Hoggan Leads Griffins Over Heat For Series Clincher 5-3|
Griffins Captain nets 2 goals and an assist in the win...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 2nd, 2014
The script was different on Friday, as the Grand Rapids Griffins had a big night to hold off the Abbotsford Heat and eliminate them from the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 5-3 win. Captain Jeff Hoggan (2,3) led the way with 2 goals and an assist, but the Griffins also got goals from Pulkkinen (2), Sheahan (1) and Ferraro (1). The Heat rallied back twice to keep things close but Grand Rapids held on and added an empty net goal to put things away. The loss marks the final game for the Abbotsford franchise as they are relocating to Glens Falls, NY for next season. Petr Mrazek made 24 saves for the win, his franchise best 18th career postseason victory.
Parkes with a big hit on his 1st shift got things going. The Griffins PK was up to the task, killing off an early penalty. Pulkkinen drop pass to Athanasiou who had a good rip into Ortio's glove. Parkes won a battle behind the net and came out with the puck for a nice scoring chance. Athanasiou picked up the rebound for a rising shot over the net. Abbotsford drew first blood when O'Brien's point shot hit something and redirected past Mrazek for a 1-0 lead. Evans smoked Baertschi leaving the Heat winger hunched over in pain to the bench. Hoggan fired a shot between Arsene's legs for a scoring opportunity. The Griffins had a late powerplay that was very ineffective. Big scrum after the final whistle as Granlund and several other Heat players tried to get to Jurco. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Abb 9.
Grand Rapids had a couple of good chances right in front to open the second. Callahan fired a shot from a bad angle that hit Ortio and then Jurco just missed a juicy rebound. Ouellette coughed up the puck in front of Mrazek but managed to cover enough for Pulkkinen to clear. Parkes fought his way to the net and then circled back to center the puck for a scoring chance. Janmark crushed Arsene along the boards. O'Brien in the box for slashing and Jurco fed Pulkkinen at the point for a rocket that beat Ortio stick side. Pulkkinen held at the side at the side of the net, passed to McIntyre, who fought off a check, and hit Hoggan all alone on the opposite side for a 2-1 lead. Athanasiou crashed the net and got knocked into Ortio by his own defenseman. Great GR chance just rolled wide.
Lafranchise cut through the front of the net, froze Mrazek and slid the puck into the net beside him to knot the score. Mrazek made a stop and the puck lay next to him until Sheahan was able to shovel it behind the net . Emmerton carried the puck behind the net and held while he tried to get someone in front. A flurry of shots by Sheahan, Jurco and Pulkkinen kept the Heat back on their heals. Great play by Ferraro to use his speed to get the puck deep, and then Hoggan came late and buried the puck to restore the lead. Reinhart made contact with Mrazek at the buzzer, leaving them both on the ice. Reinhart got the penalty for goaltender interference. Shots on Goal: GR 18 - Abb 6.
Granlund made contact with Mrazek, knocking him down again with no call. Nestrasil made a slick move to put the puck on net and Jensen jammed away at it until the whistle. Great shift by Janmark, his vision and positioning always seem to have him in the right spot to intercept the puck. Sproul's point shot hit Emmerton in front and rolled just wide of the post. Sheahan in front on the powerplay, took a pass from Backman and stroked a shot high stick-side for a 4-2 lead. Sproul was sent to the box on a questionable interference call, setting the stage for Granlund to cut the lead to one. The heat forward picked a big rebound off the endboards in the circle and lasered a shot into the net. Callahan hard on the forecheck, really frustrating O'Brien as he tried to get the puck out. Pulkkinen with a blast right off the faceoff that hit Ortio. Ouellet and Hanowski pushing and shoving after the whistle.
Hoggan got destroyed in front , got back up and then got knocked down again by Breen giving the Griffins a late powerplay. Things got very scary when Mrazek came way out of the net to try and win a footrace for the loose puck and almost got caught. Backman made a diving save, and GR had to scramble to keep the puck out of the empty cage. Sheahan was speared by Jones after winning a contested faceoff with no call despite Sheahan remaining on the ice doubled up. This drew a meeting of the clan after the whistle with lots of pushing and shoving. Ortio to the bench for the extra skater with just over a minute left. Hoggan cleared the puck and took it deep before being tackled, but still managed to get it to Ferraro who hit the empty netter to cap a 5-3 win and close out the series 3-1. Shots on Goal: GR 10 - Abb 12. For the Game: GR 36 - Abb 27.
Callahan - Sheahan - Jurco
Pulkkinen - Nestrasil - Athanasiou
Hoggan - Emmerton/McIntyre - Ferraro
Parkes - McIntyre/Janmark - Janmark/Emmerton
Paetsch - Jensen
Evans - Sproul
Backman - Ouellet
#3 Marchenko - Ankle Injury - out for season
#5 Almquist - Lower Body Injury - Indefinite
#22 Tootoo - Upper body injury
Callahan - Sheahan - Jurco
Pulkkinen - Backman
Emmerton - Nestrasil - Ferraro
Paetsch - Sproul
Ferraro - Emmerton
Evans - Ouellet
Callahan - Sheahan/McIntyre
Paetsch - Jensen
The Griffins played with a lot more energy and especially in the second, just took it to the Heat all night. Hoggan showed again why he has the C on his sweater, as he led the team on the ice, notching a pair of goals, and what would have been a third if not for a foul in the corner. But it was his talk between periods that really fired the guys up and got things rolling.
After the last game, I said that they would benefit form dressing Parkes, and that indeed was the only change in the lineup with the banging winger coming in to replace veteran grant. Parkes was noticeable right off the first shift, banging everything in red and showing some surprising chemistry with Janmark, leading to some dangerous scoring chances (and 4 shots on goal). He had a very good game and showed that should remain in the lineup.
Backman had a strong game at both ends of the ice and saw a ton of ice time. He looks so effortless and efficient, very reminiscent of Lidstrom. He has already taken over the point on the first PP unit and continues to climb.
Jurco was on a mission tonight and really brought the physical side of his game. He laid some heavy open ice hits, and fought for position in the high traffic areas all night. His blend of size, strength and skill is imposing.
Emmerton was moved on to the wing mid-game with Janmark and Parkes who had some great chances. The transformation made the fourth line more dangerous than it has been all year. McIntyre was moved up to center Hoggan and Ferraro, and looked to be a good fit there.
It seemed like I wrote Athanasiou's name a lot of times in my notes as he was really working hard, especially in the early stages of the game. I was surprised that statistically he did not have much to show for it at the end of the night.
I have to give a shout out to Evans who quietly had a super game on the backend. He was airtight defensively acted as the sheriff in a couple of scrums, and punished the heat physically. The little things he does on a nightly basis lead to wins, and his teammates appreciate him.