In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye withstood a challenge from the Indy Fuel, who rallied from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to force a late-3rd-period tie that Kyle Bonis snapped en route to a 4-3 Walleye win.
Dylan Sadowy and Shane Berschbach had a goal and an assist apiece for Toledo, A.J. Jenks also scored and Pat Nagle stopped 27 of 30 shots for the Walleye.
First place Walleye hold off Fuel
(Indianapolis, IN) – The Walleye defeated the Fuel 4-3 on Tuesday night in Indy. Pat Nagle stopped 27 of 30 shots and is now 27-4-2-1 on the season. Nagle broke the record of consecutive wins for a Walleye goaltender with the win, which was his ninth straight. The Walleye are 38-14-2-2 on the season and 15-10-2-2 on the road.
AJ Jenks struck just 2:56 into the first period to put the Walleye up 1-0. Kyle Bonis sent a pass across to Shane Berschbach, who slammed the puck past Fuel goaltender, Matt Tomkins, on the power play to make it 2-0 Walleye at 5:26 of the opening frame. Indy would cut the Walleye lead to 2-1 with a deflected shot that beat Nagle at 11:41 of the frame. Simon Denis set up Dylan Sadowy, who found the back of the net with a wrist shot on the power play at 16:12 to extend the lead to 3-1.
The Fuel would cut the lead to 3-2 with a backhand shot at 17:05 of the second period.
Indy tied the game 3-3 with a power play goal at 3:58 of the third period. Bonis tipped the puck behind Tomkins at 15:10 of the final frame to give the Walleye the final score of 4-3.
The Walleye are home Friday and Saturday night for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop against South Carolina before heading to Brampton for a 2:00 p.m. puck drop on Sunday.
Nagle stopped 27 of 30 shots and is now 27-4-2-1 on the season. He broke the record previously set by both Cal Heeter and Jake Paterson of eight straight victories with his ninth consecutive win.
Dylan Sadowy has scored in five straight games and has ten points in his last eight games.
The Walleye finish the month of February with a 10-2-0 record.
The Walleye are 21-1-1 all-time vs. Indy.
Elsewhere, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin finished even with 2 shots in goal and a 60% faceoff ranking in 14:12 played during Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s 2-0 win over Spartak Moscow;
In the Finnish Liiga, Libor Sulak finished at -1 with 12 minutes in penalties and 25:12 still played in the Lahti Pelicans’ 3-0 loss to Ilves;
Julius Vahatalo had a shot and a 25% faceoff ranking in 19:48 played during Jukurit’s 5-1 loss to TPS Turku;
In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Gustav Lindstrom had an assist in Almtuna IS’s 3-2 win over Troja;
Mattias Elfstrom played on the fourth line in Vasterviks IK’s 4-3 loss to IK Oskarshamn;
In the WHL, Dennis Cholowski finished at +2 with 3 shots as his Portland Winterhawks won 9-0 over the Tri-City Americans. Michael Rasmussen finished at -1 with 4 shots, a 10-for-12 faceoff record, and 10 penalty minutes, in the form of a 10-minute misconduct.
And here is the Grand Rapids Griffins‘ weekly press release:
This Week’s Games
Tucson Roadrunners at GRIFFINS // Wed., Feb. 28 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Home, 0-1-0-0 Overall. Second of four meetings overall, second of two at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 0-1-0-0 Home, 0-1-0-0 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Arizona Coyotes
Noteworthy: Tucson won the inaugural matchup between the teams on Oct. 25 by a 3-1 final, as the Roadrunners had 10 chances on the power play.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at GRIFFINS // Fri., March 2 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Home, 0-0-0-0 Overall. First of two meetings overall, first and last at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 2-0-0-1 Home, 4-1-0-1 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins
Noteworthy: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s last visit to Van Andel Arena came on Nov. 21, 2008, which resulted in a 3-2 shootout win for the Penguins.
Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS // Sat., March 3 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.
