Updated 7x at 1:57 AM with recaps and video: Of note from the Grand Rapids Griffins’ 6-3 loss to the Manitoba Moose, or the post-game media availability thereof:
Dennis Cholowski was his thoughtful, studious self after the game, but Cholowski was also ready and able to admit that the difference between the WHL playoffs and the AHL playoffs was not that big of a battle this time, and he felt that he played well–which he did:
When a European player has a difficult game, his English gets, to use Pavel Datsyuk’s term, “short,” and Filip Hronek got in a fight, got a ten-minute misconduct, and got a talking-to from captain Matt Ford while sitting in the penalty box for another infraction, so Hronek was suddenly quite short on English language comprehension. The truth of the matter is that the Moose successfully targeted a player that, as Griffins coach Todd Nelson suggested, does instigate from time to time, and Hronek was not happy about it:
Ben Street was all specifics, on the other hand, in an easy two-minute interview, addressing the dislike the teams have for each other, the fact that the Griffins did not generate enough offensive chances, and he spoke about the need to bring it from roster stem to Toledo Walleye-employed stern in Game 4:
Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson was honest–he was unhappy with his team’s effort, and felt that the Griffins needed to do what Street suggested, put more pucks in goaltender Eric Comrie’s feet instead of sending single, un-screened, un-tipped and un-pursued shots into Comrie’s Manitoba Moose crest. Nelson felt that the lack of rest between games should not be an issue when elimination is on the line, and he would not tip his hand as to which goalie he would start on Thursday:
Update: This might as well be my recap hub. Here’s the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner’s recap:
An early two-goal deficit proved too much for the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday in a chippy Game 3 loss to the Manitoba Moose in the Central Division Semifinals.
The Moose scored twice in the opening 8:25, added two more in the second and, despite facing 48 shots, rolled to a 6-3 win to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.
The teams meet again 7 p.m. Thursday for Game 4. If necessary, Game 5 would be 7 p.m. Monday at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins got goals from Ben Street in the first and Eric Tangradi and Zach Nastasiuk in the second in a game that started off with a bang – 12 penalties for 68 minutes and a number of fights in the first period.
“For whatever reasons, tonight we didn’t play a smart hockey game,” said coach Todd Nelson. “We were doing things we don’t normally do and I don’t know how they crept into our game tonight.”
The Griffins also had a different look. They were without injured center Axel Holmstrom and suspended penalty killer Colin Campell up front, and the seven defensemen included the season debut of Dennis Cholowski, the Red Wings’ No. 1 pick in 2016, and the pro debut of Marcus Crawford.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan filed a cursory recap…
Chase De Leo had a goal and three assists to lead the Manitoba Moose in a 6-3 Game 3 victory over the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday at Van Andel Arena, taking a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five AHL Central Division playoff series.
The Moose can close the series with a win against the defending Calder Cup champions Thursday in Game 4 at Van Andel Arena. Faceoff is 7 p.m.
Goals by Mike Sgarbossa and Nic Petan (power play) staked Manitoba to a 2-0 first-period lead before Ben Streets replied for Grand Rapids at 15:28.
Manitoba’s Sami Niku scored 1:05 into the second, which prompted the Griffins to replace starting goalie Tom McCollum (3 goals on 11 shots) with Jared Coreau
Two Manitoba goals were empty-netters as the Grand Rapids pulled the Coreau for an extra attacker in final two minutes. Coreau finished and stopped 11 of 12 shots.
Eric Tangradi and Zach Nastasiuk also scored for the Griffins.
Update #2: Here’s the Griffins’ highlight clip:
Filip Hronek didn’t have anything more than a minor penalty in his 67 regular-season games and is a pretty good agitator in the eyes of Grand Rapids Griffins coach Todd Nelson.
“If you didn’t see him at it it’s because he’s really good at it,” Nelson said.
It was out there Wednesday against Manitoba.
The rookie defenseman fought twice, wanted to go on a third occasion and picked up 12 minutes in the box as the teams went at each other hard early on in the Griffins’ 6-3 loss Wednesday.
The physical play came with positives and negatives.
“I like the emotion but I don’t like the tradeoff,” Nelson said. “I’d rather see him on the ice.”
He added: “(Hronek) has to pick his spots better. We’re trying to play catchup and he’s one of our more offensive guys on the ice. You have to give them credit. It’s playoff hockey. You have to play the game within the game.”
