The Malik Report
by George Malik on 10/31/13 at 02:42 AM ET
Last weekend, the Grand Rapids Griffins took two of the three games they played over the course of 3 weekend nights, but their 5-0, home-ice loss to the Charlotte Checkers stood out like a sore thumb.
The Griffins welcomed the Checkers back to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday night, and the Griffins earned a much better result, scoring 4 goals on Rick DiPietro and defeating Charlotte 5-2. The Griffins provide a superb game recap:
The Grand Rapids Griffins extended their winning streak to three games and earned their first home-ice victory of the season on Wednesday with a 5-2 decision over the Charlotte Checkers at Van Andel Arena.
In perhaps his best outing of the campaign to date, Petr Mrazek turned away 28 of 30 shots, while Tomas Jurco (1-2—3), Gustav Nyquist (2-0—2) and Ryan Sproul (1-1—2) powered Grand Rapids’ offense with multi-point nights.
The Checkers (4-3-0-1), who converted three of four power play chances during their 5-0 win at Van Andel Arena last Friday, received four opportunities during the first period alone while staying out of the penalty box themselves. They capitalized with 33 seconds remaining in a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Jeff Hoggan, as the puck caromed off the right post and slid behind Mrazek and onto the stick of a crashing Aaron Palushaj for an easy tap-in at 15:54.
Grand Rapids answered just 36 seconds later to send the game to intermission in a 1-1 deadlock. From along the end boards, Jurco sent a pass out front to Nyquist, whose quick shot slipped inside the right post of former No. 1 NHL draft pick Rick DiPietro, making his Charlotte debut.
The Griffins took the lead 2:23 into the second period. Seconds after Grand Rapids misfired on a 2-on-1 chance, Brennan Evans launched a shot from the left point that was redirected by the heel of Mitch Callahan’s stick past DiPietro.
Mrazek kept it a 2-1 game by denying Sean Dolan on a shorthanded break about six minutes later, a stop that loomed even larger after the Griffins scored a power play tally at the 11:32 mark. In the waning moments of the home team’s advantage, Sproul collected a Teemu Pulkkinen pass at the point and teed up a cannon that blistered the back of the net and put Grand Rapids ahead by two.
The Griffins scored a second power play goal 11:55 into the final period when Jurco’s wrister from the left faceoff dot trickled just over the line and inside the far post, before Charlotte’s Victor Rask made things interesting at 16:21 by beating Mrazek top shelf from the bottom of the right circle.
The Checkers eventually pulled DiPietro for an extra attacker in an attempt to draw closer, but Nyquist snuffed out their hopes by notching his second goal of the night into the empty net with 49 seconds remaining.
DiPietro finished with 25 saves on 29 shots.
Notes: At 5-2-1-1 (12 pts.), the Griffins are two wins and four points ahead of the record of last year’s championship team through nine games (3-4-1-1, 8 pts.)….Grand Rapids went 2-for-3 on the power play while killing off seven of Charlotte’s eight chances, making the Griffins 14-for-15 on the penalty kill over their last two games….Due to an equipment issue, Tom McCollum spelled Mrazek for 53 seconds midway through the third period….Charlotte suffered its first regulation loss on the road this season, dropping to 4-1-0-1 away from Time Warner Cable Arena.
Three Stars: 1. GR Mrazek (W, 28 saves); 2. GR Callahan (goal); 3. GR Sproul (power play goal, assist)
The Griffins will head to Cleveland to play the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, November 1st, and then they head to sunny Rockford, IL to play the IceHogs on Sunday the 3rd.
The Griffins also posted a photo gallery and a set of highlights and post-game interviews:
The Grand Rapids Press didn't post any quotes in its recap, but it does include an 18-image photo gallery.
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye woke up early to hold a matinee game, but they experienced a different and disappionting result, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Cincinnati Cyclones. Jared Coreau stopped 23 of 27 shots and is 0-and-2 for Toledo thus far; both Richard Nedomlel and Trevor Parkes scored goals, and Max Nicastro registered an assist on Nedomlel's first professional marker, but Marek Tvrdon didn't register a point.
