Griffins Win The Calder Cup!

Tomas Tatar AHL Playoff MVP - Jason "Stripe" Kasiorek

Mission Accomplished! Paul Butterfield Trophy Winner Tomas Tatar along with the leadership trio of captain Jeff Hoggan and Alternates Brennan Evans and Nathan Paetsch have had led a spectacular cast of players to the promised land of a Calder Cup Championship. For a team that had not made the playoffs in several years and was picked by several prognosticators to finish outside of the playoffs again this season, it was a remarkable outcome. There is a lot of credit to go around, so let's not forget first year head coach Jeff Blashill who obviously had a profound affect on this organization as well as rookie phenom Petr Mrazek who's recall from Toledo early in the season started this ride. While statistics don't tell us the whole story, it is a starting point to measure each player's contributions. So what follows is a round by round look at the heroes of the 2013 Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins:

Griffins Win The Calder Cup!
A recap of the 2013 AHL playoffs...
By Jason Kasiorek
www.griffinscentral.com
June 15th, 2013

Mission Accomplished! Paul Butterfield Trophy Winner Tomas Tatar along with the leadership trio of captain Jeff Hoggan and Alternates Brennan Evans and Nathan Paetsch have had led a spectacular cast of players to the promised land of a Calder Cup Championship. For a team that had not made the playoffs in several years and was picked by several prognosticators to finish outside of the playoffs again this season, it was a remarkable outcome. There is a lot of credit to go around, so let's not forget first year head coach Jeff Blashill who obviously had a profound affect on this organization as well as rookie phenom Petr Mrazek who's recall from Toledo early in the season started this ride.

While statistics don't tell us the whole story, it is a starting point to measure each player's contributions. So what follows is a round by round look at the heroes of the 2013 Calder Cup Champion Grand Rapids Griffins:

The Calder Cup Finals

Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Syracuse Crunch
Game 1 GR (3) at Syr (1)
Game 2 GR (6) at Syr (4)
Game 3 Syr (2) at GR (4) Hoggan Leads Griffins to 4-2 Win Over Crunch
Game 4 Syr (3) at GR (2) Griffins Can't Get By Crunch or Officiating in 3-2 Loss
Game 5 Syr (5) at GR (2) Crunch Capitalize on GR Mistakes To Force Game Six
Game 6 GR (5) at Syr (2)

Grand Rapids was hoping to earn a split in Syracuse against what was essentially the defending Calder Cup Champions. The Syracuse roster was heavily made up of players from last year's champs the Norfolk Admirals. The Griffins stunned the Crunch, winning the first two games in Syracuse and then taking game 3 in Grand Rapids. Syracuse fought off elimination twice, winning games 4 and 5 in Grand Rapids and forcing a game 6 showdown back in Syracuse. After trailing early in game 6, Mitch Callahan opened the scoring for GR and MVP Tomas Tatar notched his first of the night to keep the Griffins even with Syracuse. Then in the third Evans scored his second of the playoffs, the eventual game winner before Tatar and Andersson scored empty netters to seal the win and the Griffins first AHL championship.

While Tatar was the playoff MVP it was interesting to see the other players that stepped up in the finals, most notably big-game player Mitch Callahan with 3 goals and five points. The team's veteran leaders, all came up with huge performances as well. Rookie Danny Dekeyser was cleared to play game one and replaced Skinner on the blueline. Skinner would return after game 3 when Almquist suffered a concussion.

# Pos Name GP G A PTS PIM PM SOG
27 LW Tomas Tatar 6 5 0 5 2 1 17
39 LW Jan Mursak 6 3 2 5 4 7 18
15 RW Mitchell Callahan 6 2 3 5 10 1 12
10 LW Jeff Hoggan 6 1 4 5 4 4 8
13 LW Gustav Nyquist 6 1 4 5 19 0 13
19 C Riley Sheahan 6 1 4 5 2 1 9
29 C Landon Ferraro 6 1 4 5 2 2 13
18 C Joakim Anderson 6 2 2 4 0 0 15
44 D Brennan Evans 6 1 3 4 18 2 6
23 LW Triston Grant 6 2 1 3 7 0 4
33 C Luke Glendening 6 1 2 3 4 4 8
4 D Nathan Paetsch 6 0 3 3 8 5 6
14 D Chad Billins 6 0 3 3 6 -1 11
9 RW Frankie Pare 6 1 0 1 4 -5 7
28 RW Tomas Jurco 6 1 0 1 4 -3 17
55 D Danny DeKeyser 6 0 1 1 8 0 4
3 D Brett Skinner 3 0 0 0 0 0 3
5 D Adam Almquist 3 0 0 0 2 1 1
32 D Brian Lashoff 6 0 0 0 2 -1 2
34 G Petr Mrazek 6 0 0 0 2 0 0
GP W L MIN GA GAA Shts Svs Sv % SO
34 G Mrazek 6 4 2 358 16 2.68 160 146 0.913 0


