Grand Rapids Griffins take Game 2 vs. Manitoba, winning 5-1; the series is tied 1-1

Updated 7x at 10:33 PM: The Grand Rapids Griffins attempted to even their series against the Manitoba Moose at 1 game apiece on Sunday afternoon.

The Griffins were hoping that history would be on their side…

And history, plus a tremendous first period, yielded a 5-1 victory for the Griffins, who tied the best-of-five series at 1 game apiece. The teams will play again on Wednesday and Thursday in Grand Rapids (both 7 PM EDT starts).

Both Ben Street and Matthew Ford posted a goal and 2 assists, Eric Tangradi, Turner Elson and Evgeny Svechnikov also scored, and Tom McCollum stopped 21 of 22 shots.

1st period: The Griffins stuck with their lineup from Game 1, though their lines were switched up by Griffins coach Todd Nelson, and Tom McCollum started opposite Eric Comrie in goal:

McCollum had to stop an early flurry of Moose shots, and the result of the Griffins’ slow start was not a positive one:

Francis Beauvillier scored at 2:43 from Cam Maclise and Michael Spacek, on the rebound of a wraparound shot on McCollum, who could not corral the puck.

Manitoba had a 5-1 shot lead over the course of the first 2:43 of the game, which ain’t good. The Griffins continued to struggle against the Moose’s pressure.

Grand Rapids got a break due to an undisciplined play by Nelson Nogier yielded an interference call…

The Griffins converted on the power play, with Matt Puempel, Filip Hronek, Ben Street and Matt Ford working the puck around the perimeter, and Ford blasted the puck in off the right goalpost at 6:40.

Street and Puempel got the assists on Ford’s power play goal.

After a radio/TV timeout, the Griffins and Moose got physical, and Manitoba continued to disrupt the Griffins’ game, but Grand Rapids was able to at least generate isolated scoring chances on Comrie.

Eric Tangradi, Street and Puempel were the Griffins’ most effective line, but Grand Rapids continued to face serious and sustained pressure from the Moose’s “heavy hockey”…

But Patrice Cormier decided to get rough after the whistle, and the Moose forward headed to the penalty box.

SO, 16 seconds into the power play, Tangradi took a big booming shot top shelf on Comrie, glove side, giving the Griffins a 2-1 lead:

Tangradi from Ford and Street (PPG) @ 11:33.

Grand Rapids rode some momentum from their power play and they converted said momentum into another goal by Turner Elson, who scored on a screened shot from Hicketts:

Elson scored from Hicketts and Ford at 13:08 of the 1st period.

Grand Rapids played a little too fast and loose, however…

Eric Tangradi left the ice for slashing.

Grand Rapids got away with the call, but needed to work on their discipline.

Grand Rapids got a little physical with the Moose, and Luke Esposito got tagged for hooking JC Lipon:

The Griffins killed the penalty, and Dylan McIlrath held his temper when Mason Appleton got him in the nuts:

The Griffins’ decision to shift their lines and stay focused and on task, which paid off in the form of both consecutive penalty-kills and a 4-1 goal:

Street scored at 18:56 from Moose defender Peter Stoykewych:

Brendan Lemieux got hammered by Corey Elkins as well, with Bob Kaser reporting that Lemieux’s attempt to run Elkins over yielded a heavy check, and the first period ended with Grand Rapids on top 4-1.

Grand Rapids was out-shot 11-10 in the 1st period, but Grand Rapids scored on 4 of 10 shots, and went 2-for-2 on the power play. The Griffins’ four goals came in 12:16 of playing time.

2nd period: The Griffins earned a power play thanks to a Nic Petan penalty very early in the 2nd period…

Ford, Tangradi, Street, Puempel and Hronek headed out for the power play, they were parried away by the Moose, and then they entered the Moose zone, worked the perimeter, and got a couple of shots off on Comrie, but the Moose’s goaltender held the fort.

Grand Rapids continued to pressure the Moose after the power play expired, with the Griffins rolling four lines offensively and ensuring that the Moose received no room to operate in the Griffins’ end of the ice.

When McCollum did have to face Moose shots, he was steady.

Things slowed down slightly as the game’s halfway mark approached, but the Griffins remained dedicated to detail-oriented hockey, and Grand Rapids had no problem putting the Moose asleep.

Manitoba tried to generate chances, but the Griffins disrupted Manitoba’s play as the halfway mark passed…

But the Griffins gave the Moose a man advantage situation, too, because Colin Campbell sat for a check to the head at 10:06:

The Griffins killed the penalty, and the Griffins did their best to hit cruise control:

Cruise control, indeed:

Svechnikov and Tangradi attacked the Moose’s net, Svechnikov slid a sneaky shot under Comrie’s pad, he followed the shot, and poked the puck into the net.

Svechnikov scored from Axel Holmstrom and Dan Renouf at 13:24.


Manitoba laid the physical boom down on the Griffins after the Svechnikov goal, and they attacked Tom McCollum with everything they had as the 15-minute mark passed, both during and after play:

Grand Rapids wasn’t in the mood for shenanigans:

Zach Nastasiuk was stifled by Comrie on a point-blank shot.

Dylan McIlrath was jawed at by Patrice Cormier as the 2nd started to wind down, but nothing came of it, and the 2nd period expired without incident.

3rd period: A radio outage and a Moose Twitter account not interested in covering the minutae of the game yielded this…

And a note from Bob Kaser that Manitoba Moose back-up Jamie Phillips had replaced Eric Comrie to start the 3rd period.

Not so much happened on the Griffins’ power play…

And, while Grand Rapids’ radio feed went down again…

The Griffins killed the penalty by applying some pressure on the Moose, and Grand Rapids actually staked out a 4-0 shot lead over the first 6 minutes of play.

Brendan Lemieux, son of Claude, and Cormier went after the Griffins some 7:30 into the 3rd, and Lemieux punched Hicketts in the face, and Dan Renouf stepped in to help:

The Griffins did indeed receive a power play as Lemieux got 2, 2 and 10, Patrice Cormier got a 10-minute misconduct, and Renouf got 2-and-10.

The power play did not generate any more goals for the Griffins, but it killed time, and that’s essential for a team that wants to get home not only tied in the best-of-five series, but also relatively healthy.

The Griffins did their best to keep the game quiet, but the Moose seemed to have placed a target on Joe Hicketts, and Francis Beauvillier headed to the box for high-sticking at 11:59.

Grand Rapids then suffered an injury they can’t really withstand as Axel Holmstrom had to leave the ice groggily after a collision with Buddy Robinson:

The penalty hit at 13:32, and Grand Rapids headed to the power play for almost the balance of the game.

Jamie Phillips was superb in relief of Eric Comrie in the Moose goal, so the Griffins couldn’t or wouldn’t generate much of anything.

Mostly, they used their power play to work hard, establish some good habits and then kill clock.

They were given a hand by Appleton:

Needless to say, when this kind of stuff happens in the AHL, I start worrying that the next game will be a free-for-all as even-ups tend to transfer from game to game.

Grand Rapids earned their big win and shut the Moose down in every aspect. Ultimately, Grand Rapids out-shot Manitoba 39-22.

I’ll post more as the Griffins and other media sources post their recaps!

Update #1: Here’s the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner’s recap:

The Griffins yielded a goal to Francis Beauvillier three minutes in and then took off with three goals within 6:28 and four on nine shots overall in the period.

Matt Ford and Eric Tangradi each scored with a man advantage to give the Griffins the lead, then Turner Elson got his second of the playoffs, as did Ben Street on a breakaway in the final minute for a 4-1 lead.

Street and Ford each had a goal and two assists in the first 20 minutes.

Besides the two power play goals, the Griffins also stopped both Manitoba advantages in the first, part of a solid performance overall from special team. Manitoba was 0 for 4.

The Griffins, who led 1-0 after the first period in the series opener, thrived in the opening period In the regular season. Their plus-25 goal advantage (69-44) was best in the league.

In the past five games, the Griffins have outscored opponents in the first, 11-1.

Wallner continues

Update #2: Here’s the Winnipeg Sun’s Ted Wyman’s initial recap:

The Manitoba Moose got into big-time penalty trouble on Sunday and the Grand Rapids Griffins took full advantage.

The Griffins had eight power plays and scored twice with the man-advantage en route to a 5-1 over the Moose in Game 2 of their AHL first-round playoff series at Bell MTS Place.

The best-of-five is now tied 1-1, with Games 3, 4 and 5 slated for Grand Rapids, Mich., Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday next week.

The Moose beat the Griffins 3-2 on Saturday afternoon, overcoming a hot start by the visitors, but they couldn’t do it again on Sunday.

The Griffins scored four goals on 10 shots in the first period and added another in the second, chasing Moose goalie Eric Comrie from the game. Jamie Phillips mopped up in the third and made 15 saves for the Moose.

Ben Street had a goal and two assists to lead the way for the Griffins, while former Winnipeg Jet Eric Tangradi also scored. Turner Elson, Evgeny Svechnikov and Matthew Ford had the other goals for the Griffins.

Tom McCollum faced just 22 shots in goal for Grand Rapids and gave up just the one goal, to Moose winger Francis Beauvillier.

Update #3: Here’s a bit more from Wallner:

After the two early goals, “I thought our guys settled in and played a very strong game,” coach Todd Nelson said. “It was a physical game, an emotional game and a great response from the players.”

Besides the two power play goals, the Griffins also stopped both Manitoba advantages in the first, part of a solid performance overall from special team. Manitoba was 0 for 4.

“I thought we got the response we wanted tonight,” Ford said. “… I don’t think we left anything to chance. They came out hard, got the first one, but we responded and we weren’t going to be denied tonight.”

