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Red Wings prospect news: McKee didn’t play in WMU’s GLI win; Griffins win, Walleye lose

As you probably already know that Jake Paterson will start for the Canadian World Junior team when they tangle with the Czech Republic today at 11:30 AM (on TSN; Paterson and Canadian teammate Anthony Mantha are the only Wings prospects taking part in the tournament), the Red Wings prospect whose team took part in the biggest game on Friday didn't actually play in his team's game.

Wings prospect Mike McKee (who the Kalamazoo Gazette's David Drew reports is transitioning from defense to forward) was watching from the press box as Western Michigan University defeated Michigan 3-2 in overtime at the Great Lakes Invitational, setting up a championship match-up with GLI defending champions Michigan Tech (who defeated Michigan State 3-2) at 7 PM tonight (WMU's website reports that the game will be streamed on FoxSportsDetroit.com and will be shown on tape-delay at 10 PM; the MSU-Michigan consolation game will air at 3:30 on FSD, and yes, this yields more than enough parenthetical expressoins for one entry).

WMU's website, the Free Press's George Sipple, the Kalamazoo Gazette's David Drew Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus and Michael Caples provide recaps of the WMU-MTU game; Michigan Hockey, the Free Press and the Detroit News posted photo galleries from the game;

If you're interested the Free Press's Sipple, the Detroit News's David Goricki and Michigan Hockey's Kubus and Alyssa Girardi penned recaps of the Michigan State-Michigan Tech game.




As previously noted, the Red Wings "oldest prospect" took part in the Spengler Cup on Friday, but he's not in the mood to reveal whether he's simply taking part in the Swiss tournament as CSKA Moscow's GM and as a player to simply tune up for the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown on Tuesday, or whether a certain Sergei Fedorov wants to continue playing when the KHL's regular season resumes;




Back over on this side of the pond, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins rebounded from Thursday's loss to Milwaukee while taking part in their final road game of 2013 (the Griffins will both take part in Monday's locally-televised tangle with the Toronto Marlies at Comerica Park and they'll ring in the New Year by hosting the Marlies at Van Andel Arena on New Year's Eve) by defeating the Rockford IceHogs 4-2--despite being out-shot 42-29.

The Griffins' website recounts the game's details...

A power-play goal by Calle Jarnkrok in the third period lifted the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 4-2 win over the Rockford IceHogs on Friday at the BMO Harris Bank Center.

With the win, the Griffins improved to 22-7-1-1 and extended their lead in the Midwest Division to 46 points, a position they’ve held since Nov. 3. The IceHogs (15-15-3) dropped to fourth place in the division after being passed by the Chicago Wolves.

Neither team could find the back of the net in the opening period, but a quick goal 1:06 into the second period by Cory Emmerton put Grand Rapids on the scoreboard. He skated the puck into the IceHogs’ zone, weaved in between Rockford players and snapped the puck into the upper left corner of the net from the lower left circle.

The Griffins maintained their lead until the IceHogs evened the score at 12:47. A scramble surrounded Tom McCollum’s crease, and Jared Nightingale managed to jam the loose puck past a sprawled McCollum for the tying tally.

Mitch Callahan pulled the Griffins back on top at 16:20 of the middle period. Mac Carruth cleared the puck along the boards, but Jordin Tootoo gained control of the puck before it left the Rockford zone. He dropped a pass to Callahan, who scored from the top of the right circle before Carruth could return to his net.

At 5:27 of the third period, the IceHogs once again tied the game. Garret Ross sent a cross-ice pass in the Griffins’ zone to Brandon Pirri for the top-shelf goal.

About ten minutes later at 15:58, the Griffins regained the lead and hung onto it until the end of the game. Grand Rapids was on the power play after Theo Peckham was sent off for being the third man in during a chippy exchange between Tootoo and Bobby Shea. From the blue line, Adam Almquist slid a pass to Jarnkrok, who patiently held the puck before scoring the game-winning goal on a wrist shot.

Carruth was pulled in the final minutes for an extra skater, and McCollum stood on his head after facing a flurry of shots by the IceHogs. One save resulted in Emmerton controlling the rebound and carrying the puck down the ice to score on an empty net, his second tally of the game. McCollum finished with 40 saves on 42 shots.

At the other end of the ice, Carruth stopped 26 of 29 shots.

