Coreau's Shutout Sinks Admirals 3-0|
Tangradi's 14th goal extends home winning streak to 11 games...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 31st, 2015
The Griffins entered New Years Eve looking to avenge a 3-0 loss from the visiting Milwaukee Admirals suffered on Tuesday night. Jared Coreau provided the defense, stopping all 23 shots he faced to lead the Griffins to a 3-0 whitewash of the conference leaders, and Eric Tangradi provided all the offense they would need with his 14th of the season. Captain Jeff Hoggan (4) and veteran Louis-Marc Aubry (4) also scored for Grand Rapids in the win. Alden Hirschfeld made his season debut for the Griffins, who were playing without regulars Tomas Nosek (Detroit), Andreas Athanasiou (Injury), Mitch Callahan (Broken Jaw), Dan Cleary (Injury) and Thomas McCollum (Injury).
Good pressure on the forecheck by Tyler Bertuzzi early to force a turnover and draw the ire of the Admirals. Triston Grant, making his 2015 home debut, had a good scoring chance on a wrap-around, but Mazanec made the stop. Tangradi dropped Gaudreau with an open ice hit, then answered the challenge from Allen, dropping the gloves in a short bout. Big save by Coreau on a point blank shot from the slot. Great pressure by the Aubry line, cycling the puck and creating chances. Lashoff fired a big point shot that hit Girard square in the face. The Admirals center dropped to the ice and had to be helped to the dressing room for repairs. Jensen was heading to the bench and didn't expect a pass, causing him to promptly turn it over to a speeding Admirals' forward, but Coreau made the save. Martin Frk drew a penalty with his hustle cutting hard to the net carrying a Milwaukee defender on his back. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Mil 8.
Miele got sprung behind the defense on a breakaway, but was offside, so the play was blown dead. Anthony Mantha hit Zengerle in the slot for a quick shot that Mazanec stopped. Mantha had a breakaway and two quick pops at Mazanec. A scrum broke out along the boards with Bertuzzi in the middle of it, no surprise as he seemed to be a burr under the Admirals saddle all night. Tangradi got Grand Rapids on the board midway through the period when he raced up the slot, took a pass from Zengerle and ripped it in past Mazanec, glove-side. He almost made it 2-0 on an odd man rush with Mantha and Zengerle later in the period. Tangradi carried it deep and then dished to Mantha for a shot in close but ran out out of room to make a good play. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Mil 7.
Milwaukee on the powerplay, missed on a wide open Griffins' net. Devane knocked Bertuzzi into the net, touching off a scrum after the whistle. Bertuzzi was jawing with an Admirals forward, and then Payerl came from out of nowhere to hit him from behind . Aubry got tossed from the circle and Campbell came in to win the draw and then draw a penalty with his hustle. Hoggan on the doorstep picked up a beautiful Aubry centering pass from behind the net and chipped the puck in over Mazanec. Oligny hit Tangradi by the Milwaukee bench and then put him into the bench. The Admirals summoned Mazanec to the bench for the extra skater during a powerplay, giving them a two man advantage. The Griffins penalty kill was up to the task, clearing the puck several times until Aubry netted an empty net goal with one second left on the clock. Shots on goal: GR 12 - Mil 8. For the Game: GR 36 - Mil 23.
Bertuzzi - Miele - Frk
Tangradi/Hoggan - Zengerle - Mantha
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell
#23 Tristan Grant - #32 Alden Hirschfeld - Nastasiuk
Paetsch - Jensen
Ouellet - Russo
Lashoff - Sproul
Backup: #34 Jeff Lerg
#11 Cleary - Injury
#12 Athanasiou - Injury
#15 Callahan - Broken Jaw
#30 McCollum - Injury
Tangradi/Bertuzzi - Miele - Zengerle
Paetsch - Sproul
Frk - Tangradi - Mantha
Ouellet - Russo
Miele - Nastasiuk
Paetsch - Jensen
Campbell - Aubry
Ouellet - Lashoff
Grand Rapids came away with a good win in a close game against the Western Conference leading Milwaukee Admirals. The game was closer than the score would indicate, but the Griffins really appeared to outwork Milwaukee in all three zones.
Jared Coreau looked very confident in the net, and while he didn't see a ton of shots, he was ready for the ones he did. When he is on his game (which is the case much more often then not as of late) he really is an impressive netminder with his speed. For such a big guy, he is very quick and active in his crease. With his size he also takes a lot of the net away, a very dangerous combination.
Anthony Mantha had a very good night and looks to be playing with a new level of confidence. What really was noticeable was his skating as he was really flying around the ice all night. Last season, and even earlier this year there were times when he seemed to be coasting, but he was on his toes yesterday. He had several great chances, showing off his great hands and used his size well, battling for position around the net. Mantha also was very active in the neutral zone, using his anticipation to break up plays and feed the transition game.
Tangradi looked like he had been shot out of a cannon and was a force on the ice. He used his size and speed and just looked like a world beater. He scored the first goal, threw some heavy hits, and even answered the bell on a fight. He had a lot of jump, fueled partially one would assume by his recent NHL recall.
If you strip away the rambunctiousness of Bertuzzi's game, he has a surprising skill set. He has a nose for the net and a velcro stick, as everytime you look the puck seems to be drawn to his stick. He really got under the Admirals skin and I lost count of the number of times he ended up in exactly the right spot to bat the puck away to a Griffins forward with speed heading up ice.
Martin Frk may not have made it on to the score sheet, but he had a good game nonetheless. Perhaps coach Nelson's most noticeable reclamation project, Frk looks like a different player. He does not look out of place when he doesn't have the puck, and appears to be be quicker and stronger than in the past. He is very adept at getting himself open and in scoring position, but no longer looks like a liability when he is not doing that.