Griffins End 2013 On Sour Note With 3-1 Loss
Callahan scores team leading 13th in loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 31st, 2013
As 2013 wound down, the Griffins cooled down and dropped their second consecutive game to the Toronto Marlies, this time by a score of 3-1. The Griffins' offense was unable to take advantage of 5 powerplay chances in a physical game, but they gave up a man-advantage goal which turned out to be the game-winner. Surging Mitch Callahan scored the only goal for Grand Rapids who have lost four of their last five games. Thomas McCollum made 16 saves in absorbing the loss.
It was clear there was some bad blood between these two teams during the early going in a first period punctuated by physical play. Things came to a head when Evans and Holzer engaged and the Griffins veteran came out on top of a short but decisive fight. The Marlies got on the board first when Brennan circled behind the net and lifted a shot in over McCollum. Later in the period Tootoo crashed the net and was slashed by Sparks. He retaliated by punching the Marlies netminder and touching off a melee. Almquist got a stick stuck in his skate and got caught in the corner while play went the other way. He got free just in time to break up a 2-on-0 rush by the Marlies. The Griffins had a late powerplay, but Jurco retaliated and was sent off, killing it before it got started. Shots on Goal: GR 18 - Tor 8.
Late in the second, Tootoo checked MacWilliam up and into the Griffins bench. Broll dropped the gloves and tried to get at Tootoo, but Grant behind him, cross-checked Broll to the ice. Jurco set up Marchenko with a wide open net, but he fired it wide for one of the best scoring chances of the period. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Tor 4.
Tootoo took a bad penalty in front of the Marlies net, setting up another powerplay. A minute into the man-advantage, Bodie in front, redirected a shot past McCollum for a 2-0 lead. Callahan had a great chance right off the faceoff, but Sparks kept it out. The teams leading goal scorer, Callahan was promoted to play with Jarnkrok and Pulkkinen for the most of the third as Coach Blashill was looking for some offense. A beauty of a chance for Callahan at the edge of the paint but he couldn't jam it into the net. Almquist lost his man MacLeod in the slot, allowing a point blank shot on McCollum for a goal. Pulkkinen hit Callahan with a cross-ice feed and he ripped it home, stick-side to break the goose egg. McCollum to the bench with well over two-minutes to go. The Griffins had lots of pressure late, but could not get much going as the Marlies stacked five deep at the blueline. The Griffins finish 2013 with a 3-1 loss. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Tor 7. For the Game: GR 40 - Tor 19.
Sheahan/Jurco - Ferraro - Emmerton
Jurco/Callahan - Jarnkrok - Pulkkinen
Callahan - McIntyre - Tootoo
Grant - Nestrasil - Ferraro
Marchenko - Ouellet
Evans - Sproul/Jensen
Paetsch - Almquist
Jurco - Jarnkrok - Nestrasil
Pulkkinen - Almquist
Sheahan - Ferraro - Emmerton
Paetsch - Sproul
Callahan - Sheahan
Marchenko/Paetsch - Ouellet
Emmerton - McIntyre/Ferraro
Evans - Marchenko
Nestrasil - McIntyre
For all the shots on goal, the Griffins really did not have a lot of super dangerous chances. Full credit to the Marlies who played a good game, and to Sparks who stopped almost everything he faced.