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Red Wings prospect news: Griffins win, Walleye lose, Mantha and Athanasiou rack up points

Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news:

The Grand Rapids Griffins have been struggling mightily of late, but they took a step toward righting their ship on Saturday evening, rebounding from Friday's 4-2 loss to Oklahoma City by squeaking out a 4-3 victory on Saturday evening, splitting their home-and-still-at-home series against Oklahoma City.

The Griffins' website provides a recap...

Mitch Callahan scored a pair of power play goals and Adam Almquist chipped in three assists to lift the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-3 victory over the Oklahoma City Barons on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.

The Griffins (31-17-2-3) broke a six-game winless streak at home with their first win in friendly territory since Jan. 17, while avenging Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Barons and maintaining their first-place status in the Midwest Division by one point over the Chicago Wolves.

Grand Rapids will complete a rare home three-in-three on Sunday by hosting the Milwaukee Admirals at 5 p.m.

The scoring started just 18 seconds into the game when Oklahoma City’s C.J. Stretch deflected David Musil’s shot from the point, bouncing the puck past Petr Mrazek. It marked the fastest goal surrendered by Grand Rapids in a game this season.

The Griffins forged a short-lived tie on Callahan’s team-high 20th tally of the season at 7:02, as he set up in front of the Barons’ net and redirected Calle Jarnkrok’s shot through Richard Bachman. But Oklahoma City jumped right back on top at 8:30 when Mark Arcobello’s centering feed from the left boards was tipped home from the doorstep by a hard-charging Steve Pinizzotto.

Grand Rapids notched the only two goals of the second period to carry a 3-2 advantage into the final 20 minutes. Callahan scored his second power play tally at the 9:32 mark, backhanding a rebound into a gaping cage, before Trevor Parkes gave the Griffins their first lead by deflecting Almquist’s point shot at 12:36.

Arcobello netted the equalizer for the Barons 7:45 into the third period, launching a straight-on shot from just inside the blue line that eluded Mrazek’s glove.

With 7:40 remaining, Callahan took off down the ice on a shorthanded breakaway attempt, trying to secure his second hat trick of the season, but Bachman denied him with a left pad save to keep it a 3-3 game. However, less than a minute later and soon after the Griffins’ penalty expired, Cory Emmerton one-timed a shot into the top left corner of the net from the high slot to again put Grand Rapids up by one goal.

After pulling Bachman for an extra attacker with 90 seconds left, the Barons (23-23-1-6) held the puck in the Griffins’ zone for the next minute but could not get a good scoring chance on Mrazek, despite Jeff Hoggan having to defend the 6-on-5 attack without a lost stick.

Mrazek finished with 36 saves and earned the 35th victory of his Griffins career, tying Pokey Reddick for eighth on the franchise’s all-time list. Bachman answered with 33 stops for the Barons.

For the first time since Dec. 7 against Rochester, the Griffins scored multiple power play goals and enjoyed a perfect penalty-killing performance, as they converted two of their eight opportunities and kept Oklahoma City scoreless in five tries.
Three Stars: 1. GR Callahan (two power play goals); 2. GR Almquist (three assists); 3. GR Jarnkrok (two assists)

As well as a Flickr photo gallery and a slate of highlights and interviews:

In the ECHL, regrettably, the Toledo Walleye continue to struggle like nobody's business. Jared Coreau was at least on the bench during the Walleye's 4-3 loss to Orlando on Saturday night, and while nobody's paying attention, Richard Nedomlel is having a superb rookie season in the ECHL.

He finished at +1 on the night and took 3 shots, and given the Walleye's struggles and/or his status as a stay-at-home defenseman, the 6'4," 225-pound behemoth's stats--7 goals, 6 assists, 13 points and a -5 in 39 games played--are downright stirling for a big guy slowly finding his way in pro hockey.

Anyway, the Walleye's website posted a game recap...

