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Photo: D. Scott Dinn

Griffins open West Finals with 3-1 win

Grand Rapids began the Western Conference Finals with a 3-1 win over San Jose in Game 1 at SAP Center on Saturday night.

The best-of-seven series continues Sunday in San Jose (8 p.m. ET).

The Griffins took a 1-0 lead at 6:45 of the opening period when Mitch Callahan won a faceoff and then banged home a return pass from Eric Tangradi for his fourth goal of the postseason.

Just over three minutes later, Grand Rapids made is 2-0 as Ben Street stepped out from behind the Barracuda net and banked a shot in behind Troy Grosenick.

San Jose responded 41 seconds later as Kevin Labanc scored his third goal of the playoffs, cutting the deficit in half.

After a scoreless second period, Grand Rapids weathered a strong start to the third by the Barracuda and eventually regained its two-goal lead on Matthew Ford‘s power-play goal with 9:02 remaining in regulation.

Jared Coreau made 16 of his 26 saves in the third period as the Griffins won for the eighth time in nine games to begin the playoffs. Grand Rapids was 1-for-4 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill in the game.

Grosenick (7-4) finished with 25 saves for the Barracuda.

Western Conference Finals – Series “N” (best-of-7)
P1-San Jose Barracuda vs. C2-Grand Rapids Griffins
Game 1 – Sat., May 20 – Grand Rapids 3, SAN JOSE 1
Game 2 – Sun., May 21 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 8:00
Game 3 – Wed., May 24 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
Game 4 – Fri., May 26 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 5 – Sat., May 27 – San Jose at Grand Rapids, 7:00
*Game 6 – Tue., May 30 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00
*Game 7 – Wed., May 31 – Grand Rapids at San Jose, 10:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern