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Red Wings prospect news: Mantha advances, Athanasiou eliminated, Walleye’s season ends, Griffins win

The Red Wings' prospects had some good games and some bad games on Sunday, and one of the Wings' prospects was eliminated from playoff contention.

In playoff hockey, in the QMJHL, Anthony Mantha was held off the scoresheet, but his Val-d'Or Foreurs defeated Drummondville 3-2, winning their second-round series 4 games to 2 and advancing to the QMJHL semifinals.

The Foreurs will play the defending QMJHL champions, the Halifax Mooseheads, in one of the 2 QMJHL semifinals (they only have one conference's worth of teams), and while Mantha hasn't registered points in every game, he still has 10 goals and 5 assists for 15 points in 10 playoff games played.

In the OHL, Sunday afternoon did not go so well for Andreas Athanasiou. He was held off the scoresheet as his Barrie Colts lost a 4-2 decision to North Bay, losing their second-round playoff series 4 games to 2. The 19-year-old Athanasiou registered 3 goals and 9 assists for 12 points in 11 playoff games played, and he'll most likely join the Griffins' playoff push.

There are now 4 total Wings prospects active in playoff hockey: Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm will battle the Erie Otters in the OHL's Western Conference final, starting on Thursday;

Marek Tvrdon and Mitchell Wheaton's Kelowna Rockets will battle the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Conference final, starting on Friday.

In regular-season play, the ECHL's Toledo Walleye closed out a disastrous 2013-2014 campaign the way they started it--with a loss. Jared Coreau mercifully sat out the Walleye's 4-1 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones, the team that beat Toledo in last year's playoffs, and Richard Nedomlel's downhill slide continued--he finished at -2 with the following rap sheet:

3 - TOL Nedomlel, 5:30 - Roughing - minor, (51.2) 2 min (PP)
3 - CIN Hazen, 17:39 - Slashing - minor, (61.2) 2 min
3 - TOL Nedomlel, 17:39 - Unsportsmanlike conduct - minor, (75.2) 2 min
3 - TOL Nedomlel, 17:39 - Misconduct - Unsportsmanlike Conduct, (75.4) 10 min

The Walleye's website posited a recap...

Toledo’s Season Ends with a 4-1 Loss to Cincinnati

(Toledo, OH)  Forward Kyle Rogers scored for the Walleye but Toledo fell in the season finale 4-1 to Cincinnati Sunday evening at the Huntington Center. Toledo finished with an overall record of 21-44-4-3 and is 11-23-1-1 at home.

The Cyclones would jump in front 1-0 at 4:33 of the second period when Jonathan Hazen beat goaltender Hannu Toivonen with a wrist shot. Toledo’s Kyle Rogers slammed in his 15th goal of the season at 9:40 of the second period to tie the game at one. Cincinnati would regain the lead before the period would come to a close.

“I was very proud of how hard this group worked over the last 21 games,” said Head Coach Dan Watson. “We played tough all season long, just came up short tonight.”

The Cyclones would strike twice in the third period to open up a three goal lead. The Walleye were never able to mount a comeback as they were out shot in the game 35-22.

Walleye Notes:  Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 31 saves on 35 shots on goal. Toivonen finished with a record of 12-17-1-0 on the season. Toledo finished the season 4-6-1 vs. Cincinnati. The Walleye also finished the year with a total attendance mark of 216,797.

And the Toledo Blade also filed a staff recap:

The Walleye's brutal season came to end with yet another loss as Toledo fell 4-1 to Cincinnati today.

The team finished the season with seven consecutive losses. Captain Kyle Rogers scored Toledo's only goal in the season finale before a crowd of 4,599 at the Huntington Center.

Goalie Hannu Toivonen (12-17-1) finished with 31 saves.

...

Toledo finishes the season with a 21-44-7 record and missed the playoffs for the third time in five seasons. The Walleye had a 11-23-2 record at home where a total of 216,797 attended the 36 games.

The undermanned Grand Rapids Griffins will receive reinforcements in Coreau and Nedomlel, but we don't know what the Wings will do with Sproul and Ouellet--the Griffins still have another weeks worth of regular-season play ahead of them, and they are the defending Calder Cup Champions.

On Sunday, the Griffins did just fine without Sproul, Ouellet and Mrazek: Tom McCollum stopped 35 shots as the Griffins took a 2-1 decision from the Charlotte Checkers.

I don't normally do this, but we're going to start with the Checkers website's recap because Paul Branecky reports that the Griffins put a significant ding in the Checkers' playoff hopes:

If the Checkers end up missing the playoffs, Tom McCollum will have been a big reason.

The Grand Rapids Griffins goaltender put forth an outstanding 35-save effort to hand Charlotte a 2-1 defeat at Time Warner Cable Arena and keep it from acquiring precious points in the third-to-last game of its regular season. Philippe Cornet scored the Checkers’ only goal in their Time Warner Cable Arena finale, with John Muse making 25 saves for the home team.

