This description of the game was written by Stripe over at redwingscentral.
Matt Ellis had a pair of goals, Tomas Kopecky had a goal and two assists, and Valtteri Filppula scored the decisive goal on the last round of the shootout to give the Griffins a 5-4 win over the Wolves.
The game started with a nice presentation by the AHL to Clay Wilson for winning player of the week at the end of December. Matt Ellis got things rolling 28 seconds into the game, when he was the late man trailing Nate DiCasmirro to the net. DiCasmirro shot in on net and wristed a nice shot off the Chicago goalie. Ellis right behind him snared the rebound and roofed it stick side for his 11th of the campaign. Thw Wolves finally got on the board just under 10 minutes in when Ross batted the puck out of mid-air at the edge of the crease past a startled Howard, low, stick side. Bootland tried to go with wolves thug Billy Tibbets, but Tibbetts turtled and a frustrated Bootland got an extra 4 minutes. Of course, Chicago scored on one of the penalties, to take a 2-1 lead, Popovic scored his 6th. Captain Ellis tied things up with his second of the night on a rare powerplay shift in place of Bootland. (I didn't get to see this one thanks to the group of people in front of me going on a beer run while play was still on.) Shots on goal GR 8 - Chicago 13.
Grand Rapids started the second period with a 2 man advantage, but was unable to capitalize. Just about 5 minutes in, Bootland crashed the net and got off a one-hander. Kopecky jumped around him and had a couple of quick whacks at the puck until finally forcing it past the outstrecthed cathing glove and into the net. The Griffins took a 4-2 lead a minute later when a fantastic individual effort by Himelfarb got the puck in deep and behind the net, leading to a heads up play by Oulahen to bang it home stick side. That spelled the end for Berkhoel, and Chicago put in goalie Barnett who shut things down the rest of the way. Bootland and Tibbetts going at it again, landing both back in the box. Himelfarb in alone on a breakaway, and the goalie just got enough of it to keep it out. Chicago scored their third goal off the rush. Howard was not hugging the post, and a laser by Stuart clinked off the post and into the net. Griffins coach Ireland was irate behind the bench slamming the door and yelling at the officials for an obvious missed call prior to the goal, right in front of the players bench that should have blown the play dead. The physical play really picked up at this point with gritty Greg Amadio smoking Tibbetts with a hard check along the end boards. Shots on goal GR 14-11 CHI.
The Wolves tied things up in 3rd when Meech and Martens fell asleep and left Howard all alone for an easy score by Maloney. Newcomer Brett Angel making his Griffins debut got into a big fight with Lessard, and made short work of him. Shots on goal GR 11-9.
The pace of the OT was torrid, and despite having a rare powerplay, GR could not score, forcing the shootout. Shots GR 5 -1 CHI For the Game GR 39-34 CHI.
The wolves scored on their first shot of the shootout, while Kopecky and MacLean both missed. Then goals by Hudler, Manlow, and the winner by Filppula, offset a goal by Tibbetts. 5-4 win GR
DiCasmirro - Ellis - MacLean
After taking a bad penalty in the first, Bootland looked like a player possessed. He crashed the net and played a hard game, very impressive.
Tomas Kopecky also played with a lot of fire, and had several good chances. Nice to see that level of passion in his game.
Eric Himelfarb looked like he has been shot out of a cannon all night, using his speed and incredible moves with the puck to gain possesion and make plays. Too bad he was not rewarded on the scoreboard for all that effort.
Derek meech had another tough night, and is getting to be a nightmare in his own end. besides the ones that ended up in the net, he had a glaring give=away right in front of his own net where he sort of one-handed the puck right into the slot and onto the stick of a wolves player. He needs to bear down more.
Brett Angel made his AHL debut and although he didn't play very much, held his own. A very big boy at 6-6 229, Angel won decisive bouts over Robin Big Snake and Bryce Charpentier at Griffins camp, and looked very mobile for a player his size.
Jason "Stripe" Kasiorek
Griffins Beat Wolves
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