The Malik Report
by George Malik on 12/14/13 at 03:25 AM ET
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news: This "for the record" note doesn't usually lead off posts like these, but it must be noted that Anthony Mantha (of the QMJHL's Val-d'Or Foreurs) and Jake Paterson (of the OHL's Saginaw Spirit) are taking part in Team Canada's World Junior Selection Camp in Toronto this weekend, and they're not going to return to their respective teams until the second week of January.
The Toronto Star's Kevin McGran reported that Mantha is wearing #19 and playing on Canada's second line at present, and if we are to believe TSN's Jamie McLennan, Paterson's an underdog as compared to likely starting goalie Zach Fucale, but both players have been integral to their major junior teams' successes, so it will be interesting to see what happens to the Foreurs and Spirit without the QMJHL's leading scorer in Mantha and Curtis Joseph-like workhorse in terms of gobbling up 30+ pucks on a nightly basis in Paterson.
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins got back on their winning track on Friday, and they did so against something of a nemesis, defeating the Milwaukee Admirals 4-2. The Griffins' website recounts the game's events...
The Grand Rapids Griffins doubled-up their closest pursuers in the Midwest Division on Friday, claiming a 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Admirals at Van Andel Arena.
The physical contest featured three fights, including two involving Triston Grant, and a commanding 41-26 shot advantage for the Griffins. Grand Rapids now leads the Admirals by nine points and maintains an eight-point cushion over the Rockford IceHogs in its rivals’ leap-frog competition for second place.
Winners of 16 of their last 19 overall and nine of their last 10 at home, the Griffins (18-5-1-1) will conclude their season-high seven-game homestand on Saturday with a 7 p.m. rematch against the Admirals (12-6-4-1).
Joonas Rask scored for Milwaukee 8:01 into the opening period, but the Griffins exploded with three goals in the final five minutes of the frame to take a 3-1 lead to the locker room.
Ryan Sproul launched a slap shot into the top of Scott Darling’s net from the left circle during a power play at 15:09 to tie the score, and Mitch Callahan followed up with a great individual effort at 16:32. After stealing a pass inside the Admirals’ blue line, he quickly circled and fired a shot from the left side that sailed wide of the net but hit a glass support and caromed right back to his stick, allowing him an easy tap-in from the doorstep. Teemu Pulkkinen then rounded out the period’s scoring by potting a rebound from close range with 1:34 remaining.
Milwaukee cut its deficit to one at the 5:58 mark of the second when leading scorer Colton Sissons was left alone in front of Tom McCollum, who made the initial save on a point shot from Charles-Olivier Roussel before ceding Sissons’ 10th goal of the campaign.
After being outshot by a 32-13 margin over the first 40 minutes, the Admirals accumulated a 13-9 advantage during the third period but were unable to put another puck past McCollum, who stopped 24 of 26 shots to improve to 8-3 on the year.
Landon Ferraro scored an empty-net goal with 4.5 seconds left to seal the victory against Darling, who was solid with 37 saves in defeat.
Three Stars: 1. GR Callahan (goal); 2. GR Almquist (two assists); 3. GR Grant (two fights)
And the Griffins posted both a superb Flickr photo gallery and a slate of highlights--fight highlights, too, this was a scrappy, scrappy game--and post-game comments:
As the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner suggests, this win was special for the Griffins, and it was quite literally hard-fought:
Two of the Griffins ‘ five losses have come to Milwaukee, but in the last meeting on Nov. 20, the Griffins won 5-0 in a game that also featured a pair of fights.
"They're a pretty strong, tough team so you expect that coming in," Callahan said. "So we knew what it was going to be coming into it."
After [Triston] Grant and [Michael] Liambas tangled in front of the Griffins bench, the Griffins' Brennan Evans crushed Joonas Rask in a battle just over three minutes after Rask had given the Admirals a 1-0 lead.
Following that scuffle, the Griffins put together three quick goals - by Ryan Sproul on a power play, Callahan off his own rebound shot off the board, and, finally, by Teemu Pulkkinen in front of the net on a feed by Adam Almquist.
All came against goalie Scott Darling, who had a .930 save percentage and 2.04 goals against average in six previous games.
Mathieu Tousignant, who had been badgering the Griffins throughout, went after Grant after Grant was called for elbowing Liambas. Grant got the best of the battle - his second of the night - and Tousignant received a misconduct for instigating.
"One of the reasons I'm here is to make sure we feel good about ourselves and you have to make sure you don't get pushed out of buildings, especially your own building," Grant said. "You just have to match their intensity."
In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye lost agai...
Wait, what? They won? Holy shit!
