Defensive Miscues Cost Griffins in 3-2 Loss To Heat
Blueline scores both goals for Griffins in loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
January 18th, 2014
The defense was the story tonight in a 3-2 loss on home ice to the ABbotsford Heat for the Grand Rapids Griffins. The good news was that Nathan Paetsch and Xavier Ouellet led the offense by scoring the Griffins two goals. The bad news lay in the play of defender Adam Almquist who struggled in his own end finishing the game at -3 with a direct responsibility for two of the Heat's goals. Rookie Martin Frk scored his first AHL point, an assist on the Paetsch goal.
Griffins had a good chance early when the loose puck lay in front of Ortio and everyone piled up, scrambling for the puck on the powerplay. Sproul had a brutal giveaway right in front of his own net and then took a penalty trying to keep it from turning into a goal. The Griffins managed to kill off the penalty and soon after got a powerplay of their own. Abbotsford had a shorthanded two-on-one and Almquist did not take away the pass, allowing Reinhart to send Bancks in alone on McCollum for an easy goal. The Griffins tied things up on the same powerplay when Paetsch teed up a point blast with Callahan screening in front that found its way through Ortio five-hole. The Heat took the lead again a few minutes later when Almquist allowed his man Reinhart to to walk right in on McCollum and snap a shot a shot past him high stick-side. This really seemed to take the starch out of the sails of the Griffins. Shots on Goal: GR 18 - Abb 13.
Grand Rapids battled back again to tie the score when Ferraro hit Ouellet with a nice pass in the low slot. Ouellet ripped a shot that drifted in just past Ortio's pad, glove-side. Granlund scored the eventual game-winner when he undressed McIntyre and then put a shot in over McCollum to regain the lead. The Heat carried play for most of the period, and the Griffins looked to be back on their heals. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Abb 13.
Netsrasil rang up Olson in the corner and then took the puck away to start a rush up ice. The Heat looked to have scored their fourth goal, but it was reviewed and called back, giving the Griffins a brief reprieve. Callahan redirected a long shot by Sproul which started a big scrum in the corner. McCollum was summoned to the bench with about a minute left but the Griffins couldn't solve Ortio again. Baertschi attacked Paetsch after the whistle as tempers finally boiled over on a frustrating 3-2 loss for the Grffins. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Abb 10. For the Game: GR 33 - Abb 36.
Blashill dressed his 11 available forwards and 7 defenseman tonight
Ferraro - Jarnkrok/Aubry - Pulkkinen
Callahan - McIntyre - Tootoo
Ferraro/Callahan - Nestrasil - Frk
Grant - Aubry - Parkes
Paetsch - Almquist/Jensen
Marchenko - Ouellet
Evans - Sproul/Jensen
Callahan - Nestrasil - Frk
Ouellet - Almquist
Ferraro - Jarnkrok - Pulkkinen
Sproul - Paetsch
Callahan - Jarnkrok
Evans - Marchenko
Ferraro - McIntyre
Paetsch - Almquist
Almquist had a brutal game, he has not been as strong defensively all season, but things came to a head last night. Watching him passively watch people walk around him last night was tough to take. Hopefully this was a wakeup call and he picks his game up.
The Griffins looked like they didn't have the spark in the 2nd and 3rd periods, and still almost gutted out another win.
It was nice to Frk get his 1st AHL point (for the second time) and this time it wasn't changed. He has looked much more assertive recently and seems much more comfortable in the offensive zone with the puck. He showed some nice chemistry with the improving Nestrasil.