The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/02/14 at 10:38 PM ET
Updated with recaps, highlights etc. at 12:36 AM: Because more than a few of you are up watching NHL playoff games this evening, I'm going to post a bit of Red Wings prospect news and update it with recap-py stuff later:
In the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi was held off the scoresheet as his Guelph Storm dropped a 3-2 OT decision to the North Bay Battalion. The OHL's championship series is now tied at 1 game apiece;
In the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha was also held scoreless as his Val-d'Or Foreurs were shut out 3-0 by the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, who took the first game of the QMJHL championship series;
And in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins eliminated the Abbotsford Heat and advanced to the second round via a 5-3 win on Friday evening, taking the best-of-5 first-round series in 4 games. Jeff Hoggan had 2 goals and an assist; Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro had a goal and an assist apiece, and Mattias Backman had 2 assists.
Charles Hudon scored twice to lift the Baie-Comeau Drakkar over the Val-d'Or Foreurs 3-0 in Game 1 of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final Friday.
Jeremy Gregoire scored the other Drakkar goal, and added two assists for a three-point night.
Val-d'Or was held to just five shots in the third period, and was outshot 35-19 throughout the game.
Hudon put Baie-Comeau on the board halfway through the first period with his ninth goal of the post-season, and added his 10th on an empty-net shot 18:46 into the third.
Gregoire scored a power-play goal to put the Drakkar up 2-0 at 7:27 of the final frame.
Baie-Comeau goalie Philippe Cadorette made 19 saves for the shutout, while Foreurs netminder Antoine Bideau turned aside 32 shots in the losing effort.
Barclay Goodrow rewarded the North Bay Battalion for keeping calm despite an early deficit.
Playing their usual choking style of defence, the Battalion waited out the Guelph Storm before scoring a late power-play goal in the third period. Goodrow then scored his 12th goal of the playoffs 2:30 into overtime as North Bay tied the Ontario Hockey League final at one with a 4-3 win Friday.
It was the second straight night the teams had to settle things in extra time, with Jason Dickinson scoring the winner for Guelph in Game 1.
Goodrow, who leads the Battalion with 22 points in the playoffs, positioned himself alone between the faceoff circles and made no mistake on Ben Thomson's feed from the corner, beating Storm goaltender Justin Nichols with a shot off the right post and in.
Guelph head coach Scott Walker gave the Battalion credit for their effort, but added that the Storm still hasn't shown their 'A' game.
"Right now, to be honest, they want it more than we do," Walker said. "We have to put the work socks on and helmet, and get to work and see how it goes. We're a very mature team with good leadership and we'll spend a couple days here at practice getting better and then see what we can do out there."
(Do you have work socks? I don't...)
The Abbotsford Heat entered Game 4 looking to extend the Western Conference Quarterfinals to a winner-take-all contest, but Jeff Hoggan’s first two-goal playoff performance as a Griffin snuffed out the visitors’ hopes and powered Grand Rapids to a series-clinching 5-3 win on Friday before 7,641 at Van Andel Arena.
Hoggan also had an assist while Mattias Backman, Landon Ferraro and Teemu Pulkkinen all registered two-point nights, as the defending Calder Cup champions won their fifth consecutive playoff series to advance to the conference semifinals. Grand Rapids will face either the top-seeded Texas Stars or third-seeded Toronto Marlies in a best-of-seven matchup.
The opponent and dates for the next series will be announced at the conclusion of Sunday’s 4 p.m. EDT contest between the Chicago Wolves and Rochester Americans. A Chicago win would pair the Griffins with the regular season champion Stars, while a Rochester victory would pit Grand Rapids against Toronto in round two for the second straight year.
Regardless, tickets for conference semifinal Games 3, 4 and 5 at Van Andel Arena will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at The Zone at Van Andel Arena and all Star Tickets locations, by phone at (800) 585-3737, or through griffinshockey.com/buytickets.
The Heat began the evening on a high note, striking for the only goal of the opening period at the 14:21 mark. Off a faceoff win in the Griffins’ zone, Shane O’Brien collected a pass at the right point and teed up a slap shot that sailed into the top of Petr Mrazek’s net.
The Griffins outshot the Heat by a 9-1 count in the early going of the second period, a dominance that paid off during a power play when Pulkkinen connected on a one-timer from the top of the left circle at 7:26 for his second goal of the series. Hoggan gave Grand Rapids a 2-1 lead just 2:23 later, taking advantage of a scrambling Abbotsford defense to slip a David McIntyre feed past Joni Ortio from the right of the net.
