2017 Calder Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Finals – Best of Seven
|Game 1||Sat., May 20||GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda||9 p.m.|
|Game 2||Sun., May 21||GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda||8 p.m.|
|Game 3||Wed., May 24||San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS||7 p.m.|
|Game 4||Fri., May 26||San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS||7 p.m.|
|*Game 5||Sat., May 27||San Jose Barracuda at GRIFFINS||7 p.m.|
|*Game 6||Tue., May 30||GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda||10 p.m.|
|*Game 7||Wed., May 31||GRIFFINS at San Jose Barracuda||10 p.m.|
* If necessary
All times Eastern and subject to change
All games on ESPN 96.1 FM and AHLLive.com
Setting the Stage: In the postseason for the 15th time in the franchise’s 21-year history, the Griffins have advanced to the conference finals for the third time in the last five years and for the seventh time overall. Grand Rapids will face the San Jose Barracuda, who posted the best points percentage in the Western Conference during the regular season, in the best-of-seven Western Conference Finals for the first-ever playoff meeting between the two clubs. Grand Rapids finished the season series against San Jose with a 0-1-0-1 record, falling 4-1 at Van Andel Arena on Jan. 27 and 1-0 in a shootout at the SAP Center on March 11. The Barracuda have qualified for the postseason in both years of their existence in the Bay Area after relocating from Worcester following the 2014-15 season. San Jose earned its first-ever series win with a victory in a decisive Game 5 of this season’s Pacific Division Semifinals against Stockton. The Barracuda’s berth in the Western Conference Finals marks the first time that the San Jose Sharks’ AHL affiliate has advanced to the conference finals. Grand Rapids, meanwhile, is 10-3 in playoff series over the last five years and won the 2013 Calder Cup.
How We Got Here: Entering the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs as the second seed in the Central Division, Grand Rapids swept Milwaukee in the division semifinals. The Griffins earned overtime victories in Games 1 and 3 to complete their second first-round sweep of the Admirals in as many years. Of the eight AHL division semifinal matchups, Grand Rapids was the only team to sweep. Taking on longtime rival and regular season Central Division champion Chicago in the division finals, the Griffins won three straight games to close out the round four games to one and earn their second-ever series win against the Wolves in five tries. San Jose posted a 0.699 points percentage – second-best in the AHL to only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the Eastern Conference at 0.704 – while playing 68 regular season contests. The Barracuda defeated Stockton in the Pacific Division Semifinals by scoring a shorthanded goal in overtime in the decisive Game 5. San Jose went on to reel off four straight victories and claim the division finals over the San Diego Gulls after dropping Game 1 of the series in overtime.
Start It Up: Playing one game more than the minimum this postseason, the Griffins’ 7-1 start ties the club record for the best-ever playoff start. The 2003 team opened 7-1 before losing Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals to Houston.
Playoff Facts and Figures: Grand Rapids has won 18 of its 31 total playoff series and owns a combined 86-73 record during those games, going 42-38 on home ice and 44-35 on the road. The Griffins have advanced to at least the second round of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, a run matched or surpassed only by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2005-09 and 2011-16) since the AHL’s current 16-team playoff format was adopted in 2005. In fact, Grand Rapids has also become just the second team to advance to at least the second round of the playoffs in each of the four seasons that followed a Calder Cup championship. The only other team to accomplish the feat was the Cleveland Barons, who reached the second round for five straight years after winning the cup in 1941. Despite the Griffins getting eliminated short of the Calder Cup Finals in each of the last three seasons, all three teams they lost to went on to either win the Cup (Texas in 2014 and Lake Erie in 2016) or appear in the finals (Utica in 2015).
California Love: The Western Conference Finals marks Grand Rapids’ first-ever playoff series against a team from California. In their 21-year history, the Griffins have played nine games in the regular season in the Golden State and show a 2-5-0-2 mark (see first chart). Conversely, Grand Rapids has welcomed a team from California to Van Andel Arena eight times previously and owns a 3-5 record (see second chart).
|Jan. 17, 1998||@ Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 1-6|
|Nov. 24, 1998||@ Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 3-5|
|Oct. 15, 1999||@ Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 4-5|
|Oct. 16, 1999||@ Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||W, 5-3|
|Nov. 24, 2004||@ Cincinnati Mighty Ducks*||SOW, 4-3|
|Oct. 9, 2015||@ Bakersfield Condors||L, 0-1|
|Oct. 10, 2015||@ San Diego Gulls||L, 2-4|
|March 11, 2017||@ San Jose Barracuda||SOL, 0-1|
|March 12, 2017||@ Stockton Heat||SOL, 4-5|
*Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim
|Jan. 24, 1997||vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||W, 6-1|
|Oct. 23, 1998||vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 4-5|
|March 6, 1999||vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 3-5|
|Nov. 5, 1999||vs. Long Beach Ice Dogs (IHL)||L, 1-2|
|Nov. 20, 2015||vs. San Diego Gulls||W, 7-4|
|April 16, 2016||vs. Bakersfield Condors||L, 2-3|
|Jan. 27, 2017||vs. San Jose Barracuda||L, 1-4|
|Jan. 28, 2017||vs. Stockton Heat||W, 2-1|
NHL Arenas: The SAP Center at San Jose will become the second NHL arena to host a Griffins playoff game. In its first postseason game on an NHL ice surface at the Air Canada Centre on April 27, 2006, Grand Rapids defeated Toronto 3-2 in Game 4 of the North Division Semifinals.
Against Top Seeds: The Griffins own a 2-6 series record when facing off against a No. 1 seed in the postseason. Grand Rapids earned its first win versus a top seed in the 2016 Central Division Semifinals with a sweep of the division-champion Admirals and accomplished the feat again with a 4-1 series win against the division champion Chicago Wolves in this year’s Central Division Finals. The Griffins are appearing in the conference finals for the seventh time in team history and will be matched up against a top seed for the third time (2015 vs. Utica, 2006 vs. Milwaukee).
Bags are Packed: Grand Rapids’ trek to San Jose for the Western Conference Finals marks the farthest distance the Griffins have traveled for a playoff series.
|City||Distance (in miles)||Series Result|
|San Jose, Calif.||1,947||TBD in 2017 W.C. Finals|
|Abbotsford, B.C.||1,819||3-1 W in 2014 W.C. Quarterfinals|
|Cedar Park, Texas||1,070||2-4 L in 2014 W.C. Semifinals|
|Houston, Texas||1,049||3-2 W in 2013 W.C. Quarterfinals; 3-4 L in 2003 W.C. Finals|
|Orlando, Fla.||997||2-3 L in 1997 IHL E.C. Quarterfinals; 2-4 L in 2001 IHL E.C. Finals|
Play Date: While the Griffins and Barracuda will meet for the first time ever in the postseason, the two teams’ parent clubs, the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks, have matched up five times in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with San Jose claiming three series wins. The Sharks’ first appearance in the postseason came in the 1994 conference quarterfinals against Detroit, which resulted in San Jose picking up the franchise’s initial series victory four games to three. Detroit got revenge a season later, sweeping the Sharks in the conference semifinals. The Red Wings also defeated San Jose in the 2007 conference semifinals, while the Sharks defeated Detroit in back-to-back conference semifinals in 2010 and ‘11.
NHL Experience: Eight Barracuda who have logged at least one game in the 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs also played in at least one game for the NHL’s Sharks this season. The Griffins, on the other hand, have 10 players who fit both categories.
Between the Pipes: Jared Coreau and Troy Grosenick have both played every minute in goal for the Griffins and Barracuda, respectively. Coreau has started all eight games and recorded a 2.64 goals against average while stopping 218 of 240 shots (0.908). Since entering in relief in Game 4 of the 2016 Central Division Finals versus Lake Erie and earning the win, Coreau has started each of the last 10 postseason contests. In his career, he shows a 9-3 record, a 2.51 GAA and a 0.917 save percentage. Coreau is one of only two Griffins goalies (Drew MacIntyre, 3-1) to earn twice as many playoff wins than losses. Grosenick, who led the league with 10 shutouts during the regular season, has two in 10 games during the playoffs. His most recent came in Game 5 of the Pacific Division Finals as San Jose defeated San Diego 2-0 to advance. Entering the 2017 postseason, Grosenick had played just 92 minutes total while appearing in three Calder Cup Playoff games combined between 2015 with Worcester and 2016 with San Jose.
Special Teams Breakdown: Grand Rapids and San Jose had nearly identical special teams during the regular season as the Griffins’ combined power play and penalty kill percentage stood at 107.2, compared to the Barracuda’s 107.5. The Griffins paced the league with a power play efficiency of 24.4% while San Jose finished second with a percentage of 23.8. Grand Rapids placed 11th on the penalty kill at 82.8% and San Jose tied for seventh at 83.7%. The Griffins produced 31.9% (80-251) of their goals from the power play, a league high, while San Jose relied on the power play for 28.0% of its tallies.
Reeling in Hardware: In addition to claiming the Pacific Division and Western Conference regular season championships, San Jose had three players and its head coach recognized with league awards. Goaltender Troy Grosenick was named a First Team AHL All-Star and earned the Aldege “Baz” Bastien Award as the league’s Goaltender of the Year. Grosenick paced the AHL with 10 shutouts, while ranking second in wins (30), third in goals against average (2.04) and second in save percentage (0.926). Daniel O’Regan’s 58 points led the Barracuda in scoring, led all rookie skaters in scoring and tied for 12th overall in the AHL. O’Regan garnered the Dudley “Red” Garrett award as the league’s Rookie of the Year. Defenseman Tim Heed registered 56 points, ranking fourth among league blueliners, and was named a Second Team AHL All-Star. Head coach Roy Sommer captured the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the Coach of the Year after guiding the Barracuda to the second-best points percentage in the AHL.
Sommer-Time in Grand Rapids: Oakland native Roy Sommer, who is in his 19th season as bench boss of the Sharks’ AHL affiliate, appeared in 54 games with the Grand Rapids Owls across two seasons (1977-78, 1979-80) and amassed 43 points (21-22—43). Sommer also played two seasons with the Muskegon Lumberjacks (1985-87), totaling 40 points (19-21—40) and 328 PIM in 92 games. His coaching career began as an assistant with the Lumberjacks during the 1987-88 season. Sommer also served as an assistant coach for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League for one season (1988-89). During that year, a young defenseman by the name of Todd Nelson, playing in his third full WHL campaign, racked up 59 points (14-45—59) and 72 PIM in 72 games. The 2016-17 Louis A.R. Pieri Memorial Award winner as the AHL’s coach of the year, Sommer is the league’s all-time leader in regular season wins (691) and games (1,480) by a head coach. Sommer’s head coaching duties for the Sharks’ affiliate have led him behind the bench for the AHL’s Kentucky Thoroughblades (1998-2001), Cleveland Barons (2001-06), Worcester Sharks (2006-15) and Barracuda (2015-present).
San Jose Connections: A pair of Griffins were born in California: Mitch Callahan (Whittier) and Matthew Ford (West Hills). Colin Campbell and Buddy Robinson were teammates at Lake Superior State from 2011-13. Robinson played in 62 games and Zack Stortini played in 66 games for Binghamton during the 2015-16 campaign and Mike Borkowski skated in 12 games with the Senators last season after finishing a four-year collegiate career at Colgate. Stortini played in 29 games under head coach Todd Nelson in Oklahoma City in 2010-11. Colin Blackwell, Patrick McNally and Kyle Criscuolo all played together at Harvard from 2012-15. Alex Schoenborn and Dominic Turgeon helped Portland capture the WHL Championship in 2013 and were teammates from 2012-16. Dan Kelly and Matt Lorito were teammates with the Albany Devils in 2015-16. Axel Holmstrom and Tim Heed both played with Skelleftea AIK in Sweden from 2013-16.
