Mitch Callahan photo by Jason Kasiorek www.griffinscentral.com
Griffins Tame Bulldogs 5-2
Grand Rapids secondary scorers take charge...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 23, 2011
The Griffins got plenty of support for their slumping scorers, getting offense from the third and fourth lines and the defense tonight to take down the Hamilton Bulldogs 5-2. Captain Garnet Exelby and Rookie Pugilist Mitch Callahan but scored their first goals of the season, while Brian Lashoff, Landon Ferraro and Frankie Pare each notched their second of the campaign. Thomas McCollum was strong but unspectacular making 23 shots and picking up his first win of the season.
Both teams got off to a slow start as the beginning of the game featured more east-west play. Callahan and Fitzgerald dropped the gloves and squared off. They both landed some haymakers, but Callahan looked to have the edge. The Griffins were shorthanded quite a bit, but the penalty-killing unit was great. Lashoff picked up the puck, gained the zone and walked around the defenseman before curling into the circle and wresting a puck past Mayer stick side. Tatar picked up a cross-ice pass and went in alone on a shorthanded breakaway, but only got off a bad angle shot. Nice 2-on-1 at the end of the kill between Raedeke and Callahan. Rufenach smoked Wahl behind the net with a shoulder. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Ham 12.
The Griffins are exploring the Bulldogs defense with speed, creating multiple odd man rushes even while shorthanded. Hamilton tied things up halfway through the period on a goal by DiSimone in the slot. They took the lead a bit later with a shorty when the puck got by Brunnstrom at the point giving Willsie an odd man rush that he converted over McCollum stick side. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Ham 9.
Exelby evened things up again when he took a feed from Tatar and cranked a shot from the point off the crossbar and into the net. A few minutes later, Ferraro caught Mayer cheating of the post and snuck a shot in short side for a 3-2 lead. Callahan made it 4-2 when he crossed the line with speed and laser a shot in past Mayer for his first career goal. The Griffins were rolling all four lines to great effect. Mayer went to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:17 remaining. Pare rang an empty net chance off the post but got another nice feed from Tatar and didn't miss again. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Ham 4. For the Game: GR 35 - Ham 25.
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Brunnstrom/Nyquist - Johnson - Conner
Callahan - Raedeke - Nestrasil
Nyquist/Brunnstrom - Ferraro - Coetzee
Exelby - Pyett
Janik - Rufenach
Amadio - Lashoff
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (Long Term)
Piche - Concussion
MacDonald - Concussion
Nyquist - Johnson - Conner
Brunnstrom - Janik
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Pyett - Lashoff
Andersson - Pare
Janik - Pyett/Rufenach
Ferraro/Callahan - Raedeke
Exelby - Pyett
Brunnstrom - Conner
It was nice to finally get a win! This game had a completely different complexion because all twelve forwards actually got to play as the game went on. And it was our bottom two lines that did most of the damage.
Landon Ferraro was easily the player of the game. He was working hard all night making things happen with the puck, and doing incredible work on the PK. His speed and effort also drew a couple of penalties for the Griffins.
Gustav Nyquist looked like he had more room to work with against Hamilton and really made things happen with the puck.
Rufenach made his AHL debut with Grand Rapids and looked pretty competent. He moved the puck well, played physical and wasn't a liability in his own end. He was rewarded with an assist and hopefully another chance to show what he can do.
Thomas McCollum made some good saves, but still showed some vulnerability high stick side. He was solid and made the saves he had to for the win. He also looked much more composed mentally.