Pearce Run Down in Costly Loss to Rivermen

Griffins Rally but can't hang on in OT loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
December 30th, 2011


Grand Rapids was well on its way to a 3-2 win over the Peoria Rivermen when a series of unfortunate events conspired to send it to an overtime loss. Frankie Pare (5), Brendan Smith (4) and Mitchell Callahan (3) scored three unanswered goals to rally back from a 2-0 deficit. Then with just four minute remaining in the game, netminder Jordan Pearce was bowled over in the crease and forced to leave the game with an injury. On the next shift the Griffins were assessed a questionable penalty allowing Peoria a powerplay chance on a cold goalie and they scored to tie the game, and a few minutes later the winner in overtime. Joey MacDonald took the loss despite paying just 8:52 making 3 saves on 5 shots.

The Griffins had an early powerplay nullified by a penalty, an indicator of how this period was going to go. They had three great chances on a down and out Bishop but were unable to solve the super-sized netminder. Grand Rapids looked to be building momentum after an aggressive penalty kill. The Rivermen however caught a break when a puck deflected off a body and into the net for a goal credited to Shattock. Fairchild notched another late in the period to give the Rivermen a two-goal lead. Shots on Goal: GR 16 - Peo 11.

Pearce played the puck behind the net and turned it over, giving Peoria a couple of great chances. Tatar made a great play to steal the puck, weave in and out of the defense and dish to Pare for a pretty goal to open the floodgates. Johnson took a feed in front of the net, drew the netminder to him and then slid a pass to the late man, Smith, who rifled it into the empty side of the net for a shorthanded goal. A minute later the Griffins hot a two-on-one with Raedeke and Callahan. Raedeke took the shot and Bishop got a piece of it, but Callahan poked it home for a 3-2 lead. Traffic around Pearce and the puck was batted in with a high stick and called back. Scrum in front if Bishop and Evans took down Aubry with Callahan taking exception. The Griffins had several quality chances, and if not for the stellar play of Bishop could have been up by three or four. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Peo 11.

Grand Rapids in control for most of the period, with lots of puck possession but not much offense. They seemed content to run the clock down. With about four minutes left in the game, Pearce got piled into and knocked into the net. He was down for quite some time testing his knee and then had to be helped off the ice and left the game in favor of MacDonald. No penalty was called on the play, but on the next time down the ice Brunnstrom made incidental contact with Bishop while trying to bat the puck out of the air and got thrown in the box for two minutes. Smith got high-sticked in the face (another no-call) and that left Hensick alone to sneak a shot between MacDonald and the post to tie the game. Peoria had a late surge, with the last shot going off the post as the horn went. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Peo 8.

OT Exelby hit Ferraro in front, and he just couldn't lift it over Bishop's pad. With ten seconds left on the clock, former Griffin Danny Syvret fired a lazy wrester over MacDonald and into the net for the win. Shots on goal: GR 3 - Peo 4. For the Game: GR 43 - Peo 34.

Lines:
Tatar - Johnson - Pare
Mursak - Brunnstrom - Estoclet/Raedeke
Raedeke/Estoclet - Ferraro - Coetzee
Parkes - Aubry - Callahan

Pairings:
Smith - Janik
Lashoff - Pyett
Exelby - Piche

Starter: Pearce
Backup: MacDonald

Scratches:
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (Long Term)
Amadio

PP:
Mursak - Brunnstrom - Estoclet/Raedeke
Smith - Janik

Tatar - Johnson - Pare
Lashoff - Pyett


PK:
Tatar - Ferraro/Callahan
Lashoff - Pyett

Johnson - Brunnstrom
Janik - Smith

Mursak/Pare - Raedeke

Observations:

Reminiscent of Slap Shot, it was a garbage loss, and for the second time this season we see one of our netminders leave the game injured after a collision.

Sebastien Piche played another solid game. He had a great hip check that sent a Peoria player flying and played a physical game, muscling player away from the front of the net. He also made several good first passes up the ice to start the transition game.

Mursak showed that the wheels were ready to go as he was baling up and down the ice. His timing is a bit off, but that is why he is here.

Callahan played an aggressive game and was very noticeable on the forecheck and PK. He has really played well since he stopped trying to fight every game.

Fabian Brunnstrom was very noticeable especially defensively, finishing his checks and playing hard at both ends of the ice.

Parkes was on his toes all night, flying around the ice causing havoc with his speed and energy. He was throwing the body around with reckless abandon hitting everything in an opposing jersey.

Aubry showed off a lot of speed and grit, and really had some great chemistry with his linemates, Parkes and Callahan. This line was very hard for Peoria to play against and was rewarded with a lot of ice time.

Ferraro was excellent in the circle, winning several key face-offs. He also has a nose for the net, and always seemed to be arriving there in proximity to the puck.

Brian Lashoff sacrificed the body tonight, blocking shots around the net on the PK, and played a solid game.



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