Pacific Division vs. Everybody Else: The Griffins dropped their pair of games against San Jose during the regular season and faced opponents from the Pacific Division a total of 12 times. Grand Rapids outscored the Western Conference’s other division 43-28 and finished with a 7-3-0-2 record including 4-0 against San Antonio, 1-0-0-1 against Stockton and 2-2 against Texas. San Jose faced teams from the Central Division a total of eight times and concluded with a 7-1 record including 4-0 against Manitoba and 1-1 against Milwaukee.
Regular Season Series Notes: Grand Rapids and San Jose met for the first time ever this season...The Griffins and Barracuda finished one-two, respectively, in power play percentage during the regular season, but in their two meetings combined to finish just 1 for 12 on the man advantage…San Jose netminder Troy Grosenick stopped 65 of 66 Griffins shots...Jared Coreau notched his 11th career shutout on March 11 as the Griffins suffered a 1-0 SOL for only the fourth time in franchise history and first since Nov. 10, 2010 versus Milwaukee...Evgeny Svechnikov scored the only goal against San Jose...Grand Rapids and San Jose were the only teams in the league to finish in the top five in both goals for and goals against during the regular season...The Griffins tied for fourth in goals (3.30) and placed third in goals against (2.50) and the Barracuda were second in goals (3.41) and fifth in goals against (2.59).
2016-17 Griffins vs. Barracuda:
Griffins Records: 0-1-0-1 Overall, 0-1-0-0 in Grand Rapids, 0-0-0-1 in San Jose
Barracuda Records: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 in Grand Rapids, 1-0-0-0 in San Jose
Game 1 – Jan. 27 – Barracuda 4, Griffins 1 – Van Andel Arena
Behind 43 saves by Troy Grosenick, the Barracuda made their first-ever visit to Michigan a victorious one, taking a 4-1 decision that marked Grand Rapids’ second-largest margin of defeat at Van Andel Arena this season. Nikolay Goldobin chipped in a pair of tallies for San Jose. Cal Heeter logged 24 saves and Evgeny Svechnikov provided the offense for the home team. The Griffins finished 0 for 2 on the power play, snapping an 11-game streak of scoring on the man advantage that tied for the third-longest run in franchise history.
Game 2 – March 11 – Barracuda 1, Griffins 0 SO – SAP Center
Jared Coreau turned aside all 31 shots he faced in regulation and overtime to enable Grand Rapids to earn a point, but he was outdueled thanks to San Jose Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick’s 22-save performance in a 1-0 shootout loss at the SAP Center. Coreau was making his first start for the Griffins in two weeks after being assigned by the Red Wings on March 9. Down 1-0 in the shootout and needing a goal to continue, Matt Lorito scored but Daniel O’Regan was the next shooter and delivered the deciding goal.
Tale of the Tape: Here’s how the two teams stacked up in key categories during the regular season:
|Grand Rapids||San Jose|
|Overall Record||47-23-1-5, 100 pts. (2nd Central, 6th AHL)||43-16-4-5, 95 pts. (1st Pacific, 2nd AHL)|
|Home Record||25-11-0-2, 52 pts. (T5th)||24-6-2-2, 52 pts. (T5th)|
|Road Record||22-12-1-3, 48 pts. (4th)||19-10-2-3, 43 pts. (T6th)|
|Power Play:||80-for-328, 24.4% (1st)||65-for-273, 23.8% (2nd)|
|Penalty Killing:||222-for-268, 82.8% (11th)||221-for-264, 83.7% (T7th)|
|Penalty Minutes:||11.12 avg. (27th)||15.46 avg. (5th)|
|Goals For:||3.30 avg. (T4th)||3.41 avg. (2nd)|
|Goals Against:||2.50 avg. (3rd)||2.59 avg. (5th)|
|Shots For:||33.38 avg. (2nd)||33.66 avg. (1st)|
|Shots Against:||29.49 avg. (15th)||27.69 avg. (3rd)|
|Games Played:||Kyle Criscuolo (76)||Rourke Chartier, John McCarthy (67)|
|Goals:||Martin Frk (27)||Barclay Goodrow (25)|
|Assists:||Matt Lorito (34)||Tim Heed (42)|
|Points:||Lorito (56)||Daniel O'Regan (58)|
