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Prospect news: Griffins can’t ‘bear’ down vs. Moose; Nastasiuk, Saarijarvi power Walleye

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins are having a rough go. The Griffins dropped a 3-1 decision to the Manitoba Moose, and the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that 5-4-and-1 November punctuated by an 0-2-and-1 stretch has coach Todd Nelson very upset with his charges...

And the Moose ruined Teddy Bear Toss night.

The Griffins' website posted a recap of the team's loss to Manitoba...


Manitoba Moose 3 at GRIFFINS 1

Nov. 24, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Manitoba Moose tallied two goals in the game’s opening 8:01 and Michael Hutchinson recorded 37 saves to propel Manitoba to a 3-1 win against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday night at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins, who were playing their first home game since Nov. 8 and first game overall since last Saturday at Rockford, have fallen below the 0.500 mark (8-9-0-2), while the Central Division-leading Moose (13-5-1-1) have won five straight and own a five-point margin over the second-place IceHogs.

After a weekend off from games, the Griffins will continue their three-game homestand on Wednesday when they host the Texas Stars at 7 p.m.

Showing no side effects from yesterday’s holiday, Manitoba struck just 1:05 into the opening period. Jared Coreau used his right pad to deny Sami Niku’s initial attempt from the right point, but Patrice Cormier gained control of the puck amid a trafficked crease and slipped it past the netminder’s outstretched right skate.

Mason Appleton, the reigning AHL Player of the Week, doubled the Moose’s advantage during the team’s first power play of the game. Skating up the right side, Nic Petan fed a backhanded pass toward the slot. After Brendan Lemieux’s initial attempt was knocked down, Appleton banged in a bouncing puck between Coreau’s pads with 11:59 remaining in the first stanza.

Turner Elson cut Manitoba’s lead in half 2:42 into the middle frame which allowed the partisan crowd of 9,930 to unload their teddy bears onto the ice. The first-year Griffin, who now leads the team with seven goals, picked off a pass from Cormier in the Manitoba zone and made a quick move to his backhand in the slot to get past Moose defender Peter Stoykewych. He walked in on Hutchinson and, with his left-handed shot, went top shelf to the upper left corner, ensuing the cascade of teddy bears. The 4,000 stuffed animals thrown onto the ice tonight will benefit Hug-A-Bears of Kent County, as the Griffins hosted their 18th annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Grand Rapids went on to outshoot Manitoba 15-7 in the second period, aided by over four consecutive minutes of power play time near the middle portion of the frame, but were unable to find the equalizer. The Griffins, who entered tonight’s game third in the AHL in power play percentage, finished 0-for-8 on the man-advantage.

JC Lipon restored Manitoba’s two-goal edge with 8:36 left in regulation. Skating up the left side, Chase De Leo dumped the puck in behind the Griffins’ net. After taking an odd bounce off the end boards, the puck glanced off an in-pursuit Mike Sgarbossa’s skate and waited innocently by the left post for Lipon to swoop in and score.

Coreau, who finished with 27 saves, came off for the extra attacker with 2:44 remaining but Grand Rapids could not inch closer.

Manitoba concluded the game 1-for-6 on the power play.

Three Stars: 1. MB Hutchinson (W, 37 saves); 2. MB Appleton (game-winning goal); 3. GR Elson (goal)

And the Griffins' website also posted a photo gallery, a highlight clip and an interview clip:


Here's the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's report:

After a grueling six-game road trip in eight days that included three games in Texas, the Griffins returned home after nearly a week off and fell behind 2-0 in the first period and never recovered.

At 8-9-0-2 and below .500 at the latest point since February, 2012 (20-21-5-4), the Griffins have struggled with consistency.

"We're brain dead," coach Todd Nelson said. "We're doing things that are uncharacteristic. We played well on the road trip, deserved a better fate (than 2-2-0-1) and we come back home here and a lot of things we worked on and talked about didn't apply. For whatever reason. It's very frustrating. It's frustrating for everyone. At some point some guys have to take charge. We have to start moving in the right direction."

So far, the Griffins have yet to distinguish themselves either way. They have won no more than two in a row - twice - but also have not gone more than two games without a point.