Seriously, the Walleye--who, like the Griffins, are playing home-and-still-at-home sets of games that conclude this evening with "rematch" tilts--defeated the Evansville IceMen 5-3. Louis-Marc Aubry had a goal and finished at +2, Richard Nedomlel scored a goal, Trevor Parkes had an assist, Martin Frk had an assist and Marek Tvrdon finished at -1 while representing the Wings' prospects, and goaltender Hannu Toivonen stopped 37 of 40 shots.
The Walleye's website provides a recap...
The Walleye jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and defeated Evansville 5-3 Friday night at the Huntington Center. Toledo has an overall record of 6-11-3-0 and is 4-5-0-0 at home this season.
Toledo would collect the first goal of the game at 12:52 of the first period when Travis Novak deflected defenseman’s Russ Sinkewich’s shot in for his 4th goal of the season on the power play. Novak would strike again when he slid a puck under Evansville goaltender Garrett Bartus at 14:19. At 16:36 of the period Novak would slide a pass in front of the net to Louis-Marc Aubry which was deflected in for the 3rd goal of the year for Aubry. Evansville would cut into the lead with a goal late in the first.
“It was great to start the game the way we did tonight,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “Stopping the ninety seconds of five on three power play time in the first period was key to get us going tonight. It spring boarded us to a big effort and a nice win.”
In the second period, the Walleye returned to a three goal lead when Richard Nedomlel capped a three on two rush with his second goal of the season at 1:58. The IceMen would close to within two when Mike Seidel tapped a shot past Toivonen at 10:25.
The score would stay 4-2 until 18:34 of the third period when Daultan Leveille scored for Evansville. Forward Kyle Rogers would seal the win with a wrist shot at 19:01 for his 4th goal of the year.
Walleye Notes: Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 37 saves on 40 shots in net for Toledo. Toivonen has a record of 1-3-0-0 this year. Tonight was the first time since November 9th at Florida that the Walleye scored the first goal of the game. Toledo is 4-1-1-0 when scoring first.
As well as highlights and a post-game interview with coach Vitucci...
And the Toledo Blade's Rachel Lenzi qualified and quantified the Walleye's achievement:
For the first time in nearly three weeks, Nick Vitucci finally had something to look forward to.
The Toledo Walleye snapped a six-game losing skid with a 5-3 win over the Evansville IceMen on Friday at the Huntington Center, which meant that the Walleye coach wouldn’t have to break down another video pointing out the mistakes his team had made. Nor would he have to repeat the same things he’s been saying since before Thanksgiving.
“It’s more enjoyable doing interviews, talking about how the guys played hard and we won a game because of it, rather than how we lost one,” Vitucci said.
Travis Novak scored two goals in a span of two minutes, and the Walleye killed off an interference penalty to Russ Sinkewich with less than seven minutes left in the third period to earn their first win since Nov. 23.
“Yeah, this feels good,” said Novak, whose team had lost 10 of its previous 11 games. “You never like getting in those slumps, when you know you’ve got a team in there that you know shouldn’t be losing that much. It’s been the little things up to this point that we’re starting to do better, and it’s all coming together. Smart plays, not turning the puck over in bad spots, playing a little better defense, and capitalizing on our opportunities helped tonight.”
Elsewhere: In major junior hockey, in the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon didn't fare in the scoring as his Victoriaville Tigres' dropped a 5-2 decision to Rimouski;
In the OHL, minus Paterson, the Saginaw Spirit lost 5-2 to Peterborough;
Zach Nastasiuk had an assist in the Owen Sound Attack's 5-2 win over Kitchener;
Tyler Bertuzzi didn't play during the Guelph Storm's 5-2 loss for London;
Andreas Athanasiou had an assist in the Barrie Colts' 3-2 loss to Mississauga;
In the WHL, Marc McNulty got in a fight in the Prince George Cougars' 5-1 win over Tri-City
Edit/update: HockeyFights.com posted the bout. It reminded me how tall and thin McNulty is at 6'6" and maybe 185 pounds.That's not good:
And Mitchell Wheaton didn't register a point in the Kelowna Rockets' 6-5 OT loss to Brandon.
In the statistical oddity that is the BCHL, David Pope didn't register a point in the West Kelowna Warriors' 2-0 win over Merritt;
And in NCAA hockey, we're going to see some spotty "coverage" as most college hockey teams are a) either on or nearing their semester break or b) will take part in some tournaments but will not play very much until the post-Christmas tournaments hit.
So Mike McKee didn't play in the Western Michigan University Broncos' 5-3 win over Minnesota-Duluth, and tomorrow's match-up between the teams will represent the last WMU game until the Broncos play in the Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park on December 27th.
McKee's played in 10 of WMU's 17 games, and I'm wondering whether McKee's got a future in college hockey given that his undisciplined penalties and desire to still fight despite the fact that NCAA fighting = a game misconduct and a 1-game suspension haven't meshed well with coach Andy Murray's incredibly disciplined coaching.
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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.