|Plus/Minus:||Eric Tangradi (+16)||Joakim Ryan (+27)|
|Penalty Minutes:||Dan Renouf (95)||Alex Gallant (126)|
|Power Play Goals:||Frk (12)||O'Regan (11)|
|Shorthanded Goals:||Tomas Nosek, Ben Street (2)||Goodrow (4)|
|Game-Winning Goals:||Street (6)||Goodrow, O'Regan (5)|
|Wins:||Jared Coreau (19)||Troy Grosenick (30)|
|Shutouts:||Eddie Pasquale (4)||Grosenick (10)|
|Goals Against Avg,:||Coreau (2.33)||Grosenick (2.04)|
|Save Percentage:||Pasquale (0.919)||Grosenick (0.926)|
Home-Ice Advantage: Grand Rapids is off to a 4-0 start at home in the playoffs for the third time in team history. The 2003 squad began 4-0 on home ice and the 2015 edition holds the best start at 5-0. The first loss for each of the previous two teams that started at least 4-0 came in the first home game of the conference finals. The 2015 team also holds the franchise record for consecutive home playoff wins at five, which was set April 29-May 8. In the regular season, San Jose and Grand Rapids combined for 49 home wins, as the clubs tied for fifth in the league with 52 points apiece within friendly confines.
Spreading the Wealth: Seven Grand Rapids players have recorded eight or more points this postseason. That continues a trend from the regular season when the Griffins had eight skaters log 40 or more points, the most since the 2005-06 team had 10. Tyler Bertuzzi paces the club in points (10) and goals (5) while rookie Evgeny Svechnikov is second with nine points. Eight players are also averaging a point or better per game in the playoffs.
Special Teams: Grand Rapids has recorded a power play goal in six consecutive playoff games, which ties for the longest streak in franchise postseason history (see chart). The Griffins have converted on the man advantage in seven of eight postseason contests, and a power play goal has been the game-winner in two of Grand Rapids’ seven victories.
|6||April 26-May 13, 2017|
|6||May 17-31, 2015|
|6||June 1-9, 2013|
|5||April 18-26, 2009|
|5||April 23, 2004-April 26, 2006|
|5||April 16-28, 2003|
Whoa, Nelly: With a 12-5 postseason record in Grand Rapids, head coach Todd Nelson has the second-most playoff wins in franchise history and trails only Jeff Blashill (29). The only coach in club history to author two series sweeps, Nelson also posts the Griffins’ highest playoff winning percentage (0.706). The 10th head coach in Griffins franchise history, Nelson has guided the Griffins to at least the second round of the playoffs in both of his seasons behind the bench. Nelson is in his seventh season as an AHL head coach, leading the Oklahoma City Barons from 2010-14 before serving as interim head coach of the Edmonton Oilers for majority of the 2014-15 campaign. Following in the footsteps of Danton Cole (2002-05), whom he served under as an assistant coach, Nelson is the second former Griffins player to be employed as Grand Rapids’ head coach. Consistency was the name of the game during Nelson’s second year in West Michigan, a season after the Griffins set a franchise record with a 15– and 13-game winning streak. The Griffins’ longest winning streak was five and losing streak was four this year, as Grand Rapids posted a 15-6-0-2 (0.696) record in games following a regulation loss. Grand Rapids’ 2017 Calder Cup Playoff berth marks the sixth time in as many full seasons as an AHL head coach that Nelson has led his team to the postseason.
Aye, Aye Captain: Fifth-year Griffin and captain Nathan Paetsch appeared in his 60th postseason game as a Griffin in Game 1 of the Central Division Semifinals, moving past Jeff Hoggan and Travis Richards into sole possession of first place in franchise history. Paetsch has played in every Grand Rapids postseason game (67) since helping the franchise win the Calder Cup in 2013. Paetsch is tied with Derek King atop the franchise’s all-time postseason assist chart with 25.