The Walleye posit shorter recaps...
A shorthanded goal by the Cyclones with 1:15 left in regulation negated a spirited comeback by the Walleye, who fall to Cincinnati 4-3 on Wednesday. A high-energy crowd of 6,591 fans - most of them schoolchildren - packed the Huntington Center for this special 10:35 a.m. game.
The Walleye fell behind early as Cyclones forward Wade Megan scored two goals in the first six minutes of the game. Walleye forward Scott Arnold, with assists from Kevin Lynch and Russ Sinkewich, cut the Cincinnati lead in half with a power play goal at the ten minute mark. Both teams were held scoreless until Cincinnati forward Jonathan Hazan rebounded his own shot to give the Cyclones a 3-1 lead with eight minutes left in the second period.
Richard Nedomiel - who was reassigned to Toledo from Grand Rapids on Tuesday - pulled the Walleye within a goal when he scored at seven minutes into the final period. He was assisted by Travis Novak and Max Nicastro. Three minutes later, Scott Arnold registered his third goal of the season - on an assist by Alden Hirschfeld - to tie up the game.
Toledo goalie Jared Coreau and the Walleye defense held tough through two late Cincinnati power play opportunities to preserve the 3-3 tie. A cross-checking penalty on Cincinnati with 2:58 left in regulation gave the Walleye a prime opportunity to complete the comeback. It was Cincinnati, though, who would score on the Walleye power play. A shorthanded, breakaway goal by Cyclones forward John McFarland with just 75 seconds remaining gave Cincinnati the 4-3 win.
But they did post a highlight clip:
The Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe spoke with the Walleye about their collapse:
A stunned crowd of 6,591 consisting mostly of boisterous middle school and elementary students during School Appreciation Day saw Toledo lose 4-3 at the Huntington Center.
“It’s a devastating one,” said forward Trevor Parkes, who tied the game with 9:31 left in regulation. “All of the boys in the room are pretty upset right now. It’s a tough way to end the game like that when we’re charging back and spirits are high. But there are a lot of positives. We showed character coming back from two goals down. We pushed hard.”
Cincinnati’s John McFarland scored a shorthanded goal, beating Toledo goalie Jared Coreau with 1:15 left to give the Cyclones the win.
“We battled our way back,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “I thought we really out-chanced them two to one. But we didn’t have anything to show for it. Now it’s a gut check. Now the challenge is to see how we respond.”
Toledo outshot the Cyclones 30-27. Cincinnati defeated the Walleye 3-2 in overtime last week and knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
“It’s fun,” Vitucci said. “It’s two teams that match up well and bring out the best of each other. I enjoy playing Cincinnati. It should be real good hockey games.”
Parkes had five points in six games in the playoff series last year, and now has 34 points, including 16 goals, in 23 regular-season games with the Walleye. Parkes said he had played in two morning games when he was in juniors.
“It's a lot different,” Parkes said. “You are used to practicing at this time. The kids are loud and sometimes you can’t hear yourself talk or think. It’s fun for the kids.”
In Sweden, in the SHL, Mattias Backman played 24:12 and finished at +1 in Linkopings HC's 3-2 shootout loss to Brynas IF;
In the J20 SuperElit league, Rasmus Bodin didn't register a point as Linkopings HC's J20 team defeated HV71 by a 5-1 tally;
And Hampus Melen didn't play in Tingsryds IF's 7-1 loss to Malmo.
Back on this side of the Atlantic, in the OHL, Jake Paterson stopped 32 of 34 shots as the Saginaw Spirit beat the Plymouth Whalers 6-2;
In a battle between Wings prospects, Zach Nastasiuk's Owen Sound Attack came out on top of Andreas Athanasiou's Barrie Colts. Nastasiuk had 2 assists in Owen Sound's 5-3 win over Barrie; Athanasiou had an assist and finished at -2.
Tyler Bertuzzi registered an assist and a +1 in the Guelph Storm's 7-1 romp over Peterborough;
And in the WHL, Marc McNulty had a rough night, going pointless and registering a -3 in the Prince George Cougars' 3-2 OT loss to Vancouver.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.