Calder Cup Playoffs – Central Division Finals: FRK LEADS GRIFFINS TO GAME 1 WIN OVER WOLVES

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ROSEMONT, Ill.(Wednesday May 3, 2017 – Highlighted by Martin Frk’s memorable return to the lineup, the Grand Rapids Griffins rode a strong team performance to a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Central Division Finals at Allstate Arena.Playing his first game of this postseason after recovering from an injury, Frk paid immediate dividends by scoring a goal 40 seconds in and recording an assist at the 8:07 mark to stake the Griffins to a 2-0 lead. That was all the offense Grand Rapids would need thanks to a 27-save effort by Jared Coreau and a penalty killing unit that denied four chances for the Wolves’ potent power play.

The Griffins, now 4-0 in these playoffs and 3-0 in their last three postseason games on the road, will stay in the Windy City for Friday’s Game 2 at 8 p.m(*7:35pm broadcast time on ESPN961 FM) before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Game 3 on Saturday and Game 4 on Monday.



Notes: The Griffins went on to win each of the previous eight best-of-seven series in which they held a 1-0 lead…This game marked the first postseason meeting between Grand Rapids and Chicago since April 23, 2004, when the Wolves finished off a four-game sweep of the West Division Semifinals with an 8-2 win at Allstate Arena…The Griffins, who are in the second round of the playoffs for the fifth straight year and the 10th time in franchise history, have won Game 1 of each of their first two series for the first time since 2003.Three Stars: 1. GR Frk (goal, assist); 2. GR Coreau (W, 27 saves); 3. GR Ford (power play goal)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – After completing a second straight first-round sweep of the Milwaukee Admirals Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Griffins will continue their quest for the Calder Cup by facing their longtime rivals, the Chicago Wolves, in the best-of-seven Central Division Finals.The second-seeded Griffins and division-champion Wolves – fresh off of rallying past the Charlotte Checkers by winning the final two games of their series – will stage their first postseason clash in 13 years. Games 1 and 2 will take place at Allstate Arena on Wednesday, May 3 and Friday, May 5 before the series turns to Van Andel Arena for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday, May 6 and Monday, May 8. 

The complete schedule is as follows:

2017 Calder Cup Playoffs – Central Division Finals – Best of Seven Series.

**ALL GAMES AIR LIVE ON ESPN 961 FM**

Game 1

Wed., May 3

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves

8 p.m.

Game 2

Fri., May 5

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves

8 p.m.

Game 3

Sat., May 6

Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS

7 p.m.

Game 4

Mon., May 8

Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS

7 p.m.

*Game 5

Sat., May 13

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves

8 p.m.

*Game 6

Mon., May 15

Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS

7 p.m.

*Game 7

Tue., May 16

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves

8 p.m.

* If necessaryAll times Eastern and subject to change.

All games on ESPN 96.1 FM and AHLLive.comWhile the Wolves (44-19-8-5, 101 pts.) surpassed the Griffins (47-23-1-5, 100 pts.) in the standings with just one week remaining in the regular season then held on to win the Central Division by a single point, it was Grand Rapids that held the upper hand in the season series. The Griffins posted 4-1 records against Chicago both at home and on the road to claim eight of the 10 meetings overall, including each of the last five. However, three of Grand Rapids’ wins came in overtime, including 5-4 at Van Andel Arena on March 17 and 3-2 at Allstate Arena the following night to wrap up the regular season series.Storylines of the series include:

  • While Grand Rapids and Chicago have not met in the postseason since the Wolves’ 4-0 sweep in the 2004 West Division Semifinals, the Griffins have not had a more frequent playoff opponent. They posted a 1-3 series record against Chicago over a five-year span from 2000 to 2004, the high point being a sweep of the Wolves in the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals and the low being a 4-2 loss to Chicago in the 2000 IHL Turner Cup Finals;
  • The Griffins will have three players from their 2013 Calder Cup championship team – Mitch Callahan, Brian Lashoff and Nathan Paetsch – taking part in this series, while another member of that team, Chicago’s Landon Ferraro, has not played since mid-December due to injury. Chicago, which won IHL Turner Cups in 1998 and 2000 before claiming Calder Cups in 2002 and 2008, has one player on its roster from that last title team in left wing Brett Sterling, who returned to the Windy City this season following a three-year European campaign;
  • While the Wolves have former Griffins Ferraro (270 GP from 2009-10/11-15) and Jared Nightingale (2 GP in 2014-15) on their roster, Grand Rapids’ ties to Chicago run much deeper. Head coach Todd Nelson was an assistant coach for the Wolves for two seasons (2006-08), finishing his tenure by hoisting their last Calder Cup, while assistant coach Ben Simon played three seasons (196 GP from 2001-03/04-05) at Allstate Arena and celebrated the team’s first Calder Cup in 2002. In addition, goaltender Eddie Pasquale played the majority of his rookie pro season (2010-11) with the Wolves, posting an 11-11-1 record with a 2.93 goals against average in 24 appearances, and defensemen Conor Allen and Robbie Russo (Westmont, Ill.) both call Chicagoland home;
  • The Griffins have advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year, a run matched or surpassed only by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (2005-09 and 2011-16) since the AHL’s current 16-team playoff format was adopted in 2005. The Wolves, who missed the playoffs last spring, are coming off the franchise’s first series win since 2014 when they lost in the conference semifinals after winning the Midwest Division crown;
  • If the Griffins are to reach the conference finals for the third time in five years and the seventh time in franchise history, they’ll need to topple a No. 1 seed for just the second time in their postseason history. In last year’s division semifinals, the fourth-seeded Griffins swept division-champion Milwaukee.

Tickets for all division finals games at Van Andel Arena are available all Star Tickets locations, including The Zone, online through griffinshockey.com/tickets, by phone through Star Tickets at (800) 585-3737, or via the Griffins app for iPhone or Android.

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