Full Blast Bertuzzi: Tyler Bertuzzi leads the team with 10 points (5-5—10) in eight games this postseason. Bertuzzi’s six-game point streak that was snapped in Game 4 of the Central Division Finals tied for the Griffins’ longest in a single postseason since 2006. With three goals in the series against Chicago, including two in the Game 5 series clincher, the second-year pro notched his 18th and 19th career postseason tallies and is in sole possession of second on the Griffins’ all-time playoff list. He trails Teemu Pulkkinen by three. In the regular season, Bertuzzi averages ones goal every 4.8 games (25 in 121 games), but in the postseason, he lights the lamp once every 1.6 games (19 in 31 games). Bertuzzi has upped his career playoff point total to 30 (19-11—30) and places third all time in the team’s record book. Detroit’s 3rd choice, 58th overall, in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, Bertuzzi joined the Griffins at the end of the 2014-15 year after his OHL season in Guelph came to an end. In his first postseason action, Bertuzzi notched seven goals and 12 points in 14 games and followed that up with seven goals and eight points in nine games last season.
Long Runs: Over the previous five postseasons, no other AHL team has played as many games (67) or series (13) or won as many games (41) or series (10) as the Griffins. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is second in each category.
Saarijarvi Joins Griffins: The Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, May 17, reassigned defenseman Vili Saarijarvi (VIH-lee SAH-ree-YAHR-vee) to the Griffins from the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads. Saarijarvi, 20, played in 34 games for Mississauga this season, and among team defensemen he ranked second in goals (11), fourth in assists (20) and fourth in scoring (31). The 5-foot-10, 163-pound blueliner added 15 points (5-10—15) in 20 postseason contests, placing fifth on the team in scoring. Detroit’s second choice, 73rd overall, in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Saarijarvi appeared in 59 games with Flint of the OHL in 2015-16 and ranked third on the team in points (12-31—43). A native of Rovaniemi, Finland, Saarijarvi has competed in the last two World Junior Championships. As an alternate captain in 2016, he helped his home country win the gold medal.
Affiliation Comparison: During the Red Wings’ remarkable 25-year playoff run from 1991-2016, Detroit had one stretch of getting out of the first round for five straight years (2007-11) and another in which they did it six straight years (1995-2000). While Grand Rapids has only three holdovers from the 2013 squad that started the Griffins’ streak, Detroit had eight players who played in the playoffs in both 1995 and 2000, and 10 players who played both in 2007 and 2011.
Central Division Finals Notes: The Griffins improved to 12-10 all time in best-of-seven series...Grand Rapids toppled a No. 1 seed in the playoffs for the second time ever…Including the regular season, the Griffins finished the year 12-3 against Chicago, the Central Division Champions in the regular season...Mitch Callahan recorded the ninth hat trick in Griffins playoff history in Game 4’s victory...Eric Tangradi logged an assist on all three of Callahan’s tallies and Evgeny Svechnikov also had a trio of helpers, marking the first time in Grand Rapids’ playoff history that the Griffins had one player record a hat trick and two others each tally three assists in the same game…Four players led the Griffins with six points apiece in the five-game series: Tyler Bertuzzi (3-3—6), Mitch Callahan (3-3—6), Tomas Nosek (2-4—6) and Eric Tangradi (0-6—6).
Closing the Door: Closing out the series at Chicago in Game 5, Grand Rapids has won six straight games in which its opponent faced playoff elimination. The Griffins are 5-0 in such games on the road since the beginning of their Calder Cup run in 2013. All time, Grand Rapids is 11-4 on the road when its opponent faces elimination.