Update #4: Illegal Curve posted a recap which includes audio comments from Patrice Cormier, Francis Beauvillier and coach Pascal Vincent.

Update #5: The Moose’s website posted a highlight clip…

As well as comments from Cormier, Beauvillier and coach Vincent.

Update #6: The Grand Rapids Griffins’ website posted a recap:


Calder Cup Playoffs – Central Division Semifinals – Game 2 – Series Tied, 1-1

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Manitoba Moose 1

April 22, 2018

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – On the strength of three-point first periods by Matthew Ford and Ben Street, the Grand Rapids Griffins rebounded from their series-opening defeat to even the Central Division Semifinals with a resounding 5-1 victory over the Manitoba Moose in Game 2 on Sunday at Bell MTS Place.

After earning a road split, the defending Calder Cup champions will host as many as three straight games to conclude the best-of-five series, starting with Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Thursday at Van Andel Arena. Game time each night is 7 p.m.

Mirroring the Griffins’ fast start from Game 1, the Moose fired six of the first seven shots and tallied the contest’s first goal just 2:43 into the opening period. Cam Maclise circled behind the Grand Rapids net and was denied by Tom McCollum as he tried to stuff a backhand inside the right post, but Francis Beauvillier jammed the rebound beneath McCollum’s left pad.

Undaunted, the Griffins would soon score three goals in a span of 6:28 to seize a 3-1 advantage, with Ford factoring substantially in each one and the first two coming during power plays. Ford put Grand Rapids on the board at 6:40, taking Street’s feed from the right corner and snapping a shot off the right post and in from just above the hashmarks.

Eric Tangradi staked the Griffins to the lead at the 11:33 mark, going top shelf on Eric Comrie from below the left circle off Ford’s pass from the end boards. Less than two minutes later, Ford won a draw in the right circle then made a beeline to the slot to screen Comrie, who never saw Turner Elson’s wrist shot from the top of the right circle as it sailed into his net at 13:08.

Following a solid penalty kill by the Griffins that featured two blocked shots by Brian Lashoff, Street added the cherry to the period’s sundae by scoring on a breakaway at 18:56 to make it a 4-1 contest. Peter Stoykewych misplayed the puck at the Grand Rapids blue line and Street was off to the races, chipping a backhand over Comrie’s glove to give the visitors a three-goal cushion despite being outshot 11-10 during the frame.

Elson and Street both scored in Game 1 as well, giving each forward a pair of goals in the series.

Evgeny Svechnikov increased the margin to four with 6:36 remaining in the second period. His initial try from the right side off an Axel Holmstrom pass was stopped by Comrie, but Svechnikov found the puck loose behind the netminder and tapped it across the line.

Jamie Phillips replaced Comrie between the Moose pipes to start the third period and stopped all 15 shots he faced the rest of the way, but Manitoba’s chances for getting back in the game ended with 6:28 remaining, when Buddy Robinson blindsided Holmstrom along the right goal line and received a five-minute major for interference. In truth, though, any Moose hopes were doomed by the single shot they managed over the final 20 minutes, which set a Griffins playoff record for fewest shots allowed in a road period (previously three) and tied the mark for shots allowed in any period.

After being outshot 6-1 in the early going, Grand Rapids outgunned Manitoba 38-16 over the duration, as McCollum made 21 saves to notch the 13th playoff victory of his Griffins career, moving past Jimmy Howard into sole possession of third place on the team’s all-time list. Comrie, after turning aside 34 of 36 in his Game 1 win, stopped 19 of 24 in today’s loss.

Notes: The Griffins had lost seven straight playoff games to the Moose over three series, dating to Game 6 of the North Division Semifinals on April 29, 2007. It was their longest losing streak ever to a single playoff opponent…Grand Rapids owns a 1-1 record all time in best-of-five series that were tied through two games.

Three Stars: 1. GR Ford (power play goal, two assists); 2. GR Street (goal, two assists); 3. GR McCollum (W, 21 saves)

The Griffins also posted a photo gallery and a highlight clip:

Update #7: The Moose’s website posted a recap and a photo gallery;

And here’s the Canadian Press’s quick recap:

Ben Street and Matthews Ford both had a goal and two assists, and Tom McCollum made 21 saves, as the Grand Rapids Griffins leveled their first-round series at 1-1 with a 5-1 shellacking of the Manitoba Moose in AHL playoff action Sunday.

The Moose jumped out to an early 1-0 lead with a goal from Francis Beauvillier, but failed to get on the scoresheet for the remained of the game.

Turner Elson, Eric Tangradi and Evgeny Svechnikov added goals for the Griffins who dropped Game 1 on Saturday 3-2.

Eric Comrie allowed five goals on 24 shots for the Moose before being spelled by Jamie Phillips in the third period. Phillips made 15 saves.

The Griffins went 2 for 8 on the power play, while the Moose failed to score on four chances with the man advantage.

The best-of-five series switches to Grand Rapids for Game 3 on Wednesday.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

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