And the Griffins have posted a 15:01 interview clip:
Calder Cup Playoffs – Central Division Semifinals – Game 3 – Manitoba Leads Series, 2-1
Manitoba Moose 6 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3
April 25, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Despite being outshot 48-25 on Wednesday, the Manitoba Moose managed to do what no other opponent could accomplish during the Grand Rapids Griffins’ march to the 2017 Calder Cup: win a game at Van Andel Arena.
Aided by a pair of empty-net goals in the closing minutes, the opportunistic Moose claimed a 6-3 win in Game 3 of the Central Division Semifinals, seizing a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series and snapping the Griffins’ 10-game home-ice winning streak during the playoffs that began during last spring’s first round.
Manitoba, whose 54 road points (25-9-2-2) during the regular season ranked second to only Toronto, will have a chance to end the defending champs’ reign on Thursday when the Griffins host Game 4 at 7 p.m. Since the start of Grand Rapids’ six-year playoff run in 2013, the Griffins are 6-1 when facing elimination at Van Andel Arena.
The Moose capitalized off a turnover in the Griffins’ zone to strike first 4:16 into the opening period. Tom McCollum stopped the initial shot by Chase De Leo from low in the left circle, but a crashing Mike Sgarbossa popped home the rebound as Manitoba grabbed the 1-0 lead for the second straight game.
Nic Petan scored during a power play 4:09 later, hammering a one-timer from the right faceoff dot to stake the Moose to their first two-goal lead of the series despite Grand Rapids’ 11-5 shot advantage to that point.
Dan Renouf injected some life into the Griffins with less than five minutes remaining in the frame, objecting to JC Lipon’s late hit on Evgeny Svechnikov along the left boards by fighting the Moose winger and wrestling him to the ice, much to the delight of the robust weeknight crowd of 7,448.
The Griffins needed only 14 seconds to convert that energy into their own power play goal. Matthew Ford’s blast from the point and Eric Tangradi’s follow-up chance from just outside the crease were both denied by Eric Comrie, but Ben Street buried the rebound from the bottom of the right circle at 15:28, sparking a melee that eventually involved every skater on the ice and required two minutes for the combatants to be fully separated. When the dust settled, Ford and Filip Hronek received 10-minute misconduct penalties, as did Manitoba’s Patrice Cormier, Peter Stoykewych and Michael Spacek, who was also ejected for leaving the penalty box to rejoin the fray.
Each team scored twice before the second period was five minutes old. Sixty-five ticks into the stanza, Sami Niku’s shot from the top of the right circle slipped past McCollum just three seconds after a penalty to Tangradi expired, giving the Moose a 3-1 advantage and summoning Jared Coreau into the game to replace McCollum.
Tangradi made amends in short order, getting a step on his defender off a slick pass from Matt Puempel and beating Comrie top shelf from the doorstep at 1:43 to make it a 3-2 game.
The teams quickly exchanged goals yet again in the frenetic frame, with Skyler McKenzie tallying off a backdoor feed from Julian Melchiori at 2:26 to snap Coreau’s shutout streak against the Moose this season at 136:37. But Zach Nastasiuk answered for Grand Rapids at 4:49, winning a race to tap home a loose puck in the crease after Corey Elkins’ try had bounced off the right post, pulling the Griffins within one at 4-3.
A scoring reprieve ensued, with the final 15:11 of the second period and first 18:02 of the third transpiring without a goal, until De Leo tallied into an empty net to make it 5-3 just 10 seconds after Coreau went to the bench for an extra attacker. Brendan Lemieux added another empty-netter with seven seconds remaining.
Comrie finished with 45 saves to earn his first win in six lifetime decisions at Van Andel Arena. Coreau was saddled with the loss despite stopping 11 of 12, while McCollum turned aside eight of 11 in the no-decision.
Notes: The Griffins are 1-1 all time in best-of-five series when trailing 1-2, most recently rallying from 0-2 to take three straight home wins and defeat Toronto in the 2015 Western Conference Quarterfinals…Defenseman Dennis Cholowski, Detroit’s first pick (20th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, made his playoff debut with the Griffins, registering one shot on goal…In addition to missing Matt Lorito and Dominic Turgeon, both of whom are out for the season with injuries, the Griffins played without Axel Holmstrom (injured in Game 2) and Colin Campbell (one-game suspension)…Tonight’s attendance of 7,448 marked the second–largest crowd of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs to date (7,996 – Texas at Ontario on April 22).
Three Stars: 1. MB Niku (goal, assist); 2. MB Sgarbossa (goal, assist); 3. GR Street (power play goal, assist)
The Griffins also posted a 69-image photo gallery.
Update #7: Here’s Fox 17’s highlight clip…