The Griffins return to action at 5 p.m. on Dec. 30 against the Toronto Marlies for the franchise’s first-ever outdoor game. The game will take place at Comerica Park in Detroit, Mich., as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

Three Stars: 1. GR McCollum (W, 40 saves); 2. RFD Pirri (goal); 3. GR Jarnkrok (game-winning goal)

And the Griffins and IceHogs posted Flickr photo galleries.

According to the Rockford Register-Star's Reed Schreck, the Griffins' efforts left the IceHogs frustrated:

"We played well enough to win this game," said 'Hogs defenseman Jared Nightingale. "Unfortunately, we had a bad break at the end."

The Griffins took advantage of a late penalty to notch the only power-play score of the evening. The 'Hogs are winless in their last five (0-4-0-1) and dropped to 15-15-3-0. Their struggles largely have been offensive related, as they have totaled eight goals in those five outings.

The frustration was evident when only two out of 42 shots on net eluded goalie Tom McCollum.

"Our power play is God awful right now," said Rockford head coach Ted Dent, whose team went 0-for-6 Friday. "Our (last-ranked) penalty kill is God awful and we can't keep the puck out of our net."

The 'Hogs overcame a 2-1 deficit after two periods to tie it on Brandon Pirri's second score of the season at 5:27. But Grand Rapids got the game-winner on a power play by Calle Jarnkrok at 15:58. Cory Emmerton added an empty-netter at 19:27.

"They're in our division, and we keep giving them two points and that can't happen," said Pirri, who generated eight shots on goal. "We have to play better and put together a full 60 (minutes)."




In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye--who will play in particularly ugly "Christmas Sweaters" when they host the Fort Wayne Komets this evening--had a rough start to their home-and-home with Fort Wayne, dropping a 4-3 decision in which Hannu Toivonen stopped 38 of 42 shots against.

In terms of the Red Wings' representatives on the team, Marek Tvrdon was held off the scoresheet completely, and both Richard Nedomlel and Max Nicastro finished at +1.

The Walleye's website recounts the game's details:

Toledo erased a 3-0 deficit but fell 4-3 on Friday night in Fort Wayne.  Toledo has an overall record of 8-14-3-0 and is 3-9-3-0 on the road this season.

The Komets would strike first while on a five on three power play at 7:52 of the first period when Jordan Southorn ripped a blue line shot past goaltender Hannu Toivonen. Forward Mike Embach would score at 11:57 of the period to push Fort Wayne to a 2-0 lead after the first period.

“We need to play smart, simple against that team,” said Head Coach Nick Vitucci. “They got the early power play goal but our guys fought hard to get the game tied.”

Fort Wayne would go up 3-0 at 6:05 of the second period with a power play goal from Brandon Marino. Toledo would dent the scoreboard when Kyle Rogers wristed a shot through goaltender Andrey Makarov at 6:59 for his 6th goal of the season.

Toledo’s Scott Arnold would capitalize on a rebound for his 7th goal of the season at 5:35 of the third period to pull Toledo within one. Alden Hirschfeld would feed a pass to David Gilbert at 13:55 for Toledo to score a shorthanded goal to tie the game at three. Fort Wayne would unite the game at 15:24 when Scott Fleming blasted a shot through Toivonen.

Walleye Notes:  Goaltender Hannu Toivonen made 38 saves on 42 shots in net for Toledo. Toivonen has a record of 3-6-0-0 this year. Forward Emmerson Clark collected his first professional point on the Rogers goal in the second period.




And in Major Junior hockey, the OHL and QMJHL will resume play tonight, but the WHL got back to work on Friday, and two Red Wings prospects skated in post-Christmas games.

Marc McNulty had a rough night, finishing at -3 in the Prince George Cougars' ugly 8-1 loss to Victoria;

And Mitchell Wheaton had an assist and finished at +2 as his Kelowna Rockets defeated Kamloops 7-1.




Also: The Grand Rapids Griffins have released the details pertaining to their annual Great Skate:

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SYF's avatar

“Wings prospect Mike McKee (who the Kalamazoo Gazette’s David Drew reports is transitioning from defense to forward)...”

No kidding.  Whoa.  A bruising power forward/defenseman?  Like a scarier Mathieu Dandenault.

Posted by SYF from A tall cool pint of Guinness on 12/28/13 at 01:01 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Wings prospect Mike McKee (who the Kalamazoo Gazette’s David Drew reports is transitioning from defense to forward)

Very interesting. The guy is 6’5” and about 230lbs so he’d be a formidable 4th line checking winger if he can make that transition. And you just have to root for the guy because he has a face only a mother could love. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/28/13 at 01:05 PM 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.