The Griffins knocked off the Central Division leading Rockford IceHogs 4-1 and extended their win streak to 10 games; which would have been a ridiculous concept a month ago.
This was a pretty solid outing for the Griffins and was a closely fought game despite the final score. The Griffins penalty kill continued it's 4 game perfect streak, however their power play continued it's 4 game dud streak. With Thomas McCollum out with an ankle injury, Jake Paterson is backing up Jared Coreau in net, and after being a healthy scratch on Wednesday, Anthony Mantha made a big impact in his return with a 3 point night (G, 2A). Andreas Athanasiou missed the final part of the 3rd period and there's no word yet on why and I'm strongly hoping for just an equipment issue and nothing serious.
Here are your video highlights, with a play by play recap afterwards.
Andreas Athanasiou goal from Anthony Mantha and Eric Tangradi . In the words of Bob Cole... Oh Baby! Manthanasiou has undeniable chemistry and these two were dangerous all night long. Remember this gorgeous give and go goal from last weekend?
Anthony Mantha breakaway scoring chance.
Andreas Athanasiou shorthanded breakaway scoring chance. Dan Cleary was in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, so Athanasiou was on the PK in Cleary's place. I don't understand why Cleary's on the PK to begin with, but AA made his presence known on the penalty kill right away.
Tyler Bertuzzi goal from Robbie Russo and Tomas Nosek. Nosek made the drop pass to Russo, who took the initial shot. After making the pass to Russo, Nosek went to the net where he and Bertuzzi both took a swipe at the puck right on the doorstep. The Rockford announcers couldn't figure out who scored the goal, but Bertuzzi's unmistakeable celebration told me all I needed to know. This was great work by Nosek, Russo, and Bertuzzi and Nosek and Bert are two of the players I've been looking to the most to get going now that the team is rolling.
Eric Tangradi goal from Andy Miele and Anthony Mantha. Tangradi gets the puck along the half wall, then cuts to the middle while throwing the puck towards the goalie. He then stays right in front as Andy Miele retrieves the puck and sends it back to Tangradi who bangs it home.
Anthony Mantha empty net goal from Nick Jensen
ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Grand Rapids Griffins used three third period goals and 36 saves from Jared Coreau to extend their winning streak to 10 games, defeating the Rockford IceHogs 4-1 on Saturday at BMO Harris Bank Center.
The Griffins (12-8-0-1) are one win away from matching a franchise record 11-game winning streak, which lasted from March 5-31, 2006 under Greg Ireland. Grand Rapids can equal the streak when they travel to face the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday at 5 p.m. EST.
Grand Rapids controlled the play early on and nearly scored shorthanded two minutes into the opening period. An errant pass from Marko Dano went off the skate of Jeremy Morin and onto the stick of Xavier Ouellet near the Griffins' blue line. Colin Campbell took Ouellet's pass off the boards and went on a breakaway, but was unable to open Michael Leighton's five-hole.
Andreas Athanasiou opened the scoring for Grand Rapids at the 7:59 mark. On a 2-on-1, Anthony Mantha gained the zone and sent a cross-ice pass from the top of the left circle to Athanasiou, who fired a one-timer from the right circle past Leighton's glove side.
Jeremy Morin tied the score shorthanded for Rockford (17-6-1-2) with 4:27 remaining. After Nathan Paetsch blocked Morin's initial effort, Morin got his own rebound and fired a wrist shot from the left circle inside the far post. Jake Dowell was credited with an assist to extend his point streak to six games.
The IceHogs had the best scoring chance of the second period came on the power play, when Coreau stopped Tanner Kero's backhanded effort with his left pad. The Griffins outshot Rockford 13-10 in the middle frame.
The Griffins scored what proved to be the game winning goal 4:19 into the final frame. Robbie Russo's sharp-angle shot was stopped by Leighton's right pad, but the rebound ended up on the stick of an uncovered Tyler Bertuzzi in front, who scored his first of the season.
Eric Tangradi provided an insurance tally with 8:03 remaining. After Tangradi's initial effort from the bottom of the right circle was stopped by Leighton's right pad, Andy Miele's behind the back pass found Tangradi in front, sneaking a shot under Leighton's left pad. Mantha added an empty netter with 2:09 left.
The Griffins went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Rockford failed to score on five opportunities. Leighton stopped 32 of 35 shots in a losing effort as the IceHogs' five-game winning streak was snapped.
Three Stars: 1. GR Tangradi (goal, assist); 2. RFD Morin (goal); 3. GR Coreau (W, 36 saves)
Notes: The Griffins have scored the game's first goal 26 times in their last 33 meetings with the Rockford IceHogs...Tonight marks the third time this season an AHL franchise has gone on a winning streak of 10 or more games: (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 11 games, Oct. 17-Nov. 15; Milwaukee, 10 games, Nov. 5-24; Grand Rapids, 10 games, Nov. 18-Dec. 12).