In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins welcomed Evgeny Svechnikov back into their lineup, and he contributed in a big way, registering a goal and 2 assists in the Griffins’ 4-2 win over the Manitoba Moose.
Filip Hronek, Robbie Russo and Matt Lorito also scored for Grand Rapids, and Jared Coreau stopped 25 of 27 shots. The Griffins’ website posted a recap:
Manitoba Moose 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4
Feb. 7, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Western Conference’s hottest team once again got the better of its best team on Wednesday, as the Grand Rapids Griffins maintained their torrid run with a 4-2 victory over the Manitoba Moose at Van Andel Arena.
With Evgeny’s Svechnikov’s goal and two assists leading the way, the Griffins improved to 15-3-0-2 (0.800) in their last 20 games and claimed their third win against the Moose in as many tries since the calendar’s turn to 2018.
Jared Coreau turned aside 25 shots to improve his personal record to 11-2-2 over his last 15 appearances and push the Griffins to 25-18-1-5 overall, which keeps them in a tie with Rockford for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.
While the Griffins and IceHogs each have a 0.571 points percentage, Grand Rapids’ 56 points tie Chicago and Rockford for second in the division, now just 12 points behind the first-place Moose. When the Griffins’ current run began they trailed Manitoba by 23 points, slashing 11 points off their deficit since Dec. 22.
The Griffins will conclude a stretch of three home games in four nights by hosting the San Antonio Rampage on Friday and the Stockton Heat on Saturday. Game time each night is 7 p.m.
Each team enjoyed success on its initial power play chance early in the opening period, with the Griffins striking first at the 3:51 mark. From the point, Robbie Russo lasered a pass into the right circle to Svechnikov, who blasted a one-timer into the near corner of Eric Comrie’s net. Buddy Robinson answered for the Moose at 7:27, blowing a shot past Coreau’s glove from just above the right hashmarks.
Grand Rapids responded by capitalizing on its third opportunity in the final minute of the frame to take a 2-1 lead. Vili Saarijarvi carried the puck down low before threading a pass back to the top of the left circle to Russo, who connected with 43 seconds showing on the clock.
Filip Hronek, second among rookie AHL defensemen in scoring, doubled the home team’s margin 2:33 into the second. Taking a pass from Matthew Ford up the left boards, Hronek slid toward the point before launching a wrister that snuck through traffic.
Robinson’s second goal of the night pulled Manitoba to within one 4:28 into the final period, as he finished off a mad goal-mouth scramble by slamming a shot that caromed off Russo’s skate blade and across the line. But the Moose could not get the equalizer, and after pulling Comrie late for an extra attacker, Matt Lorito stickhandled three-quarters the length of the ice before depositing the puck into the empty net with 22 seconds remaining.
Comrie stopped 35 of 38 shots for the Moose, who saw their 5-0-0-1 streak snapped by a Griffins team that increased its own point run to seven games (6-0-0-1).
Matt Puempel’s career-high nine-game point streak (6-7—13) was snapped.
Notes: Prior to the game, the Griffins held a moment of silence for Jake Engel, their corporate sales account manager who passed away on Tuesday morning. In his honor, the Griffins’ front office, coaching and training staffs wore ribbons bearing his initials, and players donned JE helmet stickers that will be worn for the duration of the season.
Three Stars: 1. GR Svechnikov (power play goal, two assists); 2. MB Robinson (two goals); 3. GR Russo (power play goal, assist)
Elsewhere, in the Swedish Allsvenskan, Gustav Lindstrom played on the second defensive pair in Almtuna IS’s 1-0 loss to Timra IK;
In the WHL, Dennis Cholowski had 2 assists, finishing at +2 with 4 shots as his Portland Winterhawks won 8-5 over the Victoria Royals. Lane Zablocki had a rough night for Victoria, finishing -3 with 2 shots.
In the OHL, the Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci reports that Jordan Sambrook is doing very well with the Sault Greyounds:
“Jordan has come in and played well. When we got him, we got size, and the ability to be physical and move pucks,” [Sault coach Drew] Bannister said. “He’s done that on a consistent basis. He’s fit in and adjusted really quickly.”
“I think I’ve played well,” said Sambrook, taken by the Otters in the 10th round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selections draft. “The guys have been great, my billets have been great and the coaches have been great.”
Sambrook checked a number of boxes for the Hounds, including the fact he’s a right-hand shot.
“He also brings speed, skill and a high hockey IQ,” Raftis added. “Plus, he plays with an edge.”
Sambrook, with has two goals and four assists, along with a plus-minus of plus-11 since joining the Hounds, spoke of how the systems in the Soo and Erie are a little different. But with a lot of help and hard work, he says he’s grasped the principles quickly.