UTICA, NY — The Grand Rapids Griffins have had some of the best goaltending in the American Hockey League all season.
The one team with better stats between the pipes than the Griffins has now ended their season.
Utica’s Jacob Markstrom stopped every Grand Rapids shot he faced on Tuesday, outdueling the Griffins’ Tom McCollum in a 2-0 Comets win, clinching the Western Conference title for Utica — and knocking Grand Rapids out of the playoffs.
Cory Conacher scored the only goal of the game, breaking a scoreless tie 3:16 into the second period. McCollum stopped the other 27 Comets shots before Utica added an empty-netter late.
The Comets will face Manchester in the Calder Cup Finals.
The Game 6 loss may mark the end of Jeff Blashill’s tenure in Grand Rapids. The 41-year-old — in his third year with the Griffins — is expected to be named the new head coach of the Detroit Red Wings in the coming weeks.