Griffins Whip Wild 9-2
The Grand Rapids Griffins welcomed the last place Iowa Wild to Van Andel Arena with an AHL season high offensive explosion, tallying 9 goals in the win. The first line kept its hot hand with Teemu Pulkkinen taking center stage tonight with a four point performance (1g+3a). Linemates Mitch Callahan a
| Griffins Whip Wild 9-2|
Pulkkinen's 4 point night keeps him among league leaders...
By Jason Kasiorek
December 27th, 2014
The Grand Rapids Griffins welcomed the last place Iowa Wild to Van Andel Arena with an AHL season high offensive explosion, tallying 9 goals in the win. The first line kept its hot hand with Teemu Pulkkinen taking center stage tonight with a four point performance (1g+3a). Linemates Mitch Callahan and Andy Miele also added a goal and an assist each in the rout which saw almost every skater on the team tally at least one point. Thomas McCollum, recently assigned by Detroit, made 32 saves for the win, his 6th of the season.
The Griffins didn't waste any time, opening the scoring just 14 seconds into the period. Pulkkinen took a pass in the slot from Callahan and put a shot on Gustafsson that Miele steered past him for a 1-0 lead. The Wild evened things up a few minutes later when Jensen lost a battle in the corner and the puck got to Graovac in the circle for a stick-side goal on McCollum. Ouellette with a bad pass at the line and the Wild ended up with a breakaway but McCollum was up for the stop. Nice play by Mantha to cut towards the net, draw the defender and hit Ferraro for a point blank chance and a 2-1 lead. Mantha then took the puck to the net, carrying a pair of Iowa skaters with him and still got off a great shot. McCollum came out and made a huge poke check on the puck carrier to stop a breakaway. Pulkkinen got open back door and Sproul threaded a pass across the ice to him for an easy goal. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Iowa 8.
Callahan with speed through the zone took a pass from Pulkkinen at the side of the net and converted it with a flick of the wrist for his 10th of the season. Aubry picked off a clearing attempt at the line but couldn't find anyone open to pass to. Tvrdon cross-ice to Nosek who carried the mail all the way down, cut in front of Gustafsson, freezing him and slid it home for a 5-1 lead. The onslaught continued as Porter made a great move and hit Tvrdon who weaved his way in on net and smoked a shot past Gustafsson, high stick side. Gustafsson took a shot in the head which damaged his mask, causing a stoppage in play. Midway through the period, the Griffins ended up in a hole, down two skaters. Callahan broke his stick on the faceoff, but sacrificed the body by making several key blocks until it could be cleared and he could get new lumber. Scramble in front of the Griffins net, and McCollum came up with a couple of huge stops. Paetsch ran the score up to seven when he rifled a shot from the circle and bulged the twine behind Gustafsson. Late in the period, Nosek tallied his second of the game when he flew up the slot and went top shelf, clanking the puck off the inside of the crossbar for an 8-1 lead. Shots on goal: GR 13 - Iowa 11.
The Wild finally gave Gustafsson a break, sending him to the bench to start the third period and unexpectedly giving emergency backup David DeSander his first AHL action, bright yellow pads and all. Campbell in front redirected a centering pass by Hoggan right on the doorstep, making it 9-1 early in the third. Late in the period Mantha took exception with Bulmer, touching off a big scrum. Mantha was tied up early in the grappling match, but got a late facewash in. Shorthanded break by Campbell, but DeSander made the stop. Play went the other way in the last minute of play and McCollum made the first couple of saves before Schroeder finally beat him for a powerplay goal. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - Iowa 15. For the Game: GR 34 - Iowa 34.
Pulkkinen - Miele - Callahan
Zengerle - Porter - Tvrdon
Hoggan - Aubry - Campbell
Mantha - Nosek - Ferraro
Ouellet - Marchenko
Evans - Sproul
Paetsch - Jensen
Athanasiou - Broken Jaw
Callahan - Miele - Pulkkinen
Paetsch - Sproul
Zengerle - Nosek - Mantha
Tvrdon - Ouellet
Campbell - Callahan
Paetsch - Jensen
Porter - Ferraro
Evans - Ouellet
The top line continued its explosive scoring pace, notching 3 goals and 5 assists with Teemu Pulkkinen leading the way with 4 points. His 16th goal leads the AHL and he is 3rd overall in scoring. One would have to think that he will get another NHL audition soon with his torrid scoring pace.
Marek Tvrdon was the third star of the game and really looked good again. He was noticeable for creating offense and being in the right place on the ice. He even used his frame to bump a little bit along the boards.
The trio of Nosek, Ferraro and Mantha also created some scoring chances and used its speed to pressure the Wild defense. Ferraro was dangerous all night, and Nosek had 2 goals and an assist, all from close range, showing off his soft hands. Mantha continues to look more comfortable and is learning to use his size and strength more to gain position, when he gets moving, he either creates a scoring chance, or draws a penalty.
Ouellet and Marchenko ended the night +5 and logged a ton of ice time. The pairing was formidable with Ouellet moving the puck on a string and Marchenko clearing the front of the net and winning battles in the corner.