FIVE-GOAL SECOND PERIOD EARNS GRAND RAPIDS THE 5-2 WIN OVER THE BARONS
By Eric Rodgers,
A five-goal 2nd period by Grand Rapids shot the Griffins to a 5-1 lead, and subsequently the 5-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons in the Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. Petr Mrazek turned aside 17 shots in the win, and the Griffins improved to 19-10-1-1 on the season. Yann Danis was credited with the loss while stopping 14 shots in forty minutes before being replaced by Olivier Roy in the 3rd, and the Barons fell to a 17-12-1-3 record. Olivier Roy stopped all eight shots that he faced in the 3rd.
The 1st period was a quiet affair as only eight shots were made total by both teams with the Griffins holding the 6-2 edge. Of the two shots for the Barons, Anton Lander picked up the only goal of the period after receiving a feed from Teemu Hartikainen to make it 1-0 Barons at the 9:09 mark. The top-ranked power play of the Barons was unable to convert on their lone chance in the 1st with Brendan Smith in the box for cross-checking, while two chances for the Griffins came up unsuccessful as well. After one period it was a 1-0 Barons lead.
Three quick strikes for the Griffins set the tone for the rest of the period as Jeff Hoggan opened up the scoring in the 2nd for Grand Rapids as he converted a rebound shot from Glendening's shot to tie things up 1-1 at 1:20 of the 2nd. Grand Rapids took the lead at 3:42 as Nathan Paetsch stepped in to receive a pass from Brent Raedeke and beat Yann Danis high-stick side to make it 2-1 Griffins.
A minute later, Tomas Tatar used a spin-o-rama in the faceoff circle to get away from a Barons defender and get off a pass to Riley Sheahan who scored to make it 3-1 Griffins at 4:54. The Barons had a chance soon after as Taylor Fedun fed a breakaway pass to Dane Byers, but Petr Mrazek came up with the save to keep it 3-1.
The Barons had a power play chance mid-way through the 2nd as Tatar was called for goaltender interference on a 2-on-1 Grand Rapids rush. Off the ensuing faceoff, Sheahan got a shorthanded breakaway but Danis came up with the pad save. Soon after however, it was Sheahan feeding a 60-foot pass to Landon Ferraro and Ferraro made the second shorthanded breakaway count, making it 4-1 Griffins at 11:48.
A power play chance by the Barons with Mitch Callahan in the box was unsuccessful, and the Griffins got a power play chance of their own in the final minutes of the 2nd as Magnus Paajarvi was sent to the box for goaltender interference. Eight seconds into the power play, Riley Sheahan picked up his second of the night at 17:40 from Tatar to make it 5-1 Griffins, the score after two periods.
Trailing by four, the Barons sent Olivier Roy into the net for the final frame. The Barons had multiple chances in the period from Lander and Mark Arcobello, but Mrazek made the saves. A tripping penalty by Gustav Nyquist at 13:30 gave the Barons their only chance with the man-advantage in the 3rd, and they took advantage of it. A steep-angle shot by Jordan Eberle rebounded to Justin Schultz who came in from the point, and Schultz scored his eighteenth goal of the season to close the gap to 5-2. The Barons were unable to muster any more past Mrazek, handing the Barons the 5-2 loss in Grand Rapids.
Justin Schultz's 18th goal puts him two goal shy of tying the AHL record for goals by a rookie defenseman, set by John Slaney of Baltimore in the 1992-93 season. The Barons were outshot in the game by the Griffins, 27-19. The power play unit of the Barons went 1-for-4 in the game, while the penalty kill denied the Griffins twice in three attempts.
The Barons are back in action tomorrow night in Milwaukee as they take on the Admirals from the BMO Bradley Center at 7 pm CST.
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