Checkers Rally for 2-1 Win

Jamie Johnson Camp 2011 Photo by Jason Kasiorek www.griffinscentral.com

Johnson scores lone goal in Griffins defeat...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
November 5, 2011

This was a costly game for the Grand Rapids Griffins as they lost not only the game but also a pair of players as well. Ace netminder Joey MacDonald was run over by Charlotte's Chris Terry and was forced to leave the game with an injury. The team also lost rookie enforcer Mitch Callahan with an injury midway through the first. Grand Rapids led the game 1-0 on a goal by Johnson only to watch Charlotte score twice on Griffins miscues. MacDonald took the loss despite leaving early, yielding 2 goals on 12 shots. 


Pretty even first period between the two clubs. Charlotte does a good job of clogging up the middle and creating turnovers. Not many quality scoring chances for either side. Johnson made it 1-0 when he picked up the rebound of a Coetzee shot and slammed it into the open side of the net. Callahan left the game after suffering what looked to be a lower body injury. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Charlotte 6. 

Charlotte was buzzing around the net and Blanchard took advantage of a turnover to snap the puck over Joey to knot the score at one. The Griffins are starting to adjust to the Checkers defensive scheme and getting the puck deep. Huge stop by MacDonald on the doorstep to stop what looked like a sure goal. Logan Pyett had an easy clear but missed the glass and put the puck into the crowd drawing a two-minute delay of game penalty. Right off the bat Faulk rifled a point shot just under the bar foe a powerplay goal. Piche and Samson were pushing and shoving towards the end of the period. Piche dropped the gloves but Samson refused. Terry had a break but Ferraro chased him down, caught him from behind and took the puck away. Terry kept going and piled into MacDonald who stayed on the ice in pain for quite awhile. Terry got a major for charging and Pearce came in to take over. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Charlotte 8. 

Grand Rapids only got two shots on the five minute powerplay and looked very disorganized. Pearce went behind the net to play the puck but it took a bounce and went past him, rolling right through the crease. The Griffins were trying to rally late in the period but couldn't even get the puck out of their own end for several minutes. They finally got the puck across the line with possession and Pearce came off for the extra attacker. Shots on goal: GR 10 - Charlotte 4. For the Game: GR 27 - Charlotte 18. 

Lines:
Conner - Johnson - Coetzee/Pare
Nyquist - Andersson - Tatar
Parkes - Raedeke - Mitchell
Pare - Ferraro - Nestrasil 

Pairings:
Exelby - Smith
Janik - Pyett/Lashoff
Piche - Lashoff/Pyett

Starter: MacDonald
Backup: Pearce

Scratches:
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (5 to 6 weeks)
Amadio
Aubry

PP:
Tatar - Andersson - Nestrasil
Nyquist - Pyett

Conner - Johnson - Coetzee
Smith - Pare


PK:
Johnson - Conner
Janik - Pyett

Ferraro - Raedeke
Smith - Lashoff

Nyquist - Andersson

Observations:

This was a winnable game but two mistakes sealed the loss for Grand Rapids. A turnover right in front that ended up in the net, and the bad clear by Pyett. Sometimes you just have bad luck with the puck. Hopefully MacDonald is not injured seriously and that won't be another thing to deal with.

Sebastien Piche played a good game. he was involved offensively, and once he even took the puck end to end and created a scoring chance. He looked solid in his own end and even tried to fight one of the Checker's players. The deck is stacked against him staying in GR, but a few more games like this might make the decision harder.

Jamie Johnson had his second straight strong performance. He is making things happen with the puck and appears to be developing some chemistry with Conner and Coetzee. It also appeared he has added some grit to his game, taking a hit to make a play and going to the high traffic areas of the ice.

Brent Raedeke did a good job of being hard to play against. He used his skating to take away space on the ice and used his energy and incredible skating to keep sending the puck back down the ice, several times with a Griffins player behind the defense for a scoring chance.

Trevor Parkes also was very noticeable. He got the puck a couple of times and made a couple of nice plays. It was also nice to see him throw a couple of big checks as well.

Landon Ferraro saw a lot of ice tonight showing off his speed and defensive presence. If he can get the puck to start going in for him he could move up in the lineup in a hurry.

Lashoff also gets some kudos for being much more involved moving the puck up ice tonight, and not at the expense of his defensive game.

Frankie Pare was absolutely invisible tonight. Several times I had to check the bench to see if he was still playing. He needs to step it up and is running out of time. He cannot have another 20+ game goalless drought to start the season and still remain a prospect.

Gustav Nyquist can make incredible things happen with the puck, but tonight he was a lot of flash and very little substance. He needs to make something happen with those brilliant moves.



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