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Prospect news: Grand Rapids Griffins to face San Jose Barracuda in AHL Western Conference Final

A couple hours after the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Chicago Wolves 5-2 to advance to the Western Conference Final in 5 games, the San Jose Barracuda defeated the San Diego Gulls 2-0, advancing to the Western Conference Final in the same 5 games.

As such, the Griffins and Barracuda will battle for the chance to play for the AHL championship, and the series will take a 2-3-2 format, with the Griffins hosting the middle three games as San Jose finished higher in the standings.

Here's the schedule visually and text-ually, via the AHL:

The American Hockey League has announced the following schedule for the Western Conference Finals in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs:

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
P1-San Jose Barracuda vs. C2-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Sat., May 20 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 9:00
Game 2 – Sun., May 21 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 24 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 26 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 27 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 30 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 31 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern

The two Western Conference division finals both ended tonight with the Grand Rapids Griffins eliminating the Chicago Wolves four games to one in the Central Division, and the San Jose Barracuda defeating the San Diego Gulls four games to one in the Pacific Division.

The Griffins, top development team of the Detroit Red Wings, have reached the Western Conference Finals for the third time in five years (2013, 2015, 2017), while the Barracuda are making the first Calder Cup conference finals appearance by a San Jose Sharks affiliate since the Kentucky Thoroughblades joined the league in 1996.

In the Eastern Conference, the Syracuse Crunch have a 3-2 series lead over the Toronto Marlies in the North Division Finals, and the Hershey Bears and Providence Bruins are even at 2-2 in the Atlantic Division Finals.

In operation since 1936, the AHL continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 88 percent of today’s NHL players are American Hockey League graduates, and for the 16th year in a row, more than 6 million fans attended AHL games across North America in 2016-17.

Update: Here's the Griffins website's press release:


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Having finished off a 4-1 series victory over the Chicago Wolves with tonight’s 5-2 win in Game 5 of the Central Division Finals, the Grand Rapids Griffins will continue their quest for a second Calder Cup championship by facing the San Jose Barracuda in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals.

The Griffins, who’ve defeated the Central Division’s regular season champion in consecutive postseasons (including Milwaukee in 2016), now turn their sights on the Barracuda, whose 0.699 points percentage during the 2016-17 campaign led both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference and fell just 0.005 shy of league-leading Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. San Jose completed its own 4-1 series win tonight with a 2-0 triumph at San Diego in Game 5 of the Pacific Division Finals.

San Jose will host Games 1 and 2 of the conference finals at the SAP Center next Saturday, May 20 and Sunday, May 21 before the series switches to Van Andel Arena for Game 3 on Wednesday, May 24, Game 4 on Friday, May 26 and, if necessary, Game 5 on Saturday, May 27. The complete schedule is as follows:

2017 Calder Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Finals – Best of Seven
Game 1  Sat., May 20  GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda  9 p.m.
Game 2  Sun., May 21  GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda  8 p.m.
Game 3  Wed., May 24  San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS  7 p.m.
Game 4  Fri., May 26  San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS  7 p.m.
*Game 5  Sat., May 27  San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS  7 p.m.
*Game 6  Tue., May 30  GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda  10 p.m.
*Game 7  Wed., May 31  GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda  10 p.m.

* If necessary
All times Eastern and subject to change
All games on ESPN 96.1 FM and AHLLive.com

Tickets for all three games at Van Andel Arena will go on sale to the public this Monday, May 15 at 10 a.m. at all Star Tickets locations, including The Zone, online through http://griffinshockey.com/tickets by ph,one through Star Tickets at (800) 585-3737, or via the Griffins app for iPhone or Android.

Grand Rapids, which has advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the third time in five years, faces a San Jose squad that is enjoying its first playoff run after last spring’s first-round loss that capped off its inaugural season. The Griffins and Barracuda staged their first-ever meetings this season, as San Jose took a 4-1 victory at Van Andel Arena on Jan. 27 and a 1-0  shootout win in Silicon Valley on March 11.

The Barracuda, who joined the Griffins as the only teams to finish the regular season among the AHL’s top five in both goals for and goals against, claimed a significant amount of league hardware last month. Roy Sommer, the winningest head coach in AHL history, won the Louis A. R. Pieri Memorial Award as coach of the year; Troy Grosenick received the Aldege "Baz" Bastien Memorial Award as the circuit’s best goaltender after a season in which his 10 shutouts doubled his closest pursuers and he ranked near the top of the league with 30 wins (2nd), a 0.926 save percentage (T2nd) and a 2.04 goals against average (3rd); and center Daniel O’Regan earned the Dudley "Red" Garrett Memorial Award as the outstanding rookie after leading his team and all first-year players with 58 points (23-35—58).

This will be the Griffins’ first-ever playoff series against an opponent from California, and Game 1 will mark the farthest distance they’ve ever traveled for a playoff game. They made a 1,819-mile trip to Abbotsford, British Columbia, while taking a 3-1 win over the Heat in the 2014 Western Conference Quarterfinals, a distance that will be surpassed by their 1,947-mile journey to San Jose.

The Griffins will play in a conference final for the seventh time in franchise history and fifth time as members of the AHL. They made consecutive trips to the IHL’s Eastern Conference Finals in 2000 (4-1 win over Cincinnati before falling in the Turner Cup Finals) and 2001 (2-4 loss to Orlando), and they played in the AHL’s Western Conference Finals in 2003 (3-4 loss to Houston), 2006 (0-4 loss to Milwaukee), 2013 (4-3 win over Oklahoma City en route to their Calder Cup title) and 2015 (2-4 loss to Utica).

Grand Rapids has already staked its claim to a bit of AHL history in these playoffs, becoming just the second team to advance to at least the second round of the playoffs in each of the four seasons that followed a Calder Cup championship. The only other team to accomplish the feat was the Cleveland Barons, who reached the second round for five straight years after winning the cup in 1941.

Fans who want to experience every Griffins game at Van Andel Arena during the Western Conference Finals can now purchase a Griffins Series Pass. Enjoy the same great seat at a significant savings off box office pricing plus no service fees. To reserve your Series Pass, visit http://griffinshockey.com/seriespass or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2.

Available for all playoff home games, Playoff 4-Packs include four or more tickets at a savings of $3 per ticket plus no service fees. To purchase a Playoff 4-Pack, visit http://griffinshockey.com/playoff4pack or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2.

Continuing a postseason tradition, the Griffins have extended their popular Friday promotion and are offering $2 beers and $2 hot dogs for all home playoff games for two hours after the doors open, while supplies last.

Peppino’s Sports Grille in downtown Grand Rapids will host watch parties for all remaining road games during the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs. Fans can enjoy $2 short and $4 tall Bud Light specials, $5.99 all-American burger baskets and $8.99 one-topping deep dish pizzas.

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Primis's avatar

Obligatory “GR had to play 8 more regular season games than SJ, this whole system is stupid” post.

Because the AHL’s whole Pacific Division system is stupid and cringeworthy.

Posted by Primis on 05/14/17 at 09:29 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.


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