Griffins Sleepwalk to 4-2 Loss

Mitch Callahan - Jason "Stripe" Kasiorek

Grand Rapids was unable to overcome a flat performance and poor officiating, in dropping game 2 of the western conference finals. That is not to say that the visiting Oklahoma City Barons didn't play a strong game and were able to capitalize to work the split in Grand Rapids before returning home for the next three games of the series. Despite having no jump, the Griffins stayed close right up until Hartikainen's empty netter with 24 seconds left. Tatar (9) and Callahan (2) tallied for the Griffins in the loss, while rookie Peter Mrazek stopped 33 shots in the loss.

Griffins Sleepwalk to 4-2 Loss
Barons even series at 1-1...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
May 25th, 2013

Grand Rapids was unable to overcome a flat performance and poor officiating, in dropping game 2 of the western conference finals. That is not to say that the visiting Oklahoma City Barons didn't play a strong game and were able to capitalize to work the split in Grand Rapids before returning home for the next three games of the series. Despite having no jump, the Griffins stayed close right up until Hartikainen's empty netter with 24 seconds left. Tatar (9) and Callahan (2) tallied for the Griffins in the loss, while rookie Peter Mrazek stopped 33 shots in the loss.

For the first time in the playoffs, the Griffins came out flat and were outplayed by the opposition. Jurco tried to energize his team by working the dangle and made some incredible moves to set up scoring chances. The pace of the game in the early going was much more open then the last game with lots of end-to-end action. Tatar put Grand Rapids on the board when he streaked in on Danis and lasered a shot past him stick-side for a 1-0 lead. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - OKC 12.

Grant smoked Hotham at the line with a clean open ice hit to knock the puck loose for Callahan to produce a great scoring chance. Grant trying to wake his teammates up with another huge hit. Grant eventually ended up in the box on a hooking call and Oklahoma City took advantage of the powerplay. Just nine seconds into the man advantage Mrazek stopped the point shot but Stretch picked up the rebound for an easy tap-in. The Griffins had a chance to regain the lead with a 3-on-1, but Paetsch missed the net. Callahan working hard, worked his way in and rang a shot off the post. Grant knocked a Baron down in front of the penalty boxes and got hit from behind by another. While he was down on the ice Tyrvainen speared him, touching off a scrum. Aubry and Jones were pushing and shoving and Evans and Eager dropped the gloves for a short grappling contest. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - OKC 10.

The Griffins were able to kill off a bogus penalty to Lashoff, but nobody picked up Hartikainen who snuck in back door and roofed a nice pass from Rajala. Sheahan had a partial breakaway, but was taken down with no call. The officiating has been a joke for most of the night. Callahan got sprung on a breakaway, made a great move to freeze Danis and and backhanded it in to knot the score at 2. The Barons got another break when two sticks came together in front of Mrazek and the puck popped up in the air hit Mrazek in the back and went in for a fluke goal by Arcobello. Tatar had a great chance on a feed from Pare but was manhandled by Stretch, leading to a shoving match and matching roughing minors. Pushing and shoving at the Griffins line and Paetsch is cross checked in the face with no penalty call. Tatar taken down in the corner - no call. Mrazek to the bench for the extra attacker, but the Griffins can't get it into the Baron's zone. Hartikainen scored the empty netter and closed a 4-2 win. Shots on Goal: GR 7 - OKC 15. For the Game: GR 22 - OKC 37.

Lines:
Hoggan - Glendening - Mursak
Jurco - Ferraro - Pulkkinen/Callahan
Tatar - Sheahan - Pare
Grant - Aubry - Callahan/Pulkkinen

Pairings:
Paetsch - Lashoff
Evans - Almquist
Skinner - Billins

Starter: Mrazek
Backup: McCollum

Scratches:
Nestrasil
Raedeke
Parkes
Coetzee
Athanasiou
Fournier
Nicastro
Sproul
Jensen
Ouellet


PP:
Jurco - Glendening - Tatar
Skinner - Billins

Hoggan - Ferraro - Pare
Almquist - Paetsch

PK:
Mursak - Glendening
Paetsch - Lashoff

Ferraro - Callahan/Sheahan
Evans - Almquist


Observations:

Tough loss for Grand Rapids, as they were in it right up until the end. The home team did not look good for most of the game, a step slow, losing the battles, and really just looking tired. The officiating was awful, blatant penalties not called and then things were called that should not have been. The Griffins had only one powerplay despite being roughed up, tackled, taken down, etc.

Jurco early was one of the few parts that seemed to be working and he was weaving in and out of Barons players at will, but the Griffins could not get any shots off as the Barons jumped on them quickly.

Mitch Callahan had a great game and had a couple of great scoring chances.

His linemate Triston Grant was a physical presence most of the game, but after being hit from behind and speared while on the ground, he quieted down in the latter stages.

Tough night for Lashoff and Paetsch together as a pairing, Lashoff looked very slow, and the two of them were victimized.

Time for Frankie Pare and Riley Sheahan to step up. After both being around the 20 goal mark, they have three goals between them in 13 games. That is not acceptable for the amount of ice time they get. Our top line has to play like our top line and right now Tatar is trying to be the game breaker by himself and the other two are not much a factor.



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