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Grand Rapids Griffins defeat Aeros, advance to battle Marlies in AHL’s 2nd round

Per the Grand Rapids Griffins' PR department, the Griffins defeated Houston 7-0 in a winner-take-all Game 5 and advanced to the second round of the AHL playoffs:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After defeating the sixth-seeded Houston Aeros three games to two in the Western Conference Quarterfinals – capped off by tonight’s 7-0 win in Game 5 at Van Andel Arena – the Midwest Division champion and third-seeded Grand Rapids Griffins will face the North Division champion and second-seeded Toronto Marlies in the best-of-seven conference semifinals.

Toronto, which authored a 3-0 sweep of Rochester in round one, will host Games 1 and 2 of the 2-3-2 format at Ricoh Coliseum on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11, before the series switches to Van Andel Arena on Wed., May 15 for the first of as many as three straight Griffins home games. The complete schedule is as follows:

2013 Calder Cup Playoffs - Western Conference Semifinals - Best of Seven

Game 1 Fri., May 10 GRIFFINS at Marlies 7 p.m.

Game 2 Sat., May 11 GRIFFINS at Marlies 3 p.m.

Game 3 Wed., May 15 Marlies at GRIFFINS7 p.m. (season ticket Game D)

Game 4 Fri., May 17 Marlies at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. (Game E)

*Game 5 Sat., May 18 Marlies at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. (Game F)

*Game 6 Tue., May 21 GRIFFINS at Marlies 7 p.m.

*Game 7 Wed., May 22 GRIFFINS at Marlies 7 p.m.

* If necessary    All times Eastern and subject to change.    All games on Newsradio WOOD 106.9 FM & 1300 AM.

Tickets for Games 3 and 4 at Van Andel Arena will go on sale this Monday, May 6 at 10 a.m. They may be purchased in person at The Zone at Van Andel Arena and all Star Tickets locations, by phone at (800) 585-3737, or through griffinshockey.com. All home playoff games will continue to feature $2 beers and $2 hot dogs from 6-8 p.m.

This will mark the second Calder Cup Playoff meeting between Grand Rapids and Toronto, following the Griffins' 4-1 series win in the 2006 North Division Semifinals. After splitting the first two contests at Van Andel Arena, including a heart-stopping 6-5 win in triple overtime in Game 1, the Griffins won the final three games of the series at Ricoh Coliseum, capped off by Game 5's 2-1 double-overtime victory.

The Griffins and Marlies, who prior to Grand Rapids' move to the Midwest Division this season had been North Division rivals since Toronto's 2005 inception, met only four times during the 2012-13 regular season. The Marlies (2-0-0-2) earned points in all four games, including victories of 3-1 at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 29 and 5-0 at Ricoh Coliseum on Dec. 16, while the Griffins (2-2-0-0) took shootout wins of 3-2 at home on Dec. 28 and 4-3 on the road on Oct. 21.

This clash between Grand Rapids and Toronto presents numerous storylines, including:

• Two of the most accomplished postseason performers in Griffins history are now with the Marlies organization. Toronto goalie Drew MacIntyre ranks as Grand Rapids' all-time leader in both goals against average (1.62) and save percentage (0.940) by virtue of his five appearances during the 2006 playoffs, while Marlies assistant coach Derek King recorded more playoff goals (16), assists (25) points (41) and power play goals (7) than any player in Griffins history. In addition, King's 46 playoff games (from 2000-04) rank second all time on the club;

• Griffins assistant coach Jim Paek, who helped guide the team to that 2006 series win over Toronto during his first season with Grand Rapids, was raised in Toronto after being born in Seoul, South Korea;

• Two Grand Rapids defensemen have vivid hockey memories of Hogtown. Brennan Evans notched eight points (1-7--8) and 199 penalty minutes in 79 games with the Marlies in 2009-10, while Nathan Paetsch scored his first NHL goal in Toronto (Jean-Sebastien Aubin) on March 3, 2007 as a member of the Buffalo Sabres;

• Toronto forward Kenny Ryan is a native of the Detroit suburb of Franklin, while three Griffins hail from Ontario: forwards Trevor Parkes (Fort Erie) and Riley Sheahan (St. Catharines) and defenseman Ryan Sproul (Mississauga);

• Three Griffins -- Sproul (2010-13 Sault Ste. Marie), goalie Tom McCollum (2006-09 Guelph, 2009 Brampton) and forward Jan Mursak (2007-08 Belleville) -- played junior hockey in Canada's most populous province, while four members of the Marlies played collegiate or junior hockey in the Great Lakes State: forwards Will Acton (2007-11 Lake Superior State) and Jamie Devane (2008-12 Plymouth) and defensemen Mike Komisarek (2000-02 Michigan) and Simon Gysbers (2006-10 Lake Superior State);

• The Griffins did not face a Canadian playoff foe during their first nine seasons (12 series), but the Marlies will be their sixth opponent from north of the border in eight postseason series over the last eight years.

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Primis's avatar

This is kinda’ a relief.

For too long DET’s guys in GR never got any real playoff action.  It’s been one big lacking area for the guys coming up.  There is absolutely value to your prospects getting a deep run in the AHL playoffs, it’s an experience you can’t get otherwise.

Posted by Primis on 05/05/13 at 12:15 AM ET

Crater's avatar

Go Griffs!

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 05/05/13 at 01:49 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Ugh, Devane is a classic goon. Figures Burke drafted him, lol.

Just watched the Gordie Howe movie. Houston Aeros were the WHA team he joined so he could play with his boys Marty and Mark back in the 70s.

Good playoff experience for Tatar. This will prepare him for the physical wear of the NHL better.

Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 05/05/13 at 08:28 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Great game. Too bad there were only a few hundred people there to witness it. The turn out to griffins games is embarrassing. The craptacular double a whitecaps draw huge crowds but the Griffs draw crap.
“There’s only two kinds of people I hate in the world: people intolerant of other peoples culture…..and the Dutch.” Yep.

Good on Tatar for his Gordie Howe hat trick

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/05/13 at 12:01 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Great game. Too bad there were only a few hundred people there to witness it. The turn out to griffins games is embarrassing. The craptacular double a whitecaps draw huge crowds but the Griffs draw crap.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/05/13 at 12:01 PM ET

Well, temper your expectations.

Playoff crowds in every minor pro market tend to be terrible, especially now.  People can’t plan ahead for playoff games, so they don’t, and the playoff schedules tend to be odd and it can be difficult for the teams to promote and get word out for the schedules. 

I saw footage from in Reading, PA the other night of the Eastern Conference finals of the ECHL and the building looked absolutely empty, and Reading isn’t a poor market.  It just is the way it is come playoff hockey, a reality for most every minor pro market, AHL included.

Posted by Primis on 05/05/13 at 02:06 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.