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Griffins Double Up Barons in Game One
Evan's first goal keys 2-1 win...
By Jason Kasiorek
May 24th, 2013

Two offensive juggernaut's combined to turn in a defensive battle that ended with the barest of margins, a 2-1 Griffins victory. Most of the contest was played at a scorching pace as both teams sized up the opposition in what looks to be a long series. Brennan Evans opened the scoring with his first goal since February, 2012, and Landon Ferraro (3) cashed in on a steal by Tomas Jurco for the game-winner. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 of 28 shots for his 8th win of the playoffs.

Grand Rapids looked to have some extra jump early in the game, and it took awhile for the Barons to match. Veteran blueliner Brennan Evans scored his first goal as a Griffin just past the 7 minute mark of the period when his point shot got between Danis and the post, stick-side. A little later in the period, Glendening pulled off a spin-o-rama move in front of the net to lose his man, but rang his shot off the crossbar. The Barons evened things up late, Hotham walked around a Griffin in the circle and snapped a quick shot that bulged the twine behind Mrazek. Shots on Goal: GR 9 - OKC 7.

Oklahoma City stepped up in the second and started attacking the Griffins net and forcing GR to dig a little deeper. Ferraro beat a Baron to the puck to negate an icing and then Jurco stole the puck behind the net to feed Ferraro in front. Ferraro's first shot hit Callahan and bounced right back to his stick, he roofed the second for a 2-1 lead. The Griffins are having a hard time clearing the zone in the latter stages of the period, the Barons seem to knock everything down before it gets to the line. Mrazek made a huge save on a point blank attempt by Cornet to preserve the lead. Shots on Goal: GR 14 - OKC 15.

The Griffins came out hard in the third and started really pressuring Oklahoma City. The Barons look frustrated and are getting chippy. Arcobello slashed the stick out of Ferraro's hand in front, setting up a Griffins powerplay. Aubry with a huge hot that drew the attention of several Barons. The hitting really picked up in the dying minutes of the game. Danis was summoned to the bench for the extra attacker with just over a minute left. Hoggan blocked a big shot and cleared it to run the clock down. The Griffins captain then got clipped in the face as time ran out, and a big scrum broke out with Mursak and Cornet almost coming to blows. Shots on Goal: GR 5 - OKC 6. For the Game: GR 28 - OKC 28.

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

Paetsch - Lashoff
Evans - Almquist
Skinner - Billins

Starter: Mrazek
Backup: McCollum


Jurco - Glendening - Tatar
Skinner - Billins

Hoggan - Ferraro - Pare
Almquist - Paetsch

Mursak - Glendening
Paetsch - Lashoff

Ferraro - Callahan/Sheahan
Evans - Almquist


This was the first game of the playoffs where the Griffins did not clearly outplay the opposition. Both teams had periods of control, and showed they could make things happen at high speed. The Griffins seemed tired in the second and third and looked to be having a hard team keeping their feet moving to keep up with the Barons. The Barons looked gassed for a large part of the third, as both teams seemed to have a hard time keeping up with the pace.

Tatar was trying to do all of the little tricky moves that limit his effectiveness, and looked very frustrated at times because he was unable to make anything happen.

Grant took a bad penalty in the 2nd, going off by himself for roughing, one of the first times this year I remember him taking an undisciplined call.

Jurco and Ferraro skated hard for the whole game and really had OKC back on their heels. Jurco set up Ferraro several times for great chances, and I expect them to be key for this series as the Barons had a hard time containing their speed and size with Callahan.

Callahan played part of the game on the 4th line with Aubry and Grant, and part of the game with Jurco and Ferraro. He was very effective, playing with grit and second effort, and had several of the Barons more focused on him then the puck. He was physical without taking a penalty and moved the puck well, especially in the defensive end.

I also have to give full marks to jeff Hoggan. The Griffins captain continued to lead by example and skated hard all night. In the latter stages of the game, he put his head down and went end to end to spur on his team. A leader by example, it is no surprise he went down to block the shot late in the game and then made sure it got right out despite being in obvious pain.

It was great to see Evans get the goal, and he is obviously very popular with his teammates as they all celebrated and congratulated him.

Mursak bounced back form a couple of subpar (for him anyway) outings, and had a strong night.

Pulkkinen had a couple of big shots, but took a penalty early and ended back up in the doghouse.

Official Game Sheet