Season Series: 2-1-1-0 Home, 5-1-1-0 Overall. Eighth of 10 meetings overall, fifth of five at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 50-28-2-2-2 Home, 90-60-7-7-7 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators
Noteworthy: The Griffins have points in seven of the last eight meetings against the Admirals (6-1-1-0).
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Feb. 21 Chicago Wolves 5 at GRIFFINS 2 28-19-1-6 (63 pts, 4th Central Division)
Sat., Feb. 24 Iowa Wild 1 at GRIFFINS 2 29-19-1-6 (65 pts, 2nd)
Sun., Feb. 25 Iowa Wild 2 at GRIFFINS 3 SO 30-19-1-6 (67 pts, 2nd)
Listen here to Ben Simon’s Tuesday interview on WOOD Radio’s West Michigan’s Morning News
Opening Faceoff: The Grand Rapids Griffins earned four out of a possible six points in three home games last week. Grand Rapids has points in 13 of its last 14 games (11-1-0-2) and is 20-4-0-3 in its last 27. The Griffins, who place third in the Central Division, close out their six-game homestand this week against the Tucson Roadrunners, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Milwaukee Admirals.
Follow the Leaders:
Points: Matt Puempel (19-25—44)
Goals: Eric Tangradi (22)
Assists: Ben Street (33)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (94)
Plus-Minus: Filip Hronek (+24)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (20)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.47)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.916)
Last Week’s Notes:
Wednesday vs. Chicago: Grand Rapids had its 11-game point streak come to an end and lost in regulation for the first time since Jan. 17…The Wolves jumped out to a 3-0 lead at the 5:51 mark of the second period, marking the first time the Griffins trailed by three since Dec. 15 vs. Chicago (3-6 L)…Chicago finished 3-for-4 on the power play…Tom McCollum stopped 16-of-19 shots in 25:51 before being relieved by Matej Machovsky…In his AHL debut, Machovsky turned aside 14-of-15 shots in 32:48…Grand Rapids recorded 22 shots in the third period, a season high for shots in a single period…Ben Street (1-1—2) and Evgeny Svechnikov (0-2—2) logged multi-point games while Chicago’s Brandon Pirri (2-1—3) and Beau Bennett (1-2—3) both had three-point nights.
Saturday vs. Iowa: Grand Rapids earned its third consecutive win against Iowa…The Griffins scored twice on the power play in the second period…Matthew Ford potted his 20th goal of the season at the 12:06 mark of the period and Matt Lorito tallied his 18th at 16:32…Grand Rapids finished 2-for-3 on the man-advantage and 3-for-3 on the penalty kill…Tom McCollum stopped 22-of-23 shots and saw his shutout bid ended at the 19:57 mark of the third period…Grand Rapids has outshot four straight opponents.
Sunday vs. Iowa: The Griffins won their fourth straight over the Wild…Three of Grand Rapids’ four victories against Iowa this season have come in a shootout…Matej Machovsky stopped 26 shots and all three of Iowa’s attempts in the shootout to earn his first AHL victory in his first start…Dominic Turgeon, celebrating his 22nd birthday, scored the deciding goal in the shootout…Matt Lorito produced a goal and an assist…Filip Hronek tallied the game’s first goal on the power play at 1:10 of the opening period…The crowd of 10,367 – marking the Griffins’ sixth straight weekend home game with an attendance in excess of 10,000 – was accompanied by 434 canines who enjoyed the Jake Engel Memorial Bring Your Dog Game.
This Week’s Promotions: Wednesday against Tucson will be a Winning Wednesday presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. The Griffins host their seventh annual Purple Community Game to benefit Van Andel Institute on Friday against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. On Friday, fans can also enjoy $2 hot dogs/$2 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Saturday against Milwaukee is Star Wars Night presented by DTE Energy.