The Western Conference Finals

#3 Grand Rapids Griffins vs. #5 Oklahoma City Barons
Game 1 OKC (1) at GR (2) Griffins Double Up Barons in Game One
Game 2 OKC (4) at GR (2) Griffins Sleepwalk to 4-2 Loss
Game 3 GR (1) at OKC (4)
Game 4 GR (4) at OKC (0)
Game 5 GR (3) at OKC (0)
Game 6 OKC (4) at GR (3) Barons Burn Griffins with Late Rally For 4-3 Win
Game 7 OKC (4) at GR (5) Griffins Banish Barons with 5-4 Win

The Griffins were gaining momentum heading into the third round against one of the top offensive teams in the lead. The two offensive juggernauts played a defensive battle in game one with Evans scoring his first goal of the year and Ferraro netting the winner to take game one 2-1. Grand Rapids came out flat in game 2 and could not keep up with the Barons falling 4-2. The series shifted back to Oklahoma City, which was in the process of being devastated by a series of tornado's that caused the postponement of game 3. When it was finally played, the Griffins were again on the wrong side of the ledger, absorbing a 4-1 loss, the first time the Griffins had trailed in a series since dropping the first game of the postseason.

Petr Mrazek pitched back-to-back shutouts for the second time of this playoff season to put Grand Rapids back in the drivers seat with a 3-2 series lead. The Barons stunned the Griffins with a late comeback in game 6, scoring two goals in the closing minutes to rally back and force Game 7. The final game of the series was everything you could want from a game 7. The game remained close until magician Tomas Jurco stole the puck and scored what turned out to be the game winner to clinch a finals berth in front of the Grand Rapids faithful. The celebration was great for the only clinching game won on home ice by the Griffins. When the parent Red Wings were eliminated from Stanley Cup play the assigned Andersson and Nyquist who joined the Griffins lineup following game 3, displacing Pulkkinen and Aubry.

# Pos Name GP G A PTS PIM PM SOG
14 D Chad Billins 7 1 5 6 4 2 8
27 LW Tomas Tatar 7 3 2 5 8 -5 21
28 RW Tomas Jurco 7 3 2 5 11 4 16
15 RW Mitchell Callahan 7 3 1 4 15 3 10
18 C Joakim Anderson 4 1 3 4 0 -2 10
39 LW Jan Mursak 6 3 0 3 0 0 13
44 D Brennan Evans 7 1 2 3 6 2 5
3 D Brett Skinner 7 0 3 3 0 5 6
4 D Nathan Paetsch 7 0 3 3 4 -5 11
5 D Adam Almquist 7 0 3 3 4 -3 7
33 C Luke Glendening 7 0 3 3 18 -3 7
29 C Landon Ferraro 7 2 0 2 5 -2 12
13 LW Gustav Nyquist 4 1 1 2 0 -4 14
19 C Riley Sheahan 7 1 1 2 4 2 13
9 RW Frankie Pare 7 0 2 2 6 2 13
10 LW Jeff Hoggan 7 1 0 1 0 -2 11
22 C Louis-Marc Aubry 3 0 1 1 0 1 3
32 D Brian Lashoff 7 0 1 1 8 -2 4
11 RW Andrej Nestrasil 1 0 0 0 0 -2 4
23 LW Triston Grant 7 0 0 0 11 1 5
26 RW Teemu Pulkkinen 3 0 0 0 4 0 4
34 G Petr Mrazek 7 0 0 0 0 0 0
GP W L MIN GA GAA Shts Svs Sv % SO
34 G Mrazek 7 4 3 416.32 15 2.16 242 227 0.938 2


The Western Conference Semi-Finals

#3 Grand Rapids Griffins vs. #2 Toronto Marlies
Game 1 GR (7) at Tor (0)
Game 2 GR (2) at Tor (4)
Game 3 Tor (4) at GR (5) Griffins Outlast Marlies in 5-4 Win
Game 4 Tor (1) at GR (4) Griffins Rally Past Marlies for 4-1 Win
Game 5 Tor (4) at GR (1)
Game 6 GR (4) at Tor (3)

The Griffins pounced on Toronto early scoring 7 goals in a 7-0 win in Toronto. It was Mrazek's second straight shutout, and six different players scored in the win. The Marlies evened the series at one, winning a 4-2 contest before coming back to the comfy confines of Van Andel Arena. The Griffins held off the Marlies in game three allowing Mursak's third of the playoffs to stand as the game winner in a 5-4 win. Grand Rapids lit up former Griffin Drew MacIntyre for four unanswered goals as they took a 3-1 series lead in a 4-1 win with Ferraro collecting the game-winner. Toronto staved off elimination with a 4-1 win in Grand Rapids to force a game six in Toronto. Game 6 saw the Griffins rally back from an early deficit with three late goals by Mursak, Tatar and Glendening to win the round and advance to the West Conference Finals. Brian Lashoff was assigned by Detroit after Game 1, sending Gleason Fournier to the pressbox for the remainder of the post-season.

