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Comets Calder Cup Run: Comets oust Griffins and advance to Calder Cup.

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The AHL championship final gets underway on Saturday night with Game 1 of the Calder Cup coming from Manchester at 6 PM EDT.

Courtesy of the Utica Comets

Courtesy of the Utica Comets

The Utica Comets knocked out the 2013 Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins in six games with a 2-0 Game 6 shutout victory on Tuesday night and will face the Manchester Monarchs in the 2015 Calder Cup championship.

Cory Conacher lead the way picking up his third goal in four games after scoring  only once in the first eleven games of the Comets playoff run. The feisty trade deadline acquisition took on more of an agitating role in the series by being a pain in the backside of several Grand Rapids players where he was successfully able to draw penalties despite taking a few questionable cheap infractions himself.

Alexandre Grenier would add an empty netter with 1:14 left to seal the deal and send the Comets to their first AHL championship in only their second year of existence.

The last Canucks team to qualify for the Calder Cup was the 2008/09 edition Manitoba Moose that featured Cory Schneider, Michael Grabner and Cody Hodgson headlining the roster. The Moose ended up bowing out in six games to the Hershey Bears.

The Comets went with the same lineup group for the second straight game which kept Canucks prospect Nicklas Jensen out of the Comets lineup. Jensen has recorded only 2 goals and 1 assist in 14 postseason games with the Comets.

Period one was relatively even with the Comets edging the Griffins 9-6 in the shots margin.

Utica dominated the middle stanza and jumped on the board 3:16 into the second period when Cal O'Reilly registered his league leading 15th assist by weaving through the neutral zone on a clean zone entry down the far wall before cutting back into the slot and dishing over to Cory Conacher. Coanacher made no mistake and snapped one past Grand Rapids goaltender Thomas McCullom to give the Comets a 1-0 advantage.

Jake Virtanen found himself playing on the Comets second line with Sven Baertschi and Alex Friesen for the third game in a row. Virtanen was a physical force in the series impressing Canucks fans with his unique ability to execute reverse hits and the powerful presence of plowing through players while in possession of the puck rushing into the offensive zone.

Jacob Markstrom recorded his second shutout of the postseason and improved his playoff record to 11-7 with a 1.87 GAA and a .930 SV %. The Canucks mammoth goaltender has emerged as a definite possibility for the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy -- awarded to the American Hockey League's playoff MVP.  The Swedish Canucks goaltender stopped 10 shots in the third period alone for 21 saves on the night. Markstrom and the Comets held the offensively potent Griffins to only eleven goals in six games after the Griffins averaged 3.70 in the first two rounds.

Grand Rapids failed to convert on their four man advantages.


SCORING 1 2 3 T
Grand Rapids 0 0 0 0
Utica 0 1 1 2
SHOTS 1 2 3 T
Grand Rapids 6 4 11 21
Utica 9 13 7 29
PP PIM PTS
Grand Rapids 0 / 4 6 min / 3 inf 0 G + 0 A = 0 Pts
Utica 0 / 3 8 min / 4 inf 2 G + 3 A = 5 Pts


V-H # Per Team Time Goals Assists Type On Ice (+/-)
0 - 1 1 2nd UTI 3:16 C. Conacher (4) C. O'Reilly, P. Andersson V 3 4 9 10 25 H 6 16 28 40 89
0 - 2 2 3rd UTI 18:46 A. Grenier (5) A. Clendening EN V 6 9 14 16 21 39 H 16 28 29 44 89


GRAND RAPIDS ROSTER
No Name G A +/- Sh PIM
G 30 T. McCollum 0 0 0 0 0
G 31 J. Coreau 0 0 0 0 0
D 3 A. Marchenko 0 0 -1 1 2
D 4 N. Paetsch 0 0 -1 0 0
RW 6 T. Pulkkinen 0 0 -1 5 0
LW 8 A. Mantha 0 0 0 0 0
RW 9 M. Zengerle 0 0 -2 0 0
LW 10 J. Hoggan 0 0 -1 1 0
RW 11 Z. Nastasiuk 0 0 0 1 0
C 12 K. Porter 0 0 0 0 0
D 14 N. Jensen 0 0 -1 1 0
D 16 X. Ouellet 0 0 -1 3 0
RW 17 C. Campbell 0 0 0 0 0
D 18 B. Lashoff 0 0 0 1 0
C 21 A. Miele 0 0 -1 3 0
C 22 L. Aubry 0 0 0 0 4
C 23 A. Athanasiou 0 0 0 2 0
C 25 D. Larkin 0 0 -1 1 0
LW 39 T. Bertuzzi 0 0 -1 2 0
D 44 B. Evans 0 0 0 0 0
Team:
Totals: 0 0 -11 21 6
GRAND RAPIDS GOALIES
No Name Min SH SVS GA
30 T. McCollum (L) 58:08 28 27 1
Empty Net 1 1
Totals: 58:08 29 27 2
UTICA ROSTER
No Name G A +/- Sh PIM
G 30 J. Eriksson 0 0 0 0 0
G 33 J. Markstrom 0 0 0 0 0
D 3 A. Biega 0 0 0 1 0
D 6 B. Sanguinetti 0 0 +1 1 0
C 8 A. Friesen 0 0 0 0 0
LW 9 H. Shinkaruk 0 0 0 3 0
LW 10 B. Gaunce 0 0 0 3 2
C 14 M. Zalewski 0 0 0 2 2
C 16 C. O'Reilly 0 1 +2 3 0
RW 18 J. Virtanen 0 0 0 0 2
RW 24 B. DeFazio 0 0 0 1 0
D 26 F. Corrado 0 0 0 0 0
RW 28 A. Grenier 1 0 +2 3 0
D 29 K. Huskins 0 0 +1 0 0
C 36 W. Hamilton 0 0 0 2 2
D 40 P. Andersson 0 1 +1 2 0
C 41 W. Acton 0 0 0 0 0
D 44 A. Clendening 0 1 +1 0 0
LW 47 S. Baertschi 0 0 0 6 0
LW 89 C. Conacher 1 0 +2 2 0
Team:
Totals: 2 3 10 29 8
UTICA GOALIES
No Name Min SH SVS GA
33 J. Markstrom (W) 60:00 21 21 0
Totals: 60:00 21 21 0
PENALTIES
P T Player M Offense Time
1st H W. Hamilton 2.00 Delay of game 6:11
1st V A. Marchenko 2.00 Cross-checking 9:54
1st V L. Aubry 2.00 Tripping 13:53
1st H B. Gaunce 2.00 High-sticking 15:06
2nd H M. Zalewski 2.00 Boarding 7:44
2nd V L. Aubry 2.00 High-sticking 14:43
2nd H J. Virtanen 2.00 Hooking 17:24

Courtesy of the Utica Comets

Courtesy of the Utica Comets

The Comets will head to Manchester on Saturday for Game 1 of the Calder Cup championship at 6PM EDT. Both teams were the number one seed in their respective conferences.

Manchester (Los Angeles Kings) defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack (New York Rangers) in four straight games. The Monachers are lead by AHL point scoring league Jordan Weal, as well as Paul Bissonnette aka Biz Nasty.

There is a chance that prospect Cole Cassels may sign an ATO with the Comets allowing him to play in the AHL final. John Shannon of Sportsnet tweeted that Cassels is unlikely to play because he's nursing some bumps and bruises following the Oshawa Generals successful OHL and Memorial Cup championships runs.

Courtesy of the Utica Comets

Courtesy of the Utica Comets