight for position, showing off a drastically improved compete level.
Mantha also looks to have regained another step and some confidence as he was much more fluid in both his skating and puck handling.
Jared Coreau did not see a ton of rubber or quality shots, but he was solid, calm and confident between the pipes. His positioning was good, and what was truly impressive was his quickness for such a big goalie.
Aubry really had some impressive shifts in the game, but continues to search for consistency. He shows off some surprising quickness, soft hands and good instincts to go with his size, he just needs to do it more often to take the next step.
Czarnowczan had an impressive game on the blueline for Grand Rapids. Recently recalled from Toledo, he looked like an AHL regular. He even saw some powerplay time on the second unit and moved the puck well.