# Pos Name GP G A PTS PIM PM SOG
27 LW Tomas Tatar 6 5 2 7 4 1 24
39 LW Jan Mursak 6 4 2 6 12 5 14
33 C Luke Glendening 6 3 3 6 4 3 19
29 C Landon Ferraro 6 2 4 6 4 1 8
9 RW Frankie Pare 6 1 5 6 0 1 7
19 C Riley Sheahan 6 0 6 6 4 2 13
10 LW Jeff Hoggan 6 2 3 5 4 1 21
28 RW Tomas Jurco 6 2 3 5 4 1 26
5 D Adam Almquist 6 1 3 4 4 5 8
14 D Chad Billins 6 1 2 3 2 2 9
3 D Brett Skinner 6 0 3 3 2 -1 7
26 RW Teemu Pulkkinen 6 1 1 2 4 0 10
15 RW Mitchell Callahan 6 1 0 1 2 -2 5
4 D Nathan Paetsch 6 0 1 1 7 3 9
44 D Brennan Evans 6 0 1 1 6 4 9
20 D Gleason Fournier 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
22 C Louis-Marc Aubry 6 0 0 0 0 1 5
23 LW Triston Grant 6 0 0 0 4 1 4
32 D Brian Lashoff 5 0 0 0 0 -1 4
34 G Petr Mrazek 6 0 0 0 0 0 0
GP W L MIN GA GAA Shts Svs Sv % SO
34 G Mrazek 6 4 2 359.53 15 2.50 135 120 0.889 1


The Western Conference Quarterfinals

#3 Grand Rapids Griffins vs. #6 Houston Aeros
Game 1 GR (0) at Hou (3)
Game 2 GR (3) at Hou (2)
Game 3 Hou (2) at GR (4) Griffins Edge Houston 4-2 - Take 2-1 Series Lead
Game 4 Hou (4) at GR (1) Aeros Push Series to the Wall With 4-1 Win
Game 5 Hou (0) at GR (7) Griffins Ground Aeros 7-0 - Advance to Second Round


The Griffins got off to a rough start in their first foray into the postseason since 2009, losing their first game 3-0 in Houston. They stormed back to take game 2 by a 3-2 score to earn the split on the road. Grand Rapids entertained the home fans when Almquist's late goal broke a 2-2 tie to give Grand Rapids a 2-1 series lead. The Aeros would not go quietly and scored four goals to take game 4. Petr Mrazek turned in his first playoff shutout to close out the series in game 5, which saw 6 different Griffins score goals in a 7-0 rout to advance to the second round.

# Pos Name GP G A PTS PIM PM SOG
27 LW Tomas Tatar 5 3 1 4 9 2 16
33 C Luke Glendening 5 2 2 4 4 4 14
4 D Nathan Paetsch 5 0 4 4 2 2 14
5 D Adam Almquist 5 2 1 3 2 2 13
26 RW Teemu Pulkkinen 5 2 1 3 2 2 12
28 RW Tomas Jurco 5 2 1 3 2 -1 10
9 RW Frankie Pare 5 1 2 3 2 0 10
19 C Riley Sheahan 5 1 2 3 0 2 11
39 LW Jan Mursak 5 1 2 3 10 4 12
29 C Landon Ferraro 5 0 3 3 0 -1 13
14 D Chad Billins 5 0 2 2 0 2 12
10 LW Jeff Hoggan 5 1 0 1 6 -1 13
15 RW Mitchell Callahan 5 0 1 1 6 -1 6
20 D Gleason Fournier 5 0 1 1 2 2 3
23 LW Triston Grant 5 0 1 1 4 1 2
3 D Brett Skinner 5 0 0 0 4 0 12
22 C Louis-Marc Aubry 5 0 0 0 0 1 8
44 D Brennan Evans 5 0 0 0 6 2 11
34 G Petr Mrazek 5 0 0 0 0 0 0
GP W L MIN GA GAA Shts Svs Sv % SO
34 G Mrazek 5 3 2 297.73 9 1.81 119 110 0.924 1


Official Game Sheet

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