Former Vernon Lakers forward-captain Bruce Ramsay & the American
Hockey League Grand Rapids Griffins have advanced to the American Hockey League Calder Cup Finals after eliminating the AHL San Jose Barracuda in five games of the Western Conference Finals. Game 1 of the Calder Cup begins tonight in Grand Rapids.
Calder Cup Finals Preview,
Ramsay is in his second season as an Assistant Coach with the American Hockey League's (AHL) Grand Rapids Griffins. Ramsay spent the previous six seasons with the Tulsa Oilers. Five seasons with the Oilers in the Central Hockey League (CHL) before the team moved to the East Coast Hockey League. Ramsay has 382 victories as Head Coach with five different teams (St. Pete, Port Huron, Muskegon Fury, Muskegon Lumberjacks & Tulsa) in five different leagues (ACHL, UHL, IHL, CHL & ECHL).
Ramsay played one season in Vernon helping the 1989-90 Vernon Lakers win their first Centennial Cup in a thrilling 6-5 overtime win over the highly favorite New Westminster Royals. In 53 games with the Lakers Ramsay collected (11-goals-11-assists-22-points).
Bruce Ramsay's Player-Coaching Profile:
This was posted on the Griffins website:
NO WAY, JOSE!
Calder Cup Playoffs – Western Conference Finals – Game 5 – Grand Rapids Wins Series, 4-1
San Jose Barracuda 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 4
May 27, 2017
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – For the second time in five years, the Grand Rapids Griffins will play for the Calder Cup.
With Saturday’s 4-2 win over the San Jose Barracuda in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, the Griffins completed a 4-1 triumph over the conference’s top seed and advanced to the Calder Cup Finals for the first time since 2013, when they beat the Syracuse Crunch in six games to claim their first championship.
Now a perfect 7-0 at Van Andel Arena during the playoffs, the Griffins will enjoy home-ice advantage in the finals against that same Crunch team, which wrapped up the Eastern Conference title tonight with a 3-1 victory over Providence in Game 5. Grand Rapids will host Games 1 and 2 on Friday, June 2 and Saturday, June 3 before the series shifts to Syracuse for the first of as many as three games. Click here for the complete schedule.
As for this night, Matt Lorito scored a pair of goals to turn a 2-1 lead into a 4-1 cushion, and Jared Coreau made 39 saves to improve to 11-2 in the postseason. The Barracuda’s season ended with three consecutive regulation losses, a first for them during the entire 2016-17 regular season and playoffs.
The Griffins registered only one shot in the first 13 minutes of the game but they made it count, as a trailing Brian Lashoff skated into the San Jose zone, took a cross-ice pass from Tyler Bertuzzi at the top of the left circle and blistered a slap shot into Troy Grosenick’s net just 24 seconds in.
Aided by an early power play, the motivated Barracuda then amassed 10 consecutive shots on goal, but Coreau was up to the challenge, eventually stopping all 12 shots he faced during the period.
Colin Campbell set up Matthew Ford to give the Griffins a 2-0 lead on their fifth shot with 3:49 left in the period. Teaming up with Dominic Turgeon to win a battle along the left boards, Campbell collected the puck below the goal line and skated behind the net before sending a feed out front to Ford, who slammed a shot home from the slot for his seventh goal of the postseason.
San Jose’s shot advantage finally bore fruit 1:02 into the second period. A turnover behind Grand Rapids’ net turned into a point-black chance for Timo Meier, who popped a shot past Coreau’s glove from the slot.
But the Griffins’ power play connected for the 11th straight game at the 11:42 mark, making it a 3-1 contest despite the Barracuda’s 20-12 shot margin to that point. Following a chance by Tomas Nosek, Lorito gloved the puck down at the right post and quickly swatted it over the line.
Lorito struck again 4:53 into the third to all but salt the game away, scoring from the edge of the right circle for the first two-goal playoff game of his career. San Jose’s Daniel O’Regan tallied on a redirection from the doorstep with 4:31 remaining to make it interesting, especially when Grosenick headed to the bench for an extra attacker a minute later, but the Griffins withstood the Barracuda’s final push to claim their 11th series win in the last five years.
Grosenick, the AHL’s Goaltender of the Year, made 22 saves and finished the series with a 3.73 goals against average and a 0.892 save percentage.
Notes: The raucous crowd of 8,876 was the Griffins’ second-largest ever for a conference finals game (22 games), and the average of 7,864 over the three games was the team’s largest for a conference final (seven series)…The Griffins have won the last seven games overall and the last four at home in which their playoff opponent faced elimination.
Three Stars: 1. GR Coreau (W, 39 saves); 2. GR Lorito (two goals); 3. GR Nosek (two assists)