Griffins Ride Red Hot Rookie Mrazek to First Home Win

Gustav Nyquist - Jason Kasiorek

Rookie netminder Petr Mrazek notched his third win in a row, helping the hometown grand Rapids Griffins to their first victory at VanAndel Arena this season. The plucky puckstopper 24 stops including 11 in the first period to keep his team in the game until the offense woke up. Nyquist (6) and Andersson (3) each had a goal and an assist, with pare and Sheahan adding tallies. Freshman rearguard Chad Billins added three assists in the winning effort.

Griffins Ride Red Hot Rookie Mrazek to First Home Win
Fab freshmen come up big in victory...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
November 7, 2012

Rookie netminder Petr Mrazek notched his third win in a row, helping the hometown grand Rapids Griffins to their first victory at VanAndel Arena this season. The plucky puckstopper 24 stops including 11 in the first period to keep his team in the game until the offense woke up. Nyquist (6) and Andersson (3) each had a goal and an assist, with pare and Sheahan adding tallies. Freshman rearguard Chad Billins added three assists in the winning effort.

The first period was all Milwaukee as the Griffins were slow to start and badly outplayed. Mrazek held the fort despite being outshot 12-3. The Griffins didn't even get their first shot until after the 10 minute mark of the period. Ferraro used a burst of speed to gain the zone and then dropped the puck to Sheahan who went in on Smith and roofed it for a shorthanded goal. The Admirals were finally able to get one past mrazek on a 5-on-3 powerplay when Blum ripped a shot through traffic that beat him low. Lashoff smoked Puustinen along the boards, leaving the Milwaukee winger dazed and limping back to the bench. Shots on Goal: GR 3 - Mil 12.

Brendan Smith had a great chance early in the second when he picked off a puck at the line and went in alone on Jeremy Smith, but ran out of room and rammed a shot into his pads. A minute later, Pare redirected a Billins point shot behind Smith for a 2-1 lead. Evans gave Bitetto a pounding in a short one-sided bout, but drew the extra two minutes, leaving the Griffins in penalty trouble again. MacLellan helped tie the game at two when his long shot hit Puustinen in front and ended up behind Mrazek. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Mil 9.

Tatar made a great move to beat a defender for a partial breakaway but lifted the shot over the net. Nyquist made a highlight reel pass behind his back to to Billins who took the puck to the net where Andersson tucked it home for a powerplay marker to regain the lead. Tatar had another great opportunity streaking in on net with the puck, but just couldn't get it over Smith's leg pad and into the net. Nyquist sealed the deal with an empty netter with 30 seconds on the clock to give Grand Rapids it's first home win of the season. In the closing seconds of the game former Griffin Chris Mueller ran Mrazek, knocking him down in a pile of bodies before being sent to the showers. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Mil 5. For the Game: GR 26 - Mil 26.

Lines:
Hoggan - Ferraro - Aubry
Pare - Sheahan - Jurco
Grant - Raedeke - Parkes
Tatar - Andersson - Nyquist

Pairings:
Billins - Smith
Evans - Lashoff
Almquist - Lashoff
Fournier worked in a few times but was not a regular
Starter: #34 Mrazek
Backup: McCollum

Scratches:
Callahan
Nicastro
Paetsch

PP:
Tatar - Andersson - Nyquist
Smith - Billins

Hoggan - Ferraro - Pare
Almquist - Sheahan


PK:
Raedeke - Parkes
Evans - Lashoff

Sheahan - Ferraro
Billins - Smith

Observations:

The first period was a write off. The team did not look good and it was only because of Mrazek that they were still in the game. They also need to cut down on the penalties as they gave the admirals 6 powerplays including a 5-on-3.The team was so worn out from killing penalties in the first that they almost couldn't mount a counterattack.

Evans had a good night. He made several subtle little plays while shorthanded that prevented scoring chances. He also threw a couple of heavy checks as well as dropping Bitteto.

Brendan Smith was coasting early on, but something woke him up later on, and he started to play with intensity, setting up a couple of nice scoring chances by jumping up into the play.

Billins also continues to look great. He doesn't make many mistakes and makes quick decisions with the puck. Another three point night as he remains among the league leaders in several categories.

Jurco had a couple of chances including what should have been the Griffins first shot on goal, but wasn't counted. He is creative and is getting the puck to the net, but needs to work with his linemates more, and could use a shot of confidence.

Petr Mrazek was very good in the net. You could tell that he was ready to go and confident as he was way out of the net at the edge of the paint challenging shooters. You couldn't fault him for either of the goals, a 5-on-3 powerplay goal, and a puck that defected off something right in front. In short he lived up to his advance billing and was the difference tonight.


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