The American Hockey League Western Conference finals is now a best-of-three showdown that will determine which team plays Syracuse for the Calder Cup trophy.
Grand Rapids built a three-goal lead midway through the second period, and goaltender Petr Mrazek recorded 40 saves to lead the Griffins to a 4-0 win over the Oklahoma City Barons Saturday night in front of 3,027 fans at the Cox Convention Center.
The best-of-7 seven series is tied 2-2.
Rescheduled Game 5 is Sunday at 4 p.m. at the Cox Convention Center. Game 6 will be Tuesday night in Grand Rapids. If necessary, Game 7 would be played Wednesday night in Grand Rapids.
“They played with some desperation,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “They're a good hockey team ... Grand Rapids got the jump early and their goaltender played unbelievable.”
The Griffins got a boost from two players Detroit assigned to the team Thursday after the Red Wings were eliminated in the NHL Playoffs.
Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist helped the Griffins go 2-for-2 on the power play after they were 0-of-9 in the first three games with the man advantage.
“They're definitely different with those two guys,” Nelson said. “They're more dynamic with those two guys. But it's not like that line killed us. Their scoring was spread out. It came down to it was a total team effort on their part and a total team loss on our part.”
The Griffins made it 2-0 in the opening two minutes of the second period when Riley Sheahan took advantage of an OKC turnover.
Grand Rapids went up 3-0 midway through the second period on a give-and-go goal by Landon Ferraro and Chad Billins. The Griffins added an empty-net, power-play goal from Jan Mursak with 1:49 remaining.
One goal proved to be enough for Mrazek, a 21-year-old Czech rookie who could be the Red Wings' backup goaltender at some point next season. Mrazek recorded his third shutout of the playoffs.
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