Abbotsford staunched the bleeding with a timeout before answering with the tying goal at 13:16, when Kane Lafranchise took a backdoor pass from Max Reinhart, beat his defender and slipped a backhand past Mrazek. But the Griffins’ captain responded with his second goal in less than 10 minutes to again give Grand Rapids the lead at 3-2, as Hoggan crashed the crease to jam home a rebound with 33.4 seconds left on the clock.
Less than three minutes into the third, Ortio made a huge point-blank save on Nick Jensen to keep the Heat’s deficit at one. Soon after, the teams exchanged power play goals in under a minute, with Riley Sheahan (4:51) and Markus Granlund (5:46) both scoring from the slot to make it a 4-3 Griffins advantage.
Backman made perhaps a series-saving play for the Griffins during a power play with about four minutes remaining. Mrazek raced out to the blue line for a loose puck and was left far out of position when Granlund eventually gathered the wayward disc and shot it toward the net, but Backman dove to knock it harmlessly into the left corner.
Ferraro scored into an empty net from a sharp angle at 19:47 to seal the victory and the series.
Mrazek made 24 saves in his 28th consecutive playoff start for the Griffins and Ortio finished with 31 stops.
Notes: The crowd of 7,641 was the ninth-largest in Griffins playoff history (61 home games)…The Griffins improved to 5-12 all time at home when their opponent faces elimination. Three of those wins have come in their last five series…This marked the final game of the Abbotsford Heat franchise and the second straight year that the Griffins brought the curtain down on an AHL team in round one. Last season, Grand Rapids won a five-game series against the Houston Aeros, who subsequently moved to Des Moines and became the Iowa Wild.
Three Stars: 1. GR Hoggan (two goals, assist); 2. ABB Granlund (power play goal, assist); 2. GR Pulkkinen (power play goal, assist)
As well as a Flickr photo gallery and a set of highlights and post-game interviews:
The Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke with the Griffins' players and coach after the game (and there's a 19-image photo gallery embedded in Wallner's recap)...
"What a job by Jeff Hoggan," coach Jeff Blashill said. "He's just the heart and soul leader. He's been a huge reason for success the past two years."
Hoggan didn't just contribute on the ice. Others said he helped fire up the team in between the first and second periods.
"We just said we had to pick it up," Hoggan said. "We knew it wasn't our best period and we got a lot of poise in here and have been in these situations. Just quietly said let's go. Coach came in, we addressed a few things and got back to work."
The Griffins, after being outshot 9-8 in the first, had an 18-6 shot advantage in the second.
"The second period, we really changed momentum and it went our way," Blashill said. "That first shift of the second period with (Riley) Sheahan, (Tomas) Jurco and (Mitch) Callahan really started to change momentum and the rest of the guys followed suit."
Abbotsford coach Troy Ward thought Hoggan's second goal was the defining play.
"They carried the play in the second period," he said. "The good news was it was tied 2-2 near the end of the period and we made a boo-boo late in the second and that was the turning point in the game. Had we gone into the locker rooms 2-2, they’re even with us and they’re nervous because we win a lot of road games."
Sheahan added a fourth goal for the Griffins 4:51 into the third as he collected a rebound and netted the puck past a recovering Ortio.
A minute later, a penalty on Griffin Ryan Sproul gave Abbotsford its fourth power play of the night and forward Markus Granlund found the top corner of the net just seconds into the man-advantage to bring the Heat to within one.
Abbotsford had a few chances late in the game, but failed to capitalize. One chance included Granlund on a shorthanded breakaway.
“We had two basically open nets tonight and they didn’t find the back of the net,” Ward said. “We just didn’t find the way to the back of the net. That’s kind of the way the whole series has gone. It’s close most games and our looks didn’t turn into goals and some of their looks turned into goals.”
Griffins forward Landon Ferraro added an empty-netter with 13.4 seconds left in the game.
The game was the last for Abbotsford franchise, as the parent club Calgary Flames announced intentions to move the team in the off-season. Although disappointed, Ward said the season still was a success as they were one of the best road teams in the AHL this season.
Per the Heat's website:
The loss closes the book on the Abbotsford Heat franchise, as the team will be relocated for the 2014-2015 season. In five seasons, the Heat had a regular season record of 196-144-21-27 in 388 games and a playoff record of 10-13-2 in 25 games. The franchise thanks all of their fans for their continued support throughout the team’s tenure in Abbotsford.
WOOD TV8 also posted a highlight clip from the game...
And Fox Sports Detroit hasn't posted Dana Wakiji's recap as of yet, but she attended the game with Art Regner:
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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.