Veteran netminder notches 19th career Griffins shutout...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 2, 2011
Newcomer Fabian Brunnstrom scored his first goal of the season and the Griffins also got tallies from Willie Coetzee (4) and Jamie Johnson (3) in the win. But the real story was goaltender Joey MacDonald who turned in a dominant performance en rout to his second whitewash of the season and 26th as a pro. The veteran netminder got some help from the posts but still made 27 saves to record his 5th win of the season.
The Griffins had a tough start to the game, having a tough time getting the puck out of their end the first few minutes. The ride changed however when the Griffins got their first powerplay of the game. Conner with possession wheeled around in the corner and hit Brunnstrom who strokes a shot top shelf for his first goal of the season. Coetzee dropped the gloves with Brennan along the boards during a scrum. The Griffins winger stood in there desire taking a beating. Grand Rapids really carried the play the rest of the period, with some brilliant plays by Brunnstrom and Conner. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - LE 8.
Great play by Conner to hit Coetzee in the slot for a point blank chance that hit Desjardins. Amadio took exception to Bordeleau and chased him across the ice to engage him in a bout. Right off the face-off Ben Wilson challenged Callahan, who lit him up with several flurries to the head before losing his balance. The Monsters had some good pressure late on the powerplay, but GR escaped the period with a 1-0 lead. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - LE 9.
Johnson kicked the puck into the slot where a streaking Coetzee one timed it deep into the net stick side for a two-goal lead. The Griffins got a gift with just over five minutes on the clock when a puck trickled through Desjardins pads to make it 3-0. Lake Erie was awarded a penalty shot on a weak call with about 1:47 left on the clock, but MacDonald stoned Mercier. In the dying seconds of the game a monsters shot hit both posts and exited behind MacDonald without going in. Shots on goal: GR 13 - LE 10. For the Game: GR 38 - LE 27.
Conner - Johnson - Coetzee
Nyquist - Andersson - Brunnstrom
Tatar - Raedeke - Pare
Callahan - Ferraro - Aubry
Exelby - Smith
Janik - Pyett
Amadio - Lashoff
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (5 to 6 weeks)
Tatar - Johnson - Conner
Pare - Janik
Brunnstrom - Andersson - Nyquist
Smith - Pyett
Callahan - Ferraro
Exelby - Janik
Aubry - Raedeke
Smith - Exelby/Lashoff
Nyquist - Andersson
Great win by the team and even better effort to play a full 60 minutes. The wings brass in attendance including Ken Holland, Chris Osgood, Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Aaron Downey among others.
Fabian Brunnstrom had a tremendous debut for Grand Rapids. He changed the pace of the game in the first period with his skill and went to the net with the puck seemingly at will. He was not as noticeable in the latter stages of the game, but that is probably a conditioning issue as he had only played one other game so far this season.
Chris Conner put on another show trying to convince the Wings he is ready for a recall. His speed, anticipation and grit make him the teams most dangerous forward.
Gustav Nyquist took advantage of being moved to the second scoring line and the extra space that afforded him. He used his great hands and vision to weave in and out of traffic with the puck and set up some sick scoring chances.
Mitchell Callahan played an effective game in his return from suspension. He toned down the extra-curricular's and played a steady shift. His play with the puck was surprising and he did a great job on the penalty kill. He also brought the small crowd to its feet with the devastating beat down he administered to Wilson.
Joey MacDonald had a great game and deserved the shutout. He made some huge saves while shorthanded and frustrated the monsters offense.
Willie Coetzee had a good game and could easily have had another goal or two.
Joakim Andersson did a great job defensively and while shorthanded, but does not look like he has the offensive presence to carry one of the top two scoring lines.
Brendan Smith is playing good in his own end but does not appear to be the same player he was last season offensively.