Monsters Maul Griffins 4-0 in Home Opener
Pickard stonewalls home team with 37 saves...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 10th, 2014
The 2014-15 edition of the Grand Rapids Griffins have nowhere to go but up after dropping the home opener 4-0 to the visiting Lake Erie Monsters. The Griffins spent most of the game looking like a team that hasn't spent much time playing together, disjointed and tentative. They picked up the pace in the latter stages of the game but were unable to solve Monsters netminder Calvin Pickard. Ryan Sproul and Xavier Ouellet led the way with 4 shots on goal, while Mitch Callahan had some of the more dangerous looking chances in front of the net.
Newcomer Chris Bruton got the crowd into the game early after dropping the gloves Maggio in a fight at the 2:19 mark. Hirschfeld had a great scoring chance when he walked out from behind the net and ripped a shot off the crossbar. Porter had a nice chance walking in alone from the circle and Berschbach just missed a wide open net in front with the rebound. Callahan causing havoc in front of Pickard, with several of the monsters paying more attention to him then the puck. Carey had a shot on Mrazek from the circle and Stollery followed him in and buried the rebound for a goal to draw first blood. Late in the period, Stollery scored his second of the game when a long shot from the line pinballed past Mrazek through traffic for a 2-0 deficit. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - LE 11.
Hirschfeld had a great chance in the slot and put a shot on net that Pickard just got in front of. Bruton pounced on a loose puck in the circle and put a nice wrister on net. The Griffins got caught along the boards and Sgarbossa chipped the puck through to Ryan who went in on Mrazek, froze him and then slid the puck home for a 3-0 lead. Big hit along the boards by Evans to wake things up. Griffins starting to show some life midway through the second. Nosek stickhandled through a crowd to get in deep for chance. Callahan stole the puck and had two fabulous chances right on the doorstep. Late in the period Nosek and Sgarbossa ended up in the box setting up a 4-on-4. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - LE 8.
The Griffins killed off a Lake Erie powerplay early in the third and looked to be finding their legs. It looked like they might have gotten one past Pickard in a goal mouth scramble, but it was called off. Intensity picking up as a scrum turned into a jampile behind the net with Bruton in the middle of it. Athanasiou turned on the burners and cut through the crease for a nice scoring chance. Evans blocked a shot in front of Mrazek and appeared to injure his hand. he left the ice, but was back out for his next shift. Mrazek came to the bench for the extra attacker with 2:35 left on the clock, but Noreau scored into the empty net to put the nail in the coffin on a 4-0 Griffins loss. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - LE 6. For the Game: GR 37 - LE 25.
#15 Callahan - #19 Nosek - #6 Pulkkinen
#12 Porter - #29 Ferraro - #26 Berschbach
#10 Hoggan - #23 Athanasiou - #17 Campbell
#55 Bruton - #32 Hirschfeld - #27 Frk
#16 Ouellet - #3 Marchenko
#44 Evans - #7 Sproul
#14 Jensen - # 5 Backman
Starter: #34 Mrazek
Backup: #30 McCollum
No Griffins powerplays
Porter - Ferraro
Ouellet - Marchenko
Callahan - Nosek
Backman - Jensen
The Griffins looked very much like a group of guys that had only played together for a week or so, the passing was off, and people just looked like they were in the wrong place or were not anticipating what their linemates were going to do next. The defense did not look terrible, and the team did generate 37 shots on goal, but the problem was that very few of them dangerous.
Athanasiou was invisible for most of the game, but he was far from alone as most of the Griffins offense was AWOL.
Nosek stood out most of the game, showing off his size, speed and skill. His linemates. Mitch Callahan in particular, stood out as well.
Rookie Shane Berschback had several good shifts, and showed off his soft hands in tight.