With the loss, the Checkers drop from ninth to 10th in the Western Conference and could potentially finish the day as low as 11th based on results from around the league. They remain a single point out of eighth place, though all of their key rivals – a group that includes Rochester, Oklahoma City, Rockford and Utica, have at least one game in hand that they will play while the Checkers wait to conclude their slate with a pair of road games on Friday and Saturday.

That small margin of error made Sunday’s loss tough to swallow by any measure. That they did everything in their power to change that and still came up empty only magnified that disappointment.

“The whole game we did everything we could but put the puck in the net,” said coach Jeff Daniels. “It’s disappointing because I thought the effort was there and the guys gave everything they had.”

The Checkers' website posted a photo gallery from the game, as did the Griffins' website, which posited the following recap:

A 35-save performance by goaltender Tom McCollum helped the Grand Rapids Griffins fend off the Charlotte Checkers, 2-1, on Sunday at The Time Warner Cable Arena.

In its hunt for a playoff berth, Charlotte (37-34-1-2) entered the game tied at 77 points with both the Rockford IceHogs and Oklahoma City Barons for the eighth Western Conference playoff spot. With only two games remaining on their schedule, the Checkers’ loss all but extinguishes their playoff chances. After today’s loss to the Griffins, Rockford has one game in hand to Charlotte, while Oklahoma City has two.

Now two points shy of the century mark, Grand Rapids (46-22-2-4) would clinch the Midwest Division title with a Chicago Wolves regulation loss to the IceHogs tonight.

Chicago defeated Rockford 4-2, so that Midwest Division title will have to wait.

The Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena for their regular season home finale against the Lake Erie Monsters on Friday, before closing out their 76-game schedule with a rematch against Lake Erie on Saturday. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.

At 13:51 of the first period, Charlotte’s Philippe Cornet scooped up Matthew Corrente’s rebound and swiftly put the puck past McCollum, who was still sprawled on the ice from the initial save, to put the Checkers up 1-0.

The Griffins finally solved Checkers netminder John Muse at 19:21 of the first frame, when Cory Emmerton hammered in a loose puck on the right doorstep for a power play tally to even the score, 1-1. Muse earned shutouts in both of his previous two appearances against Grand Rapids this season, rendering the Griffins scoreless for an impressive 139:21 until Emmerton’s goal.

Trevor Parkes cracked Muse for the game-winner at 11:05 of the second period by flicking Nathan Paetsch’s rebound over the goaltender’s shoulder, giving the Griffins a 2-1 lead.

Deep in the second, Paetsch rifled the puck into Muse’s wide-open cage, but the goal was called off due to goaltender interference by Landon Ferraro. Tangling with Charlotte in front of the net, Ferraro was nudged by Mark Flood and fell on top of Muse just before Paetsch’s shot.

A scoreless third period had its fair share of action, as McCollum turned away all 14 of the Checkers’ shots. The Griffins only managed to toss the puck at Muse five times before he was pulled in the final moments of the game in favor of an extra attacker. A last-minute blasting of the Grand Rapids net nearly saw the Checkers tie the game, but a sturdy McCollum diffused all of Charlotte’s attacks for the victory.

McCollum earned first-star honors with 35 saves, and Muse finished with 25.

Notes:  Defenseman Ryan Sproul made his NHL debut with Detroit this afternoon, becoming the 145th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL. 16 former Griffins were on Detroit’s roster in its 3-0 road victory over the St. Louis Blues. Petr Mrazek earned a 23-save shutout in the Wings’ final regular season game, his second shutout for the club in 11 career NHL games.

Three Stars: 1. GR McCollum (W, 35 saves); 2. GR Emmerton (goal); 3. CHA Cornet (goal)

 

Update: Here's a Walleye recap from the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe:

The Walleye were playing their third game in as many nights after a road game in Fort Wayne on Saturday.

“Maybe the energy level wasn't quite what we hoped for,” Watson said. “But Cincinnati did a great job of buckling down defensively and created a lot of turnovers.”

Toivonen, a former NHL goalie who signed with the team in November, will play next season in his home country of Finland.

“He played extremely well,” Watson said. “I just I wish it could have ended differently for him tonight. But overall through the course of the year, he's been a very good goaltender.”

Toivonen, who was in net for 12 of the Walleye's 21 wins, said he appreciated the fan support.

“It's a great help for us on home ice,” Toivonen said. “It gets you up for the game. Toledo is a hard-working town. We're proud the town has supported us.”

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Comments

Hootinani's avatar

Whatever the AHL equivalent to the Jack Adams is, Blashil has earned it, and then some.

Posted by Hootinani on 04/14/14 at 10:21 AM 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.