Pasquale Powers Griffins Over Admirals With 3-0 Shutout
Svechnikov's pair of goals pace offense...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 21, 2016
The Grand Rapids Griffins got a first string performance from backup Eddie Pasquale, backstopping the home team to a 3-0 win over the first place Milwaukee Admirals. Pasquale was pressed into service when starter Jared Coreau was summoned to Detroit in place of the injured Jimmy Howard earlier in the day. The shutout was the Griffins netminder's first in the AHL since 2013. Evgeny Svechnikov scored 26 seconds into the game and then added a powerplay tally later in the period. Robbie Russo closed out the scoring in the third with his 4th of the season.
The Griffins struck fast, taking a 1-0 lead just 26 seconds into the game. Svechnikov walked right up the slot, deked Mazanec and backhanded a nifty shot five-hole for his 6th of the season. Grand Rapids had several quality chances in the first couple of minutes, and if not for some strong play by Mazanec could have scored a couple. Matt Lorito fed a nice pass to Martin Frk in the slot, but the sniper fell down and didn't get a shot off. Joe Hicketts smoked Liambas with a hip check in front of the penalty box and then 6'5 Jonathan Diaby came right over and started to lay a beating on the Griffins diminutive blueliner. The Griffins ended up with a powerplay. Kyle Criscuolo got wiped out by Smith and was down on the ice for quite awhile, then went straight to the dressing room. Grand Rapids ended up with a five-minute powerplay. Mitch Callahan and Oligny went to the box with matching minors after pushing and shoving in front of the benches. Criscuolo back out on the ice in the latter stages of the powerplay. Great job by Hicketts to go down on one knee and hold the puck in at the line and then get it to Criscuolo. Criscuolo nice touch pass to Svechnikov in the slot and he blasted it into the net from one knee, ala Brett Hull. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Mil 7.
Perfectly executed diving block by Nathan Paetsch and then another at the other side of the net as the griffins stymied the Admirals. Grand Rapids really aggressive so far, winning battles and playing physical, lots of jump and confidence. Hicketts reversed to try and clear, but a bad bounce gave the Admirals a chance, before Hicketts recovered and cleared. Pasquale got piled into by a Milwaukee player, going down in a heap, and then Allen retaliated and got sent to the box. Milwaukee with a chance in front, and Pasquale with a lightning quick glove to make a nice save. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Mil 9.
Two and half minutes into the third, Robbie Russo threw a point shot on net through traffic that eluded Mazanec for a 3-0 lead. Big save by Pasquale and the puck lay between his pads. Milwaukee tried to dig it out and had two chances with it but Pasquale kept it out. Matt Caito stood up an Admirals forward at the line and really thumped him. Two-on-one Dylan Sadowy and Mike Borkowski, but Borkowski fired it over the net. Every whistle is turning into a scrum as the physical nature of the game intensifies. Criscuolo high-sticked leading to a 4 minute Griffins powerplay. Sadowy, seeing rare powerplay time, negated two minutes with a slashing penalty, but the Griffins caught a break when Russo was taken down in his own end and another Milwaukee penalty was assessed. Mazanec to the bench for an extra skater with a minute and change remaining. Svechnikov in on the empty net for a shot at the hat trick and hit the post. Pasquale earned the win and the shutout as Grand Rapids pulled out a convincing 3-0 win. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Mil 11. For the Game: GR 32 - Mil 27.
Criscuolo - Aubry - Svechnikov
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Frk - Nosek- Lorito
Sadowy - Turgeon - Borkowski
Renouf - Russo
Allen - #17 Caito
Paetsch - Hicketts
#11 Cleary - Veteran
#45 Campbell - Injured
#55 Ford - Injured
Callahan - Nosek - Lorito
Frk - Street
Tangradi - Criscuolo/Sadowy - Svechnikov
Paetsch - Russo
Callahan - Street
Russo - Hicketts
Tangradi - Aubry
Paetsch - Renouf
Another convincing win by the Griffins over Milwaukee. The team struck early and never let off the gas, playing a full 60 minutes and looked dominant for much of the game.
With so many players in Detroit, we are beginning to see the next wave find their way. Evgeny Svechnikov was one of the best players on the ice for either team, and showed off his rare blend of power and skill. He was a frequent target for the Admirals and didn't back down, taking hits to make plays. Kyle Criscuolo has been a front line player, scoring 14 points in his last 13 games and showing that his lack of size has not hindered his ability to withstand the rough going. Blueliner Joe Hicketts has counted 2 goals and five points in his last 10 games with a +10 rating in that span. He has also led the physical play with some thundering hits and has shown he won't back down or be intimidated, despite his small stature.
Pasquale had a very strong outing and earned the shutout. He plays an unorthodox style, relying on his athleticism rather than technique, which makes a lot of saves look spectacular.