By Jason Kasiorek
November 15th, 2013
Tomas Jurco kept up his hot hand, scoring three goals to lead the Griffins over the visiting IceHogs 5-3. Linemate Gustav Nyquist chipped in 3 assists while Jarnkrok and Pulkkinen each added 2 points. The game also featured the Griffins debut of winger Jordan Tootoo who played well on a line with Callahan and Nestrasil. Petr Mrazek earned the win with 26 saves on the night.
Nyquist threaded the needle with a pass and hit Jurco in the slot. Jurco split the seam and took the puck right to the net, jamming it past Simpson for a 1-0 lead just 2:22 into the game. Midway through the period, the IceHogs evened the score on a second effort by Morin. The Rockford winger put a point blank shot on Mrazek that was stopped and then snared his own rebound and fired a shot that just trickled through Mrazek's pads. The Griffins had a great chance to regain the lead but could not capitalize on a 5-on-3 powerplay for almost a full two minutes. In the dying seconds, Simpson came way out of the net and got beat to the puck, but just got a stick on the bad angle shot from the corner. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Rock 9.
Paetsch made a great sliding play to break up a 2-on-1 deep in the GR zone. Nyquist put on a clinic in the corner, controlling the puck and weaving in and out of the Rockford players trying to take it away. Callahan and Brookbank came together in front of the benches for some pushing and shoving, which brought over Evans and then Peckham and Tootoo. Cooler heads prevailed for now. Pulkkinen made it 2-1 when he faded back to the point and let a blast go that went in just under the bar for a powerplay goal. Glendening got into some pushing and shoving in front with Nightingale. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Rock 8.
The 4th line, dangerous all night, really creating chances in the third. Evans threw a shot on net and Hoggan blazed through the slot, corralled the puck and snapped a shot against the grain past Simpson for his 6th of the season. A few minutes later the Griffins extended the lead to 4-1 on the powerplay. Almquist cross-ice to Nyquist who hit Jurco in front on the tape for a redirect and his second goal of the night. Eighteen seconds later the Griffins had a defensive breakdown in front and Broadhurst ripped it home back door. Later in the period the Griffins had a great shot on net and the red light went on, but play continued. In the meantime, Jurco completed the hat trick when he fired the puck from the corner and it went in off Simpson. The IceHogs pulled within two again, crashing the net with Nordstrom knocking the puck in. Rockford called a timeout with just over two minutes left, and switched goalies with Raanta coming in for Simpson. Raanta sprinted to the bench with possession for the extra skater. Simpson came back out for the next faceoff and then went back to the bench again for the extra skater. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Rock 12. For the Game: GR 33 - Rock 29.
Ferraro - Glendening - Sheahan
Hoggan - Emmerton - Pulkkinen
Nyquist - Jarnkrok - Jurco
#22 Tootoo - Nestrasil/Glendening - Callahan
Paetsch - Almquist
Evans - Sproul
Ouellet - Marchenko
Nyquist - Jarnkrok - Jurco
Sproul - Almquist
Pulkkinen - Emmerton - Sheahan
Paetsch - Ferraro/Marchenko
Emmerton - Ferraro/Callahan
Evans - Marchenko
Glendening - Callahan/Sheahan
Paetsch - Ouellet
While you know it can't last forever, it sure is fun to watch this team right now. Knowing there are players that are in the pressbox that would be on the second line for most AHL teams, gives you an idea of how stacked the lines are offensively. Jurco and Nyquist continued their dominance of the AHL, and could easily have scored more than they did. Calle Jarnkrok looked very comfortable tonight, and really looks to have turned the corner. He was involved, making good plays and showed a lot of patience with the puck.
Jurco did a great job of using his size and skill to play the role of shooter tonight. He could ring up some big numbers playing with Nyquist this season.
Tootoo looked very comfortable and provided energy playing with Callahan. He had a couple of nice scoring chances and got his nose dirty a few times without taking a penalty.
Insert normal Callahan comments, another solid game, great on the penalty kill, dangerous around the net, and uses his speed to be in the right spot to intercept passes. It would be interesting to see what he could do with more icetime or better linemates after generating 5 goals on the 4th line.