By @MichaelCaples –
The Grand Rapids Griffins will begin their 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs campaign by taking on the Milwaukee Admirals Friday night at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids – the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference’s Central Division – will take on the No. 3-seeded Admirals (Nashville’s AHL affiliate) in a best-of-five division semifinal series, with the first two games being played on home ice.
Game 1 – Friday, April 21 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids – 7 p.m.
Game 2 – Sunday, April 23 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids – 4 p.m.
Game 3 – Wednesday, April 26 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee – 8 p.m.*
Game 4 – Friday, April 28 – Grand Rapids at Milwaukee – 8 p.m.*
Game 5 – Monday, May 1 – Milwaukee at Grand Rapids – 7 p.m.*
The Griffins finished with a 7-5 record in their season series against Milwaukee; GR posted a 3-3 mark at home and a 4-2 record in games played on the road.
Last season, the two clubs met, and the Griffins posted a 3-0 sweep. It was the first time the Griffins had ever taken down a No. 1 seed in the AHL postseason.
Grand Rapids is attempting to advance to the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs for a fifth straight season, something only Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (2011 to 2016 and 2005 to 2009) has accomplished since the AHL’s current 16-team format was adopted in 2005.
Players to watch
Jared Coreau – The longtime Red Wings call-up is the Griffins’ leader between the pipes.
Matt Lorito – The Griffins’ forward led the team in scoring in the regular season with 56 points in 61 games.
Ben Street – Street finished one point behind Lorito, with 55 on the year.
Evgeny Svechnikov – He wowed in his Red Wings’ call-up, and he’s been doing the same all year with Grand Rapids. The rookie forward had 51 points in 74 regular-season games.
We’re not saying any of these guys are guaranteed ice time, but, they’re new names to the Griffins’ line-up. Here are a few of the notable additions.
Filip Hronek – The Red Wings’ second-round pick from last year’s draft was added to the squad after the conclusion of his Saginaw Spirit season. He has played in 10 games with GR, recording two points and a +1 rating.
Dennis Cholowski – The Wings’ first-round pick from last summer turned pro after a single season with St. Cloud; Cholowski has skated in one game with the Griffins thus far.
Axel Holmstrom – After coming over from his native Sweden, Holmstrom – a Wings’ seventh-round pick in 2014 – has now played in seven games with the Griffins, recording two points in the process.