Revenge is Sweet as Griffins Rout Rochester 4-1

Douglas Janik

Revenge is Sweet as Griffins Rout Rochester 4-1
MacDonald sharp in 30 save effort...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
January 25th, 2011

After blowing a two goal lead Saturday to this Rochester team, Grand Rapids was determined to come out with a stronger effort, and did, heading the Americans a 4-1 loss. Grand Rapids was backstopped by Joey MacDonald who stopped 30 of 31 shots including some jaw-dropping saves in third. Doug Janik and Jamie Johnson each had a goal and an assist, while Raedeke and Brunnstrom also scored for the Griffins. Second year man Brian Lashoff was named third star after a brilliant night defensively as he continues to bounce back from a rough start.

Neither team getting much going early in the first as Rochester is doing a good job of clogging up the middle. Brunnstrom capitalized on a two-on-one break with Minard, flicking the puck just under the bar to open the scoring. Smith had a good chance in front, touching off a scrum after the whistle. Less than two minutes later, Raedeke picked a corner and lasered a shot from the circle to make it 2-0. On the next play, Tatar won a battle along the boards and made a nice centering pass to Johnson in the slot who froze Leggio and snapped a shot into the top of the net. The Amerks had a good chance in close before Exelby used his size to clear out the crease. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Roc 8.

Whitmore finally got the Amerks on the board mid-way through the second when he banged home a shot in front. Lashoff made a great defensive play, using his long wingspan to break up a rush and sweep the puck away. Acrobatic save by MacDonald, to take away what looked to be a sure goal, hope he didn't tear a groin with that stretch. Exelby cleared the front again and got a few extra shots in for good measure. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Roc 14.

The Griffins had a great PK early in the third, frustrating Rochester. MacDonald was the difference for a few stretches of the period with some incredible stops. Piche took a big hit along the board and then dropped the gloves and challenged the aggressor, giving a pretty good accounting of himself. Janik loaded up a big blast at the point on the powerplay that got through everyone to restore the three-goal lead. Huge glove save by Joey to deny a dangerous Rochester scoring opportunity. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Roc 9. For the Game: GR 36 - Roc 31.

Lines:
Conner - Johnson - Nyquist
Minard - Ferraro - Brunnstrom
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Parkes - Raedeke - Coetzee

Pairings:
Smith - Janik
Lashoff - Ehrhardt
Exelby - Piche

Starter: MacDonald
Backup: McCollum

Scratches:
Pyett
Callahan
Thomas
Aubry
Pearce - Knee

PP:
Conner - Johnson - Nyquist
Janik - Smith

Minard - Ferraro - Brunnstrom
Lashoff - Ehrhardt

PK:
Andersson - Brunnstrom
Lashoff/Piche - Exelby

Tatar - Pare/Ferraro
Janik - Ehrhardt/Smith

Conner - Johnson

Observations:

Lots of things went right tonight for a nice Griffins win. The defense as a whole was as good as they have looked at any point of the season, and I could get used to Pyett in the pressbox. MacDonald was at the top of his game, especially in the third where he made some unbelievable stops.

Brian Lashoff played a super game and is easily the most improved player the last few games. He looks confident at both ends of the ice and is reacting instead of thinking the game. He was very noticeable blocking shots and using his long arms and stick to sweep the puck away from forwards going to the net.

Fabian Brunnstrom had a lot of jump in his skates tonight and was playing like a man on a mission. He weaved in and out of players to go to the net all night showing off some highlight reel moves, and was rewarded with a goal.

Piche also played a solid game and showed off some of the sandpaper that he has added to his game, banging along the boards and even dropping the gloves. Still waiting for his offensive game to show itself, but in the meantime he plays safe and adds a physical presence on a tandem with captain Exelby.

As long as we are recognizing defensemen, we also have to give a shout out to Janik who had another great game, notching a goal and an assist and a first star of the game note. He is just so steady and does the right thing.

Slumping winger Frankie Pare could not convert on several good chances with the glut of forwards may find it harder to stay in the lineup if he can't get his game dialed in soon.

On that note, that whole line with Tatar and Andersson was pretty quiet tonight and needs to get it going again.


Official Game Sheet
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