Record tying crowd of 8,250 watched the Walleye fall to Orlando 4-3 on Saturday night at the Huntington Center. Toledo has an overall record of 16-31-3-1 and is 9-14-0-0 at home. The 8,250 ties the All-Time single game attendance that was set on October 15, 2011.

Toledo took an early lead with a Bobby Shea goal just 28 seconds into the first period, his second goal of the season. Orlando would score to tie the game at one at 19:17 of the period.

“Tonight was a lot about the great fans in Toledo,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “There is a reason why this one of best hockey cities ever, the support is just amazing. As far the game we played well against one of the best teams in the ECHL, it’s a shame we couldn’t win this one for the fans.”

Aaron Clarke would score his first of two goals on the night at 13:47 of the second period to put the Walleye in front 2-1. Orlando would tie the game at 7:40 of the third period. The Solar Bears would score their second goal of the third period from Tyler Matson at 11:54 to put Orlando in front 3-2.

Clarke would score his 16th goal of the season at 15:20 of the third period to even the game at three. Matson would strike with just 1:44 left in the third period to win the game for Orlando.

Walleye Notes: Goaltender Mac Carruth made 35 saves on 39 shots in net for Toledo. Carruth has a record 8-14-0-0 on the season.

And the Toledo Blade's Rachel Lenzi reports that the Walleye...Kind of made some strides as a team:

The Toledo Walleye were about 12 minutes from ending a dubious stretch of hockey. Taylor Matson made the Walleye wait a little longer to reach that goal.

Matson scored a pair of third-period goals, including the game-winner with 1:44 left in the third period, to lift Orlando to a 4-3 win over Toledo. Matson’s game-winner Saturday at Huntington Center spoiled Aaron Clarke’s two-goal effort and handed the Walleye their eighth straight loss.

“I think we were working hard and working smart,” Clarke said of the third. “That goal, whether it was a bad bounce or there was some lost coverage, it’s not one guy’s fault but we’ve got to take care of the d-zone in the last four minutes, myself included. I was responsible out there, and he got a puck and beat us to the net.”


The Walleye struggled to create scoring chances on the power play and finished 0 for 5 against Orlando.

“We couldn’t generate, even to get set up,” Walleye coach Nick Vitucci said. “They pressured us so much, all over the ice and it was really the first time we’ve seen that. We tried making some changes during the game just to try to get us easier entry so we could set up, but they squashed everything we did.”




Elsewhere, in Major Junior hockey, in the QMJHL, Phillipe Hudon didn't register a point and finished at -2 in the Victoriaville Tigres' 5-4 shootout loss to Baie-Comeau;

In happier news, Anthony Mantha had 3 assists as his Val-d'Or Foreurs blew out the Moncton Wildcats 11-2, and Mantha's trio of helpers give him 50 goals, 55 assists and 105 points registered over the course of 49 games played;

In the OHL, the shot-surrender-happy Saginaw Spirit gave up 36 to the Owen Sound Attack and Zach Nastasiuk, who didn't register a point in his team's 5-2 loss, but Jake Paterson sat on the bench instead of being peppered;

Andreas Athanasiou got back on the scoring train, registering 2 assists in the Barrie Colts' 2-1 win over Sudbury, and Athanasiou now has 41 goals, 41 assists and 82 points registered over the course of 52 games played;

In the WHL, Marc McNulty registered an assist as his Prince George Cougars defeated Mitchell Wheaton's Kelowna Rockets 2-1, and Wheaton was held off the scoresheet;

And in the BCHL, David Pope scored 2 goals in the West Kelowna Warriors' 5-2 win over Trail.



In NCAA hockey, James de Haas didn't register a point as his Clarkson Golden Knights earned the rarest of hockey results--a 2-2 tie with Rensselaer;

And with alumnus Danny DeKeyser on hand to raise funds for Duchene Muscular Dystrophy research, the Western Michigan University Broncos defeated the University of Nebraska Omaha 5-3, and Mike McKee actually played in the game, finishing at -1.

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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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