Griffins finish off Barracuda, roll to AHL finals
The Grand Rapids Griffins got off to a fast start and never looked back, eliminating visiting San Jose Barracuda, 4-2, in the American Hockey League's Western Conference finals Saturday night at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins won the series, 4-1, and stamped their ticket to the Calder Cup finals for the second time in five seasons. Grand Rapids will face the Syracuse Crunch in a rematch of the 2013 finals, when the Griffins won their first hockey title.
It didn't take long for the crowd of 8,876 to get rocking as Brian Lashoff scored 24 seconds into the game and Matthew Ford followed with another goal at 16:11 in the first period to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead over the Barracuda.
After San Jose cut the deficit in half early in the second, Matt Lorito added some separation with a power-play goal at 16:29, extending a franchise postseason record with a power-play goal in 11 consecutive games.
Lorito helped provide the finishing touches, striking again at 4:53 in the third period to give the Griffins a 4-1 cushion.
Jared Coreau finished with 39 saves and Tomas Nosek added two assists.
Grand Rapids loves the high-flying Griffins
Griffins vs. Crunch
What: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Syracuse Crunch in best-of-seven AHL Calder Cup finals series
At stake: Calder Cup trophy
Tickets: Go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. at griffinshockey.com/tickets
Home games at Van Andel Arena. All games are at 7 p.m.
Game 1: Friday at Grand Rapids
Game 2: Saturday at Grand Rapids
Game 3: June 7 at Syracuse
Game 4: June 9 at Syracuse
*Game 5: June 10 at Syracuse
*Game 6: June 13 at Grand Rapids
*Game 7: June 14 at Grand Rapids