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Griffins beat Heat in Calder Cup playoffs

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According to the American Hockey League website, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Abbotsford Heat 2-1 on Friday evening in game one of the Western Conference quarterfinal series of the American Hockey League's Calder Cup playoffs. The game was played in Abbotsford, British Columbia in front of a crowd of 2,420.

The Griffins, an affliate of the Detroit Red Wings, needed double overtime to beat the Heat, the top minor league affiliate of the Calgary Flames. Defenseman Ryan Sproul of Toronto, Ontario, the Red Wings' third pick, 55th overall in the 2011 National Hockey League Entry Draft, scored the game winning goal with 34 seconds left in double overtime.

It was an outstanding game for Sproul who led the Griffins with six shots on goal. That is an impressive total for a defenseman even though the game lasted almost five total periods. Markus Granlund meanwhile led the Heat with eight shots on net.

The Heat opened the scoring at 11:44 of the first period when center Brett Olson scored past Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek. Olson, who was undrafted, signed a contract with the Heat on October 9, 2012. Undrafted, Olson, a native of Superior, Wisconsin, attended Michigan Tech for four years before his time with Abbotsford.

The Griffins then tied the hockey game up with 7:23 left in the third period when defenseman Mattias Backman shot the puck past Heat goaltender Joni Ortio. Despite 39 saves, Ortio lost to Griffins goaltender Petr Mrazek who made 55 saves.

Both Ortio and Mrazek played for the Flames and Red Wings this season. Ortio went 4-4 with a 2.51 goals against average and a .891 save percentage with Calgary, while Mrazek went 2-4 with a 1.74 goals against average and a .927 save percentage with Detroit. Game two of the series will be in Abbotsford on Saturday night before the best out of five series switches to Grand Rapids on Wednesday.

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