GR Squanders 2-0 Lead in Loss to Stars
Iowa Hands Griffins Fourth Straight Loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
Grand Rapids held a 2-0 lead in the third on goals by Oulahen and Himelfarb before a late collapse and some shaky netminding allowed Iowa to come back before winning in OT 4-3. Kip Miller, recently named captain of the PlanetUSA all-star game, had the third Griffins goal.
The first period was a slow paced, choppy affair with Iowa being the better of the two teams. The stars did a very good job of keeping the Griffins to the outside, and hemming them in their own zone. The Griffins best chance of the period came when Hussey left a drop pass for as treaking Langfeld who fired it just over the net. Shots on goal GR 4 - Iowa 10.
Early in the second, Brad Norton squared off with Nickerson, and after a few minutes of circling, Norton dropped him with a few quick blows. This kicked in the physical game as the hitting picked up for awhile on both sides. Oulahen put the Griffins on the board eight and a half minutes in when he went to the net and picked up a nice Hussey pass for a quick shot that found it's way past Ellis, stick-side. Hussey had another dangerous chance while shorthanded, but couldn't get it to go in. Later in the period, Ericsson made a great play to drag the puck out of danger in the crease, with his foot. Shots on goal GR 12 - Iowa 10.
Himelfarb made it 2-0 early in the third on a great individual effort. Eric went coast to coast put a move on the Iowa blueliner, and then crashed the net, following his own shot. The puck went off his skate and past Ellis, five-hole. The joy was shortlived however. Three and a hlaf minutes later, Lammer fired a bad angle shot from the corner that caught Howard cheating off the post and snuck through to cut the lead to one. This was the beginning of the end for Grand Rapids, as they began to sag and suffer a complete collapse. Meech gave away the puck right in front of the net, leaving Scalzo alone in front for a point blank shot that cleanly beat Howard. Shortly thereafter, Miller scored on the PP to restore the Griffins lead. Langfeld made a great pass along the goal line to the opposite corner where Miller was waiting. Kip stroked the pass into the top of the empty net from a bad angle. Grand Rapids having a tough time getting the puck out of their zone.Lundquist tied things up 2 minutes later when he pounced on a loose puck at the side of the net, jamming at it until it ended up in the net. Stars coach Allison was very red faced, arguing with the Refs a couple of times in the period. A late interference call to Syvret left Grand Rapids shorthanded for the last 2 minutes of the period. Shots GR 14 - Iowa 16.
A penalty to Insana for holding in the overtime sealed the deal for Iowa. Smith didn't do a good job of blocking a centering pass from the corner to Lundquist who buried an easy backdoor goal for the game winner. Shots GR 1 - Iowa 3. For the Game GR 31 - Iowa 39.
Langfeld - Miller - Keller
Radunske - Himelfarb - Norton
Hussey - Oulahen - Campbell
McGrath - Himelfarb/Langfeld - Brooks
Quincey - Meech
Syvret - Smith
Ericsson - Insana
Langfeld - Miller - Keller
Quincey - Ericsson
Norton - Himelfarb - Campbell
Syvret - Meech
Hussey - Oulahen
Smith - Quincey
Himelfarb - Campbell
Norton - Meech
3 Iowa Scalzo
2 GR Himelfarb
1 Iowa Lundquist
Matt Hussey played his best game of the season. He was truly inspired and was dangerous all night. He did a great job of using his speed to create offense and get back on defense. He needs to play like this more often instead of disappearing into the backdrop like he has recently.
Eric Himelfarb continues his hot streak of improved play. He was very reminicent of missing captain Ellis, and has become an important part of the lineup for the first time in a couple of seasons. If he keeps this up, he may earn a new contract.
Jonathan Ericsson looks better every day. For the laast player chosen in the draft, he has a lot of skill and poise. He rarely seems to make a mistake, and covers up so quick.
I will cut the guy some slack since he has been out for awhile, but Norton is absolutely brutal with the puck. He had so many turnovers and bad clearing attempts I lost count.
The third period collapse is becoming habitual. You could see the team sag after the first Stars goal, and their defensive play fell off quickly. It was apparent in all facets of the game, all the way down to the sloppy line changes. This team has got to give 60 minutes and find a way to hold on late in the game.
Got to say hi to Greg Amadio who was in the stands as a scratch this evening he and 2004 Hobey Baker winner Junior Lessard were together. Also saw Bootland, but he was occupied, and I didn't get to ask him why he was scratched.
Official Game Sheet