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Video- Grand Rapids Griffins With A 6-1 Home Opener Win

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Six different Grand Rapids Griffins lit the lamp and five enjoyed two-point nights on Friday as the home team roared to its largest-ever victory in a Van Andel Arena opener, defeating the Rockford IceHogs 6-1 before a capacity crowd of 10,834.

Chase Pearson, Tyler Spezia and Dennis Yan each tallied a goal and an assist while both reigning AHL Defenseman of the Year Ryan Murphy and rookie Kirill Tyutyayev chipped in a pair of helpers, leading Grand Rapids to a win for the fifth time in its last six home debuts.

Joe Veleno scored the first goal of the 2021-22 campaign on the power play with 12:12 remaining in the opening period off Murphy’s first assist as a Griffin, but Josiah Slavin answered for Rockford at the 14:52 mark with the only goal Calvin Pickard would surrender on the night, sending it to intermission tied 1-1.

Tyutyayev notched his first point in North America by setting up Spezia’s go-ahead tally 3:14 into the second, before goals by Turner Elson at 4:20 and Hayden Verbeek at 17:11 pushed Grand Rapids’ lead to three heading into the final 20 minutes. Elson’s marker gave him 100 points (41-59--100) for his Griffins career.

A Pearson power play goal at 4:25 of the third made it a 5-1 game, and Yan wrapped up the scoring by beating Malcolm Subban with 6:58 remaining.

Game highlights are below.

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OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’ll just repeat what I posted in the “Detroit Practice” thread last night…

It might be Veleno time tomorrow

  Posted by VPalmer on 10/15/21 at 12:43 PM ET

Actually, VP, it was “Veleno time” tonight - in GR. The Griffins beat the Blackhawks farm team (the Rockford Ice Hogs) by a score of 6-1. Veleno scored the first goal and was involved in everything that went on: PP, PK (which was perfect) and even strength. He just looks like an NHL player out there. He’ll be in Detroit before long.

Other notables tonight were:

• Jonatan Berggren: The kid has great vision and the hands to make plays and score goals.

• Dennis Yan: He may not make it to Detroit, but he’ll make it somewhere if he keeps playing like he did tonight.

• Calvin Pickard: I don’t know what happened with him since last year, but he looked just as good tonight as he did in the preseason games.

Kirill Tyutyayev: Geez is this kid fun to watch. He had two assists and played solid defensively. And he plays a surprisingly physical game.

Chase Pearson: He’s got a lot of rough edges, but he looks more and more like an NHL player every time I see him.

Biggest disappointment was McIsaac. He looked worse tonight than in any game I’ve ever seen him in. He was weak on the puck. Slow to react. And made way too many sloppy passes. Hopefully it’s a temporary thing.


And I’d add that Witkowski is wearing an “A” in GR so it looks like he won’t be coming back to Detroit any time soon. He played shifts at both defense and forward last night, delivering a number of big, hard hits - and no one on the Ice Hogs did a thing about it.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, unless Smith learns how to play a net-front role, I’d take Witkowski over him any day of the week. And that’s especially true after what happened in the Tampa Bay game.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/16/21 at 10:27 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com