The Griffins beat the Chicago Wolves 2-1 on Saturday night and have now won 3 games in a row and doubled their season wins. Rejoice Griffins Fans!
Welcome back Andreas Athanasiou! He hadn't looked like himself before his call up to Detroit, but in his last 2 games since being returned to GR, he's been lighting all the mups and playing dynamic, game changing hockey. Athanasiou scored both of Grand Rapids goals last night, with Eric Tangradi and Tomas Jurco assisting on both of them. Athanasiou has the ability to absolutely take over games and have his way with them, and seeing that again has felt soooo good.
On his first goal, Jurco passed the puck from the D zone up to Tangradi who was almost to the neutral zone. Athanasiou knew his mate had the puck and started skating, Tangradi passed the puck to AA who skated past the Wolves defender like he was standing still and cleanly beat John Gibson to put the Griffins on the board.
On Athanasiou's second goal, he camped out back door on Gibson, and tipped in a shot from Tangradi. Tangradi battles for the puck along the boards, and starts going to the net once the puck squirts out. Tomas Jurco swoops in and takes the puck, sends it towards the net and Tangradi who's a little tied up. Tangradi does a good job of getting the puck and sending it towards the net, and of course Athanasiou's right there waiting. Boom!
I was a bit distracted during this game because I was also watching the Wings, but my take away was that Athanasiou + Jurco = straight up hockey porn. Those two had at least 4 hockey boner inducing plays in this one game alone. Tomas Jurco, in Grand Rapids on conditioning assignment has 7 points in 3 games and Athanasiou has 5 points in 2 games since being sent back down from the Wings.
ROSEMONT, Ill. - The Grand Rapids Griffins won their third game in four nights and first away from home this season, defeating the Central Division-leading Chicago Wolves 2-1 on Saturday at Allstate Arena.
Andreas Athanasiou scored both goals for the Griffins (5-8-0-1), giving him five points in two games since rejoining the team from the Detroit Red Wings. Eric Tangradi and Tomas Jurco provided the assists on both goals while Tom McCollum earned his first win of the season after stopping 27 of 28 shots.
Athanasiou opened the scoring for the Griffins with 6:41 remaining in the opening period. After Eriah Hayes had his stick checked at the right point, Tangradi fed a pass to Athanasiou, who went on a breakaway. Athanasiou shifted from backhand to forehand, lifting the puck over Pheonix Copley's right pad, off the right post and in.
The Griffins carried the play early in the second period, outshooting Chicago (8-3-1-1) at one stage 4-1. The closest the Griffins came to scoring in the middle frame was when Martin Frk's slapshot from the left circle rang off the crossbar. Chicago, aided by three unsuccessful power plays, outshot the Griffins 8-4.
History favored the Griffins, who have won four of five games this season when leading after 40 minutes. Athanasiou added to the Griffins lead with 5:24 remaining when he redirected Tangradi's pass from the bottom of the right circle and in.
Yannick Veilleux put Chicago on the scoresheet with 3:50 remaining. After Peter Harrold's wrist shot from the right circle was stopped by McCollum's right pad, Veilleux fired a rebound from the left circle into an open net.
Chicago would not go away quietly, lifting Copley for an extra attacker with 1:30 remaining. The Wolves came close to tying the score, but were denied by a tremendous stick save by McCollum at his right post with five seconds on the clock.
Copley stopped 14 of 16 shots in a losing effort. The Griffins went 0-for-2 on the power play, while Chicago failed to score on four opportunities.
The Griffins play five of their next six regular season games at Van Andel Arena, returning home on Wednesday to host the Iowa Wild at 7 p.m.
Three Stars: 1. GR Athanasiou (two goals); 2. GR Tangradi (two assists); 3. CHI Veilleux (goal)
The Griffins next game is Wednesday at home against the Iowa Wild.