Rockford Routs Griffins 4-1
Griffins surrender four unanswered goals for 4th straight home loss...
December 8th, 2017
The proverbial Calder Cup hangover continues for the Grand Rapids Griffins, as they dropped their sixth contest out of the last seven, 4-1 to the visiting Rockford IceHogs. The team got off to a good start as Matt Puempel scored his 9th of the season midway through the first period, on the powerplay. Things fell apart in the second period as Rockford carried play for large chunks of the game and the Griffins were not able to generate much in the way of possession or quality scoring chances. They tried to turn it up towards the end of the third, but it was too little, too late for the Griffins as they gave up a late goal and then an empty netter to establish the final margin. Jared Coreau made 23 stops in absorbing the loss.
Former Griffin Tomas Jurco pulled off a wicked spin-o-rama move to walk around the defenseman and spike a sneaky shot on Coreau five-hole, but Coreau closed the pads and made the stop. Matt Lorito carried the puck into the circle on the powerplay and put a shot on net. Eric Tangradi in front had a poke at it and then backhanded it to Puempel who was streaking in back door. Puempel roofed it for a 1-0 lead. Dangerous chance in front of the Griffins net off a broken play, but Coreau came up huge to make a highlight reel stop. Jurco got past McIlrath and walked in on Coreau before sniping a shot past him to know the score at one each. Fairly even period with neither period looking particularly good. Shots on goal: GR 14- Rock 11.
Great pressure by the Griffins on successive shifts. Street's line doing a great job of cycling the puck and breaking up clearing attempts deep in the Rockford zone. Tangradi with a great chance right in front. Rockford turned up the intensity a notch and took over the game. Long stretches of the period it looked like the Griffins were playing shorthanded. Snuggerud to the box for slashing but the Griffins powerplay was abysmal and generated no shots or chances. The team's inability to win faceoff's is really costing them, very little possession time. They lost the first faceoff of the man advantage chased it back into their own end and battled to recover then had to change and repeat it again with the next faceoff. Mike Borkowski and Dominik shine are doing a great job of providing energy and jump from the fourth line, now they need to get the other lines going. Martinsen walked around Russo, curled in on Coreau and snapped a perfect shot past him for a 2-1 lead. Griffins 2-on-1, Tangradi and Street, Tangradi went across to Street for a big shot, but Glass made a diving save on their best chance of the period. Grand Rapids ended up with a late powerplay as Street was slashed on the play. Shots on goal: GR 11 - Rock 6.
The Griffins powerplay was no better in the third as the best chance came from Rockford as Knott took off on a shorthanded breakaway. Coreau butterflied and closed off the net, taking away the scoring chance. The Griffins again had no shots on goal on the powerplay. Late in the period the home team started to come alive, trying to score the tying goal to salvage something from a lackluster game. The rally was shortlived however as Norell scored a back-breaker from the circle that beat Coreau stick-side, extending the lead to 3-1. Coreau to the bench for an extra attacker, but Johnson added an empty netter to cap a 4-1 win for Rockford. Shots on goal: GR 9 - Rock 10. For the game: GR 34 - Rock 27.
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #73 Puempel
#77 Svechnikov - #25 Holmstrom - #28 Lorito
#55 Ford- #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
# 21 Mike Borkowski - #47 Elkins - #65 Shine
#2 Hicketts- #5 Russo
#18 Lashoff - #13 Hronek
#20 Renouf - #52 McIlrath
#9 Sarijarvi - Scratch
#15 Elson - Illness
#37 Nastasiuk - Scratch
Tangradi -Street - Lorito
Puempel - Hronek
Ford - Holmstrom - Svechnikov
Hicketts - Russo
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - Russo
Elkins - Ford
Hicketts - McIlrath
Another home loss, another poor effort, this story is getting old. The same flaws contributed greatly to the loss as the powerplay was awful, not even generating a shot on two consecutive penalties. The abysmal faceoff record has the team chasing the puck all night, and the team has played a 60 minute game yet this season (at least at home). They clearly don't have the same depth they had last year to move people in and out of the lineup as they struggle.
Mike Borkowski, recently called up from Toledo, had a solid night n his first AHL game this season. He was noticeable from the first shift and really seemed to energize linemate Dominik Shine. The two of them created havoc with their speed and hitting and that line was easily the most effective on the evening. The feisty wingers all out effort should be a shot in the arm for the team, and hopefully will be an example for some of his teammates who need to step up their effort and energy.