Heat Holds Off Elimination With Late Rally 2-1
Jurco, Sheahan and Callahan return to the linuep...
By Jason Kasiorek
April 30th, 2014
After winning the first two games of the series on the road, Grand Rapids was looking for a win at home to sweep the Abbotsford Heat from the 2014 Calder Cup playoffs. Fate had other plans, as a late penalty led to a powerplay goal which left the home team on the wrong side of a 2-1 loss. Tomas Jurco, recently returned from Detroit, gave the Griffins the lead late in the first, setup by Sheahan and Callahan. Despite 35 shots on goal, Grand Rapids was unable to get another puck past Ortio, and Abbotsford scored early in third to tie things up. Petr Mrazek made 23 saves in the loss, his first of the 2014 postseason.
Several griffins post-season award winners were congratulated prior to the opening faceoff, with Mrazek and Almquist being recognized as AHL second team all-stars, and Pulkkinen and Sproul as members of the all-rookie team. Ferraro turned on the burners for a great shorthanded chance, and then Emmerton came late and had a poke at the rebound. Ferraro hit Hoggan in the slot for a chance close-in. Jurco fantastic play to outlet the puck through traffic and set up a scoring chance. McIntyre in front was knocked down as he tried to tip in a Janmark blast. Sheahan fed the puck back to Jurco in the circle and he stroked a shot past Ortio, low glove-side to open the scoring late in the period. Callahan was knocked down at the buzzer with no penalty call. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - Abb 7.
Nice defensive play by Ouellet to pick off a pass in front and thread a shot through bodies to clear it all the way down. Big scrum in front of the net with Reinhart and Ouellet in the middle. Callahan got smoked by O'Brien but picked himself up and skated back to the bench. Grant fought his way to the net for a good chance and managed to center the puck for Janmark despite being mugged. Three man rush for the Griffins and a nifty play by Nestrasil to kick the puck to his stick to avoid a defender and then his centering pass sailed right through the crease and out the other side. Street blatantly ran Mrazek with no call (a pattern on the evening). Pulkkinen surprised Ortio with a rocket from the slot that hit him high before he even knew it had been shot. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - Abb 10.
Ferraro got checked through the Heat net, stopping play and touching off a big scrum in front. Callahan was boarded by Arsene, but Jurco was assessed a penalty as well, setting up a 4-on-4. Breen fired a low shot from the point through traffic that Locke got a piece of to beat Mrazek, low stick-side to tie the game early in the third. Callahan was sprung by Sheahan for a nice chance that Ortio squeezed the pads on. The Griffins had another chance on the powerplay midway through the period and had a flurry of chances on Ortio. The Abbotsford netminder got lucky as the puck hit him and lay in the crease for quite awhile before being cleared. Nestrasil made a slick move to get the puck to the net for a couple of pokes. Jurco reached his boiling point, and really got physical with O'Brien after receiving another cross-check in front of the net. Callahan had a swipe at a loose puck in front of a wide open cage, but couldn't convert. Hoggan went to the box for high-sticking with just over a minute left in regulation. Granlund shot in, split the D and put the puck past Mrazek for a powerplay goal with a minute and change left in the game. The Griffins attempted to rally, pulling Mrazek for the extra skater, but time ran out on a 2-1 loss. Shots on Goal: GR 15 - Abb 8. For the Game: GR 35 - Abb 25.
Callahan - Sheahan - Jurco
Hoggan - Emmerton - Ferraro
Pulkkinen - Nestrasil - Athanasiou
Grant - McIntyre - Janmark
Paetsch - Jensen
Evans - Sproul
Backman - Ouellet
#3 Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season
#5 Almquist - Lower Body Injury - Indefinite
#22 Tootoo - Veteran
Callahan - Sheahan - Ferraro
Pulkkinen - Backman
Emmerton - Nestrasil - Ferraro
Paetsch - Sproul
Ferraro - Emmerton
Evans - Ouellet
McIntyre - Sheahan
Paetsch - Jensen
Except for about a ten minute blip, the Griffins pretty much carried play the whole game. With all of the glorious scoring chances that GR had and couldn't get past Ortio, you could feel the dread in the building when Hoggan got the late penalty call, and of course the ensuing game-winner for Abbotsford. I couldn't believe the amount of hooking, holding, obstructing, and flat out roughing that was allowed to happen without penalty, which certainly played to the Heat's style.
Callahan got quite an ovation after being announced as a starter, and really showed a lot of heart in his return. He went right back to the front of the net and took the punishment that comes there. He was also a frequent target of the Heat for head-shots and after the whistle/behind the play cheap-shots. He had a couple of great chances, but looked to be having trouble tracking the puck in close through the full cage mask. He seemed to get better as the game went on, so that bodes well for Friday.
Jurco and Sheahan played with a lot more confidence than when they left for the NHL. Jurco in particular took the puck to the net, and played a physical game.
While it was a powerplay, Paetsch and Jensen looked bad on the game winning goal, as they were both in front of Granlund when he blew through them.
Janmark had a good game, and setup Grant several times for scoring chances. He also looked good in his own end.
I am not sure who you would take out of the lineup, but it looked like the team missed not having Parkes in the lineup. The banging forward keeps the other team looking over their shoulders with his aggressive hitting game, and is capable of providing offense as well.