Against Manitoba, they were 0 for 8 on the power play and 1 for 6 on the penalty kill. But the Griffins came into the game in the top 10 in both categories.

"We're kind of taking a step forward, taking a step back," said Ben Street, who was on last year's title team. "We can't really get much continuity with our game."

As for why, Street added: "I don't know. You can throw excuses at it, but night to night it's just not where it needs to be."

Wallner continues...

In the ECHL, two Red Wings prospects had very good evenings. Zach Nastasiuk had a goal and an assist and Vili Saarijarvi scored 2 goals as the Toledo Walleye won 4-1 over Wheeling. Matej Machovsky also stopped 33 of 34 shots for Toledo. The Walleye's website posted a recap and a highlight clip:

Sold out crowd watches Walleye derail Railers

The Walleye defeated the Railers at home 4-1 for their sixth straight home win in front of a sold out crowd. The Walleye are now 12-4-2 on the season and 6-0-0 at home.

The Walleye opened the scoring at 6:40 of the first period with a goal by Zach Nastasiuk.

The Walleye extended their lead 2-0 at 11:31 of the second period with a goal by Vili Saarijarvi. The Railers pulled within a goal at 13:26 of the second to make it a 2-1 game.

The Walleye regained a two-goal lead with a power play goal by Kyle Bonis 28 seconds into the third period to make it a 3-1 game. The Walleye extended their lead with another goal by Vili Sarrijarvi at 2:08 of the third to make it a 4-1 game.

Fish Tales:

  • The Walleye travel to Brampton Sunday for a 2:00 p.m. puck drop. They play in Fort Wayne Friday for an 8:00 p.m. puck drop before returning home Saturday against the Fuel for a 7:15 p.m. puck drop.
  • Machovsky stopped 33-34 shots and is now 2-2-0 on the season.
  • Tyler Barnes has had an assist in his past five games.
  • Zach Nastasiuk has scored in four of his past five games.
  • The Walleye remain undefeated at home with a perfect 6-0-0 record.
  • The Walleye have had six sellouts in six home games.

Elsewhere, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in Lokomotiv Yaroslavl's 4-1 loss over Red Star Kunlun;

In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo had an assist and won 30% of his faceoffs in 10:59 of ice time as Jukurit won 3-1 over JYP;

In the Swedish Allsvenskan, Gustav Lindstrom didn't have a point in Almtuna IS's 3-2 win over Troja;

Malte Setkov missed IK Pantern's 2-1 win over Modo;

In the Swiss NLA league, Joren van Pottelberghe stopped 22 of 29 shots as HC Davos lost 7-2 to HC Ambri-Piotta;

In the OHL, Brady Gilmour had 2 assists, finishing +1 and 4-of-7 on faceoffs, in the Saginaw Spirit's 6-1 win over Flint;

Zach Gallant had an assist, finishing at +1 and winning 8-of-18 faceoffs, and Cole Fraser finished +1 as their Peterborough Petes won 4-0 over Sudbury;

Givani Smith finished at -1 in the Guelph Storm's 5-4 OT win over Barrie;

Kaden Fulcher served as the back-up and Reilly Webb finished at +1 in the Hamilton Bulldogs' 6-5 win over Oshawa;

In the WHL, Lane Zablocki had an assist and 1 shot in the Red Deer Rebels' 6-2 loss to Portland;

Michael Rasmussen sat out the Tri-City Americans' 6-0 win over Regina;

In the USHL, Adam Larsson stopped 22 of 23 shots as his Tri-City Storm won 3-2 in OT over Sioux City;

And in NCAA hockey, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Chase Pearson had a shot and went 10-for-20 on faceoffs and Patrick Holway had a shot and finished at -1 as the University of Maine Black Bears lost 3-0 to Providence College;

Keith Petruzzelli served as the back-up as the Quinnipiac Bobcats lost 2-1 to Massacusetts;

Jack Adams finished at -1 in Union College's 4-1 win over North Dakota;

David Pope had 2 shots and finished at -1 in the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks' 4-3 win over Northern Michigan;

And Chase Perry served as the back-up in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers' 2-0 loss to Clarkson.

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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.