Griffins Overcome Mancari hat trick for win...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 3rd, 2011
The Griffins surrendered two two-goal leads but hung on long enough to rally for an overtime win against the archival Chicago Wolves. Grand Rapids leapt out to a 3-1 lead on goals by Brunnstrom (2), Coetzee (5) and Nyquist (7) before penalty trouble and sloppy play allowed the Wolves to rally back with three goals from Mark Mancari including a pair on the powerplay. The suddenly potent Joakim Andersson scored the griffins' fourth goal and then added the winner in overtime. Thomas McCollum picked up his fourth win of the campaign, making 28 stops on 32 shots.
Grand Rapid came out of the gate with a lot of jump, penning the wolves in their own end until they took a penalty. On the ensuing powerplay, Pyett put a shot on net from the point and Brunnstrom popped the rebound past Climie for a one goal lead. A back door goal by Chicago knotted the score at one. McCollum had no chance. The Griffins answered right back when Janik fired a monster shot from the point that was tipped in front by Coetzee. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Chi 10.
Piche laid a big open ice hit on Longpre that left the Wolves' winger down and out. Mancari came over to push and shove with Piche, but Exelby interceded and cooler heads prevailed. Good pressure by Grand Rapids controlling play for long periods. Johnson behind the goal line hit Nyquist in the opposite circle with a pass that the slick Swede snapped right back into the net stick side. Mancari cut the lead to one with a rising shot from the slot that went in over McCollum. Smith restored the two-goal advantage a minute later when he drifted into the slot for a shot that Andersson backhanded behind Climie. Mancari answered right back with his second of the game to make it 4-3. Mancari completed the hat trick with a powerplay goal with 2:54 left in the period to tie the game at four. Shots on Goal: GR 17 - Chi 11.
Tatar went after Connauton and when the gloves came off Tatar got pummeled. Callahan and Duco decided to go next, discarding helmets and other equipment before scrapping. Callahan took some punishment in the one sided affair. The game got decidedly ugly at this point as the hitting picked up in big way. The Griffins had a great chance to win the game late in the period with Exelby and Aubry in on a 2-on-1. Exelby took the shot, and Aubry just missed the rebound. Shots on goal: GR 4 - Chi 8.
OT Lashoff made a great play on a Chicago 4-on-2 using his body to block the shot wide of the net. The Griffins gave away the puck in front of the net and Rodin just ran out of room for a good shot. Andersson got a breakaway and fired a shot over Climie's shoulder for the OT game winner. Shots on goal: GR 4 - Chi 3. For the Game: GR 41 - Chi 32.
Pare - Aubry - Andersson
Brunnstrom - Johnson - Nyquist
Amadio - Raedeke - Callahan
Tatar - Ferraro - Coetzee
Smith - Janik
Lashoff - Pyett
Exelby - Piche
Starter: #35 McCollum
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (Long Term)
MacDonald - Concussion
Pare - Aubry - Johnson
Nyquist - Pyett
Brunnstrom - Johnson - Tatar
Janik - Smith
Andersson - Pare
Janik - Pyett
Johnson - Brunnstrom
Lashoff - Exelby
Raedeke - Callahan
Logan Pyett actually played a decent game tonight. He spent a lot of time in the offensive end outing shots on net and distributing the puck. This is what he needs to do more often as his defensive game is probably not enough to justify his ice time.
Smith had another strong outing. His magnificent point shot is back in evidence and has enough to velocity to hobble players when hit, just ask to the two wolves blueliner that tried to block shots and had to limp to the bench.
Piche played a super game, especially on the powerplay where on one shift he had 4 low tipple shots at the net, feathered several passes through traffic and onto a teammates stick, and held it in at the point. He also laid a huge open ice hit on a Wolves' player as his physical play has come online.
Andersson seemed to like playing on the wing and was much more involved offensively. He went to the net several times and just missed a hat trick with a couple of stellar chances that didn't go in.
Ferraro did kill many penalties tonight but really looked good with Tatar and Coetzee as the trio buzzed around creating havoc with their speed.