The start of game four had me a little concerned, I’ll be honest. The first period was sloppy at first. The vast majority of the game in fact, was full of cheap shots from both teams, poor turnovers, and moments where I felt tired just watching them dump-and-chase from one zone to the next. It reminded me of a scene in the movie “Miracle” where Herb Brooks, played by Kurt Russell yells at Johnson saying, “…that coast to coast stuff might work here, but it won’t against the teams we’ll be playing.”
It was over fifteen minutes into the first period before those taunting double-zeros on the score board finally changed, sparking the flame the Griffins needed to pull off the 6-3 victory over Chicago. I’m going to go against my own grain here and do my game review a little different – bullet point style! Everyone loves a good bullet point list, so here are my peeves, plays and players of the night.
Peeve of the Night:
Questionable Calls: Referees and linesmen have the toughest job on the ice. They are not crowd favorites and one call could change the course of the game – for better or worse. Tonight’s performance was, for the most part, acceptable. There were several moments however, that reminded me of something a Walleye fan said to me during a recent playoff game – that the home team would have to get decapitated before getting a power play opportunity. The physical play is to be expected and in some ways, encouraged, in the playoffs. But I was not overwhelmingly impressed with the on-ice calls.
Play of the Night:
Without a doubt, it would be Callahan’s beautifully executed shot (assisted by Tangradi) with 1.1 seconds remaining on the clock. It was a Miracle moment to say the least, and gave the Griffins the momentum (albeit, delayed) heading into the second period. It was a goal worthy of the highlight reels.
Player of the Night:
Mitch Callahan, one of the few veterans remaining on the team from the Griffins last Calder championship, earned his first 2017 playoff hat-trick. He has, in my opinion, been one of the most improved players since the start of this regular season and he continues to grow. Chicago is not an easy team on the ice (or the eyes), and despite their blatant dislike of Callahan, he continued to push and lead his team to victory. It seems to me, that he’s embracing his informal leadership position and helping pave the way to victory.
Overall, I’m happy to add another “W” to my bracket and to say that I am a Griffins fan. I mentally shake hands with Cally for his excellent game and to the rest of the boys for being a perfect example of teamwork.