GRIFFINS SHUT OUT BARONS 3-0
By Cassie Gage,
The Oklahoma City Barons were shut out for a second consecutive game Sunday afternoon, falling to the Grand Rapids Griffins, 3-0, at the Cox Convention Center. The Griffins gain a 3-2 advantage in the AHL Western Conference Final with game six on Tuesday in Grand Rapids.
Oklahoma City doubled up the Griffins in shots on goal in the first period, 10-5. The Barons pressured Grand Rapids goaltender Petr Mrazek out of the gate as Tyler Pitlick opened with a blast that Mrazek kept out of the goal.
The Griffins took the puck the other way on a 2-on-1 but solid defense from Randy Jones, Taylor Fedun and Yann Danis kept Grand Rapids off the board. Oklahoma City turned the other way as Jonathan Cheechoo just missed a redirection. The Griffins managed to ice the puck three times in the game’s first seven minutes as the Barons led 5-1 in shots on goal at the first media timeout at 7:51.
Brandon Davidson got a shot high on Mrazek but the goaltender made the save with his shoulder pads and facemask. The Barons took the game’s first penalty as Ben Eager was sent off for boarding at 10:38. Oklahoma City killed the penalty and went on its first power play of the afternoon at 12:41 as Francis Pare was called for high sticking. The Barons got traffic in front of Mrazek but were unable to find the back of the net.
Oklahoma City had a chance as Toni Rajala passed the puck off to C.J. Stretch who just missed the net. Philippe Cornet had a backhanded chance on Mrazek and Martin Marincin got the puck through a screen but neither scored as both teams were held scoreless in the opening period.
Grand Rapids exploded for three goals in the final five minutes of the second period. The Griffins out-shot the Barons 14-12 in the period but Oklahoma City held a 22-19 overall at the end of the frame.
Cheechoo, Cornet and Davidson all got shots on Mrazek but the Barons were unable to solve the netminder. Grand Rapids had a 2-on-1 develop but solid defense from Davidson broke up the play and Danis came through with a save on the rebound attempt.
Antti Tyrvainen went off for hooking at 4:00, and Chris VandeVelde’s shorthanded attempt was turned away. Cheechoo later had another quality redirection attempt, this time as a result of a pass from Mark Arcobello.
A Luke Glendening penalty at 10:09 gave Ryan Martindale a setup for a shot at the goal line, but Mrazek stood tall on the penalty kill.
Tomas Jurco scored his fifth of the playoffs at 15:13 on a feed from Pare and Riley Sheahan. Jurco’s breakaway shot went high glove side on Danis to break open the scoring.
Lashoff went off for interference at 15:56 and Oklahoma City got caught making a line change as Joakim Andersson got a shot on net that Mitch Callahan knocked in to give Grand Rapids a shorthanded goal and a 2-0 lead at 17:12. Eager went off for interference at 18:28 and Tomas Tatar made it 3-0 at 19:27 with a power play goal.
Oklahoma City pressured the Griffins in the third period, winning the shots on goal total, 15-6, to lead 37-25 for the game. Mrazek played lights out in the period, however, securing the win for Grand Rapids. Oklahoma City’s best chance came late in the period on a 5-on-3 power play, but Mrazek and the Griffins kept the Barons at bay.
Grand Rapids has shut out Oklahoma City 7-0 in the last two games with a 4-0 win on Saturday and 3-0 win on Sunday. The series shifts to Grand Rapids for game six and, if necessary, game seven. Game six is Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT at Van Andel Arena. Game seven would be Wednesday at the same time.
Click here for the boxscore: http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011097
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