Despite a 5-0 loss against the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday, the Grand Rapids Griffins secured their seventh straight Calder Cup playoff berth.
The Griffins (38-27-7-4) struggled down the stretch, losing their final nine games. They were without many of their top players — who had been called up to the Detroit Red Wings — for most of that stretch. The clinch came after the Manitoba Moose lost 4-2 in regulation to the Central Division-winning Chicago Wolves.
Saturday’s 5-0 loss was only the third game since eight players were assigned back to Grand Rapids after the Red Wings’ season ended last Saturday. In an early-game breakdown, the Griffins allowed three goals in the opening two minutes of the first period and the other two in the opening minutes of the second. They were unable to climb out of the hole, despite three third period power-play opportunities.
Matchups and dates for the best-of-five Central Division Semifinals are still to be determined, as the Admirals are back in action Sunday against the Rockford IceHogs. A Milwaukee win over the IceHogs would place Grand Rapids at fourth in the standings for a matchup with Chicago, while a loss for the Admirals would lead the Griffins to a faceoff against Iowa.