Central Division Semifinals Notes: The Griffins improved to 6-3 all time in best-of-five series...Grand Rapids has won nine straight first-round games dating back to the 2015 Western Quarterfinals against Toronto...Grand Rapids swept Milwaukee for the second consecutive season...The Griffins earned a series sweep for the fourth time ever (2016 Central Division Semifinals vs. Milwaukee, 2003 Western Conference Semifinals vs. Chicago and 2001 IHL Eastern Conference Semifinals vs. Cleveland)...With the win in Game 3, Grand Rapids won its fifth straight game in which its opponent faced playoff elimination and improved to 4-0 in such games on the road since the beginning of its Calder Cup run in 2013…Since being swept in four games by Milwaukee in 2006, the Griffins have won their last six playoff games against the Admirals...Eric Tangradi’s goal at 0:25 of Game 2 was the Griffins’ fastest to start a playoff game since May 22, 2006, when Kent McDonell tallied 15 seconds into Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals at Milwaukee...Kyle Criscuolo’s overtime game-winner in Game 3 marked the second time Grand Rapids has clinched a series in overtime...The first time came in Game 5 of the 2006 North Division Semifinals against Toronto...Tyler Bertuzzi (2-2—4) and Evgeny Svechnikov (1-3—4) found the scoresheet in all three opening-round games and paced the Griffins with four points apiece...Jared Coreau turned aside 94 of 101 shots (0.931)...The crowd of 7,504 for Game 1 was the Griffins’ largest ever for a home playoff game played on or before April 21 as well as their largest for a Game 1 of a first-round series.
Playoff Roster: The following 31 players are eligible to suit up for the Griffins in the postseason: goaltenders Jared Coreau, Cal Heeter and Eddie Pasquale; defensemen Conor Allen, Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek, Brian Lashoff, Dylan McIlrath, Nathan Paetsch, Dan Renouf, Robbie Russo and Vili Saarijarvi; and forwards Mike Borkowski, Tyler Bertuzzi, Mitch Callahan, Colin Campbell, Daniel Cleary, Kyle Criscuolo, Matthew Ford, Martin Frk, Axel Holmstrom, Matt Lorito, Tomas Nosek, Dylan Sadowy, Dominik Shine, Givani Smith, Ben Street, Evgeny Svechnikov, Eric Tangradi and Dominic Turgeon.
Back for More: Three members of the Griffins’ 2013 Calder Cup championship team are still members of the active roster: forward Mitch Callahan and defensemen Brian Lashoff and Nathan Paetsch. Grand Rapids returns 12 players from last year’s playoff roster that advanced to the Central Division Finals before losing to eventual Calder Cup champion Lake Erie.
Experience Counts: Eighteen players on the Griffins’ roster had AHL postseason experience entering the playoffs — Conor Allen (1-1—2 in 12 GP), Tyler Bertuzzi (14-6—20 in 23 GP), Mitch Callahan (7-11—18 in 41 GP), Colin Campbell (1-2—3 in 19 GP), Daniel Cleary (2-3—5 in 17 GP), goaltender Jared Coreau (2-2 record, 2.21 GAA in 4 GP), Matthew Ford (5-8—13 in 21 GP), Martin Frk (1-5—6 in 10 GP), Brian Lashoff (3-9—12 in 51 GP), Matt Lorito (3-4—7 in 11 GP), Dylan McIlrath (0-2—2 in 20 GP), Tomas Nosek (3-5—8 in 21 GP), Nathan Paetsch (3-24—27 in 84 GP), goaltender Eddie Pasquale (7-8 record, 2.42 GAA in 15 GP), Robbie Russo (1-4—5 in 9 GP), Ben Street (1-4—5 in 24 GP), Evgeny Svechnikov (0-1—1 in 2 GP) and Eric Tangradi (7-9—16 in 21 GP). Five skaters also have experience at the NHL level: Cleary (24-28—52 in 121 GP, Stanley Cup with Detroit in 2008), Lashoff (0-0—0 in 8 GP), McIlrath (0-0—0 in 1 GP), Paetsch (0-0—0 in 1 GP) and Tangradi (0-1—1 in 3 GP).
Playoff Debuts: Seven Griffins have made their Calder Cup Playoff debuts this postseason: rookies Mike Borkowski, Kyle Criscuolo, Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek, Dan Renouf and Dominic Turgeon and third-year pro Axel Holmstrom.