Whoa, Nelly: Head coach Todd Nelson holds a 297-183-15-46 (0.605) record as an AHL head coach and needs three more victories to become the 20th head coach in the 82-year history of the AHL to reach 300. Milestones already achieved by Nelson this season include: becoming the fifth active AHL head coach to coach in 500 or more games on Nov. 11 at Texas, becoming the fifth coach in team history with 100 or more victories on Dec. 2 at Chicago, becoming the fourth coach in franchise history with 200 or more games coached on Feb. 4 at Cleveland, and coaching in his 800th game as a professional head coach on Jan. 6 at Chicago.
Macho Man Debuts: Reassigned by the Red Wings to Grand Rapids from Toledo last Tuesday, goaltender Matej Machovsky made his AHL debut in Wednesday’s loss to Chicago and stopped 14-of-15 shots in 32:48 during a relief effort. Making his first career AHL start on Sunday against Iowa, Machovsky stopped 26-of-28 shots and all three of the Wild’s shootout attempts to earn his first victory. The 24-year-old is skating in his first professional season in North America and also shows an 11-9-1 record, a 2.02 GAA and a 0.933 save percentage in 21 appearances with the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Machovsky played the previous four seasons for Plzen HC in the Czech Extraliga.
Griffins in the Olympics: Two former Griffins earned medals at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. Alexey Marchenko was a member of the Olympic Athletes from Russia team that took home the gold in men’s hockey, while Chris Kelly scored the game-winning goal in Canada’s bronze medal match against the Czech Republic. Marchenko’s and Kelly’s success continues the Griffins’ long and storied history with the Olympic Games, as their finishes mark the fourth straight Olympics that a Griffins alum has won a medal. A total of eight former Griffins participated in this year’s Olympics: Dick Axelsson (Sweden), Chad Billins (USA), Chris Chelios (assistant coach USA), Kelly (Canada), Marchenko (Olympic Athletes from Russia), Jan Mursak (Slovenia), Jim Paek (head coach Korea) and Brock Radunske (Korea).
McCollum the Records Holder: Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in goaltender games played, minutes and saves, Tom McCollum surpassed Joey MacDonald for the most victories in franchise history (110) following the Griffins’ 4-2 win at Cleveland on Feb. 2. McCollum is 6-2 in his last eight appearances and shows a 2.41 GAA and a 0.923 save percentage in that span.
Special Teams: Grand Rapids has scored a power play goal in three consecutive games, finishing 4-for-8 in that stretch. The Griffins place third in the AHL with a power play percentage of 21.0%. Matt Lorito leads the team with 21 power play points (7-14—21), followed by Matt Puempel (7-11—18), Ben Street (4-13—17) and Matthew Ford (11-5—16). Ford’s 11 PPGs tie for second in the league.
Home Sweet Home: The Griffins have points in 12 of their last 15 home games (10-3-1-1) and conclude a six-game homestand this week. The six-game homestand is the team’s longest since a six-game stretch from Jan. 8-18, 2014.
On the Road: The Griffins have points in 12 of the last 13 road contests (10-1-0-2), including eight in a row.
0 to 100: Ben Street (98 points in 115 GP) and Matt Lorito (98 points in 109 GP) are both approaching their 100th career points as a Griffin and are on track to be among the fastest in franchise history to hit the century mark. Thirty-six players previously in team history have achieved 100 or more points and below is the top 10 quickest to 100.
Rank Games Player Date Reached 100 Points 1 81 Michel Picard 4/12/1997 2 87 Kip Miller 1/27/2005 3 97 Jeff Nelson 12/21/2003 4 98 Donald MacLean 3/25/2006 5 102 Gustav Nyquist 1/17/2013 6 103 Derek King 2/14/2001 7 107 Slava Butsayev 1/19/2001 8 108 Teemu Pulkkinen 1/23/2015 9 109 Andy Miele 1/20/2016 10 117 Jiri Hudler 10/28/2005
Tangoal: Ninth-year pro Eric Tangradi potted his team-leading 22nd goal of the season last Wednesday and has surpassed the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his AHL career (2015-16). Since Jan. 1, Tangradi leads the league with 13 goals, while his 21 points in 22 GP in that span tie for sixth.
Model Year: Captain Matthew Ford lit the lamp for the 20th time this season last Saturday and became the second Griffin with 20 or more goals (Eric Tangradi – 22). The 10th-year pro has 20-plus goals for the fifth time in his AHL career. His 11 power play goals tie for second in the AHL.
Cool Ranch Loritos: Matt Lorito scored the game-winning goal last Saturday and added a two-point outing (1-1—2) the next day. In the last 13 games, the third-year pro shows 13 points (7-6—13) and a plus-eight rating.
Hot Street: Ben Street scored a goal and an assist last Wednesday and has 12 points (3-9—12) and a plus-five rating in the last 12 games. Street tallied his 10th goal of the campaign last Wednesday, the sixth Griffin with a double-digit goal total. His team-high 33 assists tie for seventh in the AHL.
Filip Hero-nek: Rookie defenseman Filip Hronek potted the game’s first goal in Sunday’s win against Iowa and has accrued 10 points (4-6—10) and a plus-11 rating in the last 10 games. Four of his eight goals this season have been of the game-winning variety, tying for the most among AHL blueliners. The 53rd overall selection by Detroit in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Hronek ranks among the league’s rookie defensemen leaders with 29 points (2nd), eight goals (T3rd), 21 assists (3rd) and a plus-24 rating (2nd).
Puemped Up: Matt Puempel has tallied 14 points (6-8—14) in his last 11 contests. Acquired by the Red Wings via trade on Oct. 21, Puempel has not gone more than three consecutive games in a Griffins uniform without recording a point.
Robbie Russo – five points to reach 100 as a pro
Ben Street – two points to reach 100 as a Griffin
Turner Elson – two points to reach 100 as a pro
Eric Tangradi – five points to reach 300 in the AHL
Matt Lorito – two points to reach 100 as a Griffin
Championship Effects: Seven players from the 2017 Calder Cup championship team have played in the NHL this season: forwards Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit), Kyle Criscuolo (Buffalo), Martin Frk (Detroit), Tomas Nosek (Vegas) and Dominic Turgeon (Detroit), and defensemen Joe Hicketts (Detroit) and Brian Lashoff (Detroit).
Tucson Notes: The Roadrunners lead the Pacific Division…Tucson won the inaugural matchup between the teams on Oct. 25 by a 3-1 final, as the Roadrunners had 10 chances on the power play…10 power play opportunities were the most chances by a Griffins opponent since March 15, 2014 at Oklahoma City…Wednesday is Grand Rapids’ 12th game of 18 it will play against Pacific Division teams this season…Wednesday is the third time ever the Griffins welcome an Arizona-based team to West Michigan, as Grand Rapids also hosted the International Hockey League’s Phoenix Roadrunners on Jan. 11, 1997…Grand Rapids will make the return trip to Tucson Arena on April 6-7…Grand Rapids last played in the Cactus State on March 5, 1997, against the IHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Notes: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton places second in the Atlantic Division…The Griffins and Penguins are facing off for the first time since the 2008-09 season…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s last visit to Van Andel Arena came on Nov. 21, 2008, which resulted in a 3-2 shootout win for the Penguins…The last meeting between the teams came on March 25, 2009, in Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton won 5-3…After eight straight seasons of not being on the schedule, Grand Rapids and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will meet up twice in an eight-day span as the Griffins make the return trip to northeast Pennsylvania on March 10…Entering this season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – whose parent club in Pittsburgh has hoisted the last two Stanley Cups – has qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in 15 consecutive campaigns.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Connections: Ben Street appeared in 107 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2010-12 and totaled 80 points (39-41—80)…Street led the team in points (57), goals (27) and assists (30) during the 2011-12 campaign…Eric Tangradi logged 178 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton from 2009-13 and tallied 121 points (60-61)…Born in Philadelphia, Tangradi made his NHL debut with Pittsburgh on April 11, 2010, appeared in 45 games with the NHL’s Penguins from 2009-13 and posted five points (1-4—5) before being traded to Winnipeg in February 2013.
Milwaukee Notes: With a rivalry dating back to the International Hockey League days, the Griffins have faced the Admirals more than any other opponent in team history as the two clubs will meet up for the 172nd time on Saturday…The Griffins have points in seven of the last eight meetings against the Admirals (6-1-1-0)…Grand Rapids has outshot Milwaukee in six of seven games this season…In the last meeting on Jan. 19 at Milwaukee, the Griffins finished 2-for-2 on the power play, 4-for-4 on the penalty kill, scored a shorthanded goal and won 5-2…In the last matchup in West Michigan on Jan. 17, the Admirals scored four unanswered goals after Grand Rapids jumped out to a 2-0 lead at 9:31 of the second period and came away with a 4-3 victory…Since the 2013-14 season, Grand Rapids posts a 31-14-2-0 (0.681) regular season mark against Milwaukee, including a 17-6-1-0 record in 24 games at Van Andel Arena…That comes on the heels of an 18-24-4-4 (0.440) record the Griffins tallied against the Admirals from the 2006-07 season to 2012-13…Admirals winger Bobby Butler represented Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics…Grand Rapids has scored a power play goal in six of seven meetings this season, including four times scoring two or more PPGs…The Griffins’ special teams are 30.6% (11/36) on the power play and 93.5% (29/31) on the penalty kill in the season series…Second-year pro Evgeny Svechnikov has three career multi-goal games and all three have come against Milwaukee…Matt Puempel has a team-high nine points (4-5—9 in 6 GP) in the season series while Matthew Ford (4-3—7 in 7 GP) and Ben Street (2-5—7 in 6 GP) tie for second against the Admirals.
Milwaukee Connections: Grand Rapids assistant coaches Ben Simon (18 GP in 2003-04) and Bruce Ramsay (3 GP in 1995-96) had cups of coffee on the other side of Lake Michigan during their playing days…Mark Zengerle played in 144 regular season games with the Griffins from 2014-16 and totaled 84 points (24-60—84), a plus-19 rating and 42 PIM while adding 15 points (2-13—15) in 24 Calder Cup Playoff contests…Tyler Moy and Luke Esposito were teammates at Harvard from 2013-17 and helped the Crimson reach the 2017 Frozen Four…Goaltender Jake Paterson, Detroit’s second choice (80th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, appeared in two games with the Griffins during the 2015-16 season, showing a 0-2-0 record, a 3.11 GAA and a 0.928 save percentage.
Up and Down: With a 30-19-1-6 record through 56 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ 30 wins and 26 (including overtime and shootout) losses.
GF GA PP% PK% SF SA W (30) 4.40 2.13 28.13% 88.03% 33.20 30.07 L (26) 1.77 3.73 12.62% 79.03% 32.85 30.38
Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Grand Rapids has won six of the last seven on the first night and three of the last four on the second night. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive days:
W L (incl. OT, SO) GF GA PP% PK% SF SA First Night 9 8 3.59 3.12 26.56% 83.82% 31.47 29.94 Second Night 7 10 2.59 3.12 18.03% 81.58% 31.12 31.47 Third Night 1 2 2.33 2.67 27.27% 85.71% 38.67 31.33
Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye have won eight of their last 10 and lead the Western Conference with 78 points (37-14-2-2 record). Erik Bradford (15-28—43) and Christian Hilbrich (19-18—37) lead the team in scoring, while Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski (13-22—35) places fourth. Griffins-contracted and 2018 ECHL All-Star Pat Nagle leads the league with 26 victories (26-4-3) while tying for sixth with a 2.27 GAA and tying for fifth with a 0.922 save percentage.