Rookie Aubry takes advantage of first line time...
December 2nd, 2011
The Grand Rapids Griffins, without the services of sparkplug Chris Conner on recall to Detroit took advantage of a breakout night by rookie Louis-Marc Aubry to take down the 1st place Toronto Marlies 6-3. What makes the feat even more amazing was that Grand Rapids had to rally from a two-goal deficit after a flat first period to do it. Aubry saw time on the first line and scored a goal and two assists, matching the scoring exploits of sniper Frankie Pare who broke out of a season long slump with three points of his own. The Griffins also got goals from Smith (2), Johnson (11), Janik (4) and Adam Estoclet (1). Thomas McCollum had another solid outing turning aside 23 shots for the win.
Grand Rapids turned the puck over in front of the net and Ryan Hamilton chipped it in for a Marlies goal. Kadri scored a couple of minutes later to open the lead to two. Ferraro had a great chance in front but the puck was just batted away. Smith got drilled behind the GR net and stayed down for a while. Grand Rapids looks flat and disorganized. The Marlies are doing a great job of clogging the lanes, it seems like every Griffins pass or shot hits a player in blue. Smith put Grand Rapids on the board when he jumped up into the play, took a backdoor pass from Pare and stroked it into the empty side of the net. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Tor 9.
Johnson came late up the slot and one-timed the rebound of an Aubry shot past Rynnas low stick side. Lashoff hurt himself going down to block a shot on the PK. He was in great pain and not putting weight on his leg before going to the room. Janik attacked the Marlies captain and ended up in the box by himself for four minutes. Kadri hit Mueller with a perfect pass at the corner of the crease that he tipped past McCollum for a powerplay goal. A little later Exelby stopped a clearing attempt up the middle and put through right back up the gut where Aubry banged it home. The next play up the ice the Marlies crashed the net, piling into McCollum and touching off a scrum. Exelby took exception and drooped the gloves with Wilson and took the worst of the bout. Pyett under pressure at the point dished to Janik who fired a cannon of a shot that found its way into the back of the net. As time ticked down, Ferraro picked up the puck, shot around the defense and the horn went before he could get a shot off. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Tor 14.
Pare took the puck off the boards and curled into the circle where he lifted a fluttering puck over Rynnas' shoulder stick-side. Nyquist had a great chance in close on the Powerplay, but the puck rolled off his stick as he executed a spin-o-rama move. Estoclet capped the scoring late in period when he carried the puck into the Marlies zone and wrested a rising shot over Rynnas' shoulder for his first AHL goal. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Tor 3. For the Game: GR 33 - Tor 26.
Coetzee - Ferraro - Estoclet
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Nyquist - Johnson - Aubry
Amadio - Raedeke - Callahan
Smith - Janik
Lashoff/Amadio - Pyett
Exelby - Piche
Ehrhardt - Shoulder (Long Term)
MacDonald - Concussion
Exelby - Suspension
Nyquist - Johnson - Aubry/Tatar
Lashoff - Pyett
Tatar - Andersson - Pare
Janik - Smith
Nyquist - Ferraro
Janik/Piche - Pyett
Johnson - Tatar
Lashoff/Smith - Exelby
Raedeke - Callahan
Good win by the home team. They looked awful in the first, but were able to recover to take this game back, something that has been missing so far this season.
Smith had another strong game and looked very confident. He was amazing, especially on the powerplay, moving the puck around through traffic and jumping up in the play. His game has done a 180 since returning from Detroit.
Nice to see Pare start to emerge from his season long slump. He tends to score in bunches and if he is going that will be huge for this team, especially with Conner in Detroit.
Louis-Marc Aubry looked at home on a scoring line and made the most of his extra ice time. He made a couple of really nice moves in traffic to create scoring chances was around the net all night.
Ferraro also had another good game using his speed to take the puck away and make things happen with it. He could stay in the lineup just for his defensive play and penalty killing, but he is starting to get comfortable and showing off his offensive skills.
Insert normal comment about Janik having a great game. Running out of superlatives to describe what a big role he plays in this team's success.
Thomas McCollum had another solid night between the pipes. He wasn't tested that much and didn't have any "big" saves, but got the job done and looks to have turned a corner in his development.
Chris Minard was in the building again tonight wearing a suit with the scratches. That doesn't mean his return is impending as he has been here on and off for over a month.