Penguins Ground Griffins 4-2
Tangradi ties for league goal scoring lead with 25th...
March 2nd, 2018
Veteran winger Eric Tangradi kept up his hot hand, notching his 25th of the season to move into a tie at the top of the AHL leaderboard. But the visiting Wilkes-Barre Penguins spoiled what should have been a good headline, stifling the vaunted Griffins offense and leaving with a 4-2 victory. Grand Rapids got out to an early lead on Matt Puempel’s 20th of the season, but were unable to hold on in the latter stages of the game. Thomas McCollum was solid between the pipes stopping 25 of 28 shots.
The Griffins got on the board early when Matt Puempel snuck in back door and cashed in on a nice pass from Street to Tangradi in front, chipping it in past Peters stick side for his 20th of the season. Filip Hronek with a nice play at the line and then cross ice to Puempel who crept into the circle and drilled a shot past a screened netminder for what looked to be a 2 goal lead. The play was immediately called no goal because Tangradi was in the paint and the Griffins were not able to score again on that powerplay. Evgeny Svechnikov worked his way in and backhanded a shot off the crossbar. Late in the period, the puck took a Griffins bounce and came right out to Elson all alone in the slot. Elson fired a low shot that Peters kicked out with a leg pad. Shots on goal: GR 7 - WB 11
Wilkes-Barre had a great scoring chance early in the second in on McCollum with lots of time but the shooter fanned on the shot and fell down. Sloppy play by Grand Rapids led to a giveaway and Johnson scored for the Penguins to tie the score at 1. Ben Street in the penalty box for tripping, great work by Turgeon and Campbell on the PK to kill off almost the whole penalty, keeping it deep in the Wilkes-Barre end. Street came out, picked up the puck and cut in on net, but was taken down from behind, setting up a Griffins powerplay. Puempel rifled a shot from the circle that tangradi deftly tipped in front for his league leading 25th goal and a powerplay marker to regain the lead. Wilkes-Barre doing a great job of clogging up the ice and taking away passing lanes, Grand Rapids not able to carry the puck into the zone with control and is losing the races to the loose puck when they dump it in. Shots on goal: GR 5 - WB 6.
Colin Campbell with a great shorthanded chance, curling out from the corner, but Peters just got a piece of it. Czuczman walked into the circle and snapped a shot that was tipped in front by Wilson and the game was tied again. Tangradi and Kostopoulos pushing and shoving and eventually get sent off for roughing. Pretty passing play back and forth between Hronek and Lorito with Russo ending up with a nice chance that he fired over the net. Ford overskated a pass from behind his own net and Blueger picked it off, weaving through three Griffins players to snap a bullet past McCollum glove side from the edge of the paint. Dominik Shine had a break but was taken down from behind with no call, drawing the ire of the crowd. Wilkes-Barre now completely controlling play, the Griffins can hardly clear their own zone, let alone get pucks to the net. McCollum to the bench with just over two minutes left. Griffins able to set up a play and Puempel rang a shot off the post. Wilson pumped a pass into the empty net to secure the win, a 4-2 Wilkes-Barre victory in Grand Rapids. Shots on goal: GR 7 - WB 12. For the game: GR 29 - WB 19.
#55 Ford - #47 Elkins - #45 Campbell
#28 Lorito - #23 Turgeon - #77 Svechnikov
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #73 Puempel
Various - #15 Elson - #65 Shine
#5 Russo - #13 Hronek
#20 Renouf- #52 McIlrath
#18 Lashoff - #2 Hicketts/#9 Saarijarvi
Starter: #30 McCollum
Backup: #34 Machovsky
Tangradi - Street - Svechnikov
Lorito - Hronek
Hicketts - Ford - Svechnikov
Russo - Saarijarvi
Turgeon - Elson/Campbell
Lashoff - McIlrath
Elson - Elkins
Renouf - Hicketts
Griffins played well in the first and then really tailed off. I have to give full credit to Wilkes-Barre as they did a great job of taking everything away. They also took advantage of GR mistakes and were the better team.
Tangradi has been hot lately with six goals in his last 8 games and is now tied for the AHL lead with 25 goals. He has also been a physical force, banging, and bulling his way to the net. He is rapidly closing in on his career of 28 goals and 56 points. An unrestricted free agent this summer, he should be in a good position to cash in and perhaps secure another NHL chance.
For the second game in a row, Joe Hicketts saw powerplay time up front on the second unit. Last season the Griffins employed a five forward unit, Nelson has proven he is not afraid to try unconventional combinations.