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Ultimate Jordan: Pearce emerges

Published Wednesday, February 16, 2011, 12:01 a.m. under 2010-11 RWC Reports
Jordan Pearce

Jordan Pearce (Credit: Mark Newman/Grand Rapids Griffins)

When the Detroit Red Wings signed Joey MacDonald last summer, you couldn’t have predicted the season unfolding as it has for Jordan Pearce.

MacDonald, a solid veteran, was supposed to handle a slight majority of the Grand Rapids Griffins’ goaltending work, while former first-round pick Thomas McCollum was expected to pick up the remaining starts.

But with the Griffins desperately clinging to the hope of grabbing one of the final playoff spots in the American Hockey League’s North Division, it’s Pearce, an unheralded 24-year-old, who has emerged as the man in goal.

Pearce, who looked ticketed for a full year in the East Coast Hockey League, has appeared in 13 games in the new year to just six for MacDonald and McCollum combined. MacDonald, of course, has been filling in for Chris Osgood with the Red Wings, and McCollum is struggling to find his game.

Since his first 2011 appearance on Jan. 6, Pearce has gone 5-4-2 with a sparkling 2.67 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. Those numbers completely blow away McCollum’s and are slightly better than MacDonald’s.

“When you get to play game after game, you get settled down and your confidence goes up,” Pearce told the Grand Rapids Press earlier this month. “It’s kind of hard when you start here and there. It’s hard to be on top of your game, but hopefully I can keep playing well, and the guys in front of me can keep playing well, and we can make a big push for the playoffs. We need the points.”

It’s been an impressive breakthrough for the former Notre Dame star, who graduated on the Dean’s List with a double-major in anthropology and pre-professional (pre-med) studies. He was never drafted and signed as a free agent with the Red Wings after posting eight shutouts in 39 games in 2008-09.

Although Pearce plans to pursue a career in medicine, his strong play likely has earned him another contract with Detroit this summer and perhaps a longer career in hockey than many might have initially projected.

The Griffins were 23-24-1-6 as of Wednesday, eight points behind the Abbotsford Heat for the final North Division playoff spot.

Following is this week’s statistical update for skaters and goaltenders:

NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP G A P PIM +/- SOG
Nestrasil, Andrej P.E.I. QMJHL 45 15 37 52 26 +4 130
Fournier, Gleason Rimouski QMJHL 47 11 27 38 46 -2 46
Aubry, Louis-Marc Montreal QMJHL 22 11 9 20 18 +10 70
Parkes, Trevor Montreal QMJHL 48 26 22 48 22 +19 172
Ferraro, Landon Everett WHL 37 9 16 25 42 0
Callahan, Mitchell Kelowna WHL 46 19 27 46 69 +5
Macek, Brooks Tri-City WHL 53 12 24 36 30 -7
Stolyarov, Gennady Dynamo Msk KHL 20 2 4 6 23 -7 32
Pulkkinen, Teemu Jokerit FIN 45 16 26 42 14 +15
Almquist, Adam HV-71 SEL 45 0 16 16 26 +18
Jarnkrok, Calle Brynas SEL 41 10 13 23 4 +1
Axelsson, Dick Farjestad SEL 41 13 14 27 120 +4
Axelsson, Anton Timra SEL 28 5 8 13 4 -2
Samuelsson, Jesper Vita Hasten SWE-3 18 9 13 22 35
Smith, Brendan Grand Rapids AHL 42 8 14 22 73 +5 73
Mursak, Jan Grand Rapids AHL 35 11 13 24 29 +8 89
Tatar, Tomas Grand Rapids AHL 44 12 23 35 33 +15 91
Pare, Francis Grand Rapids AHL 54 13 22 35 40 -15 158
Ehrhardt, Travis Grand Rapids AHL 37 4 8 12 28 +1 43
Pyett, Logan Grand Rapids AHL 48 6 9 15 32 -13 83
Andersson, Joakim Grand Rapids AHL 53 4 7 11 18 -5 69
Emmerton, Cory Grand Rapids AHL 40 7 18 25 18 +5 68
Coetzee, Willie Grand Rapids AHL 25 0 5 5 8 -7 42
Kolosov, Sergei Grand Rapids AHL 43 0 1 1 37 -7 38
Lashoff, Brian Grand Rapids AHL 21 0 2 2 15 -3 16
Owens, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 53 6 13 19 88 -12 85
Filppula, Ilari Grand Rapids AHL 51 18 22 40 16 -1 93
Raedeke, Brent Grand Rapids AHL 47 5 3 8 17 0 55
Piche, Sebastien Grand Rapids AHL 11 0 2 2 13 -4 15
Piche, Sebastien Toledo ECHL 28 4 13 17 27 -6 96
Coetzee, Willie Toledo ECHL 11 5 3 8 4 0 52
Lashoff, Brian Toledo ECHL 3 0 1 1 0 -1 10
Nyquist, Gustav Maine NCAA 28 13 23 36 8 -2 121
Nicastro, Max Boston U. NCAA 29 3 3 6 49 -6 38
Oslund, Nick St. Cloud St. NCAA 22 2