GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Grand Rapids Griffins said they wanted to take care of business at home and then made sure they did.
The Griffins defeated the San Jose Barracuda, 4-2, Saturday night at Van Andel Arena to win the series, 4-1, and advance to the Calder Cup Finals as the Western Conference champion.
The Griffins extended their franchise record home winning streak to seven games.
Now instead of having to travel across the country again for a Game 6 in San Jose, the Griffins will get a couple of days off and then begin preparing to face the Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Crunch, the AHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who eliminated the Providence Bruins Saturday night.
The Calder Cup Finals begin Friday night at Van Andel Arena.
1. Jared Coreau: It is sometimes difficult for a goaltender to get into a rhythm when he is not facing a lot of shots. That was certainly not the case for Coreau in the first period against the Barracuda. Coreau was tested early and often as the Barracuda had an early 11-3 shot advantage. At 13:25 of the first, Coreau had to stop Daniel O'Regan on a partial 2-on-1, preserving a one-goal lead. The Griffins took a few penalties and Coreau was there. The Barracuda were 0-for-4 with the power play. Coreau finished with 39 saves on 41 shots.
Quotable: "I don't know yet. I'll have to think about that. I'm kind of just trying to keep even-keeled right now. I want to relax for a couple of days but I think Tuesday when we get back to work and I'll look at the AHL app and just see Syracuse and Grand Rapids playoff matchup, we'll be the last two teams. It's good for everyone in the room, it's good for everyone individually. If the team wins, everyone wins." -- Coreau
Quotable II: "He was unreal. He stops the breakaway. He gave us a chance to win. We were talking as a staff. We were saying there's a game that he might have to steal for us. I'm not sure if he stole it for us, but he certainly played extremely well and gave us a chance." - Griffins coach Todd Nelson
2. Matt Lorito : After spending last season with Albany, Lorito joined the Detroit organization this past offseason on a two-year contract. Lorito had 22 goals and 34 assists in 61 games during the regular season. Lorito scored on the power play at 11:42 of the second period. In the third period with the Barracuda buzzing, Kyle Criscuolo stole the puck from San Jose and got it to Evgeny Svechnikov along the right boards. Svechnikov gave it to Lorito in the right circle and Lorito buried it at 4:53 to give the Griffins a 4-1 lead. Lorito is tied with Tomas Nosek and Matthew Ford for most playoff goals with seven.
Quotable: "That's nice. I'm just trying to chip in as much as I can. I think that's the biggest thing about our team is we've got four lines that can go out and score at any time. Our fourth line got a big goal in the first period there. Our power play was kind of getting a little stagnant there so when we went out there for that power play, I wanted to make sure we were good. We made a nice play, kind of a set play that we were trying to run. Obviously Marty breaks his stick and kind of gets a little lucky bounce to me, I just wanted to make sure I put it in. Then Crisco made a nice play on the back check and Geno made a nice pass to me. I had time and space so I just looked up and tried to pick my spot. Just lucky it went in." - Lorito
3. Colin Campbell/Matthew Ford: The Griffins had a 1-0 lead but were under siege from the Barracuda in the first period. Campbell got the puck behind the San Jose net, fighting off the Barracuda defender long enough for Matthew Ford to get in position in the low slot. Campbell delivered the puck to Ford, who beat Barracuda goaltender Troy Grosenick at 16:11, giving the Griffins a 2-0 lead. It was just Campbell's second point in 11 playoff games. For Ford, he tied Tomas Nosek for the team lead in goals with seven.
Quotable: "We don't have (a fourth line), I can list the lines in any form. That line was excellent tonight, it was nice to see them get a goal. All three guys are on the penalty kill, they're very dependable. They are a big part of our hockey team. You have to have different parts to your hockey team. They're the unsung heroes as far as I'm concerned. They go out there and work hard, anytime we need a shift for energy, they're there for us. They did an outstanding job." - Nelson
4. Brian Lashoff: Lashoff, one of three Griffins along with Nathan Paetsch and Mitch Callahan who won the Calder Cup in 2013, is known for his penalty killing and defense. But just 24 seconds into the first period, Lashoff unleashed a rocket of a shot that Grosenick had to chance to stop. It gave the Griffins the very early lead and set the Barracuda back on their heels. It was Lashoff's first goal of these playoffs. He had two goals in nine playoff games last season.
Quotable: "With our fans, it's huge for us, right? They never came back from that. Lashoff tries that shot on me sometimes in practice. It doesn't work. I'm happy it went in for him today. Once you get that early start, it puts a little bit of doubt in their heads early on. But they made a great push. Credit to them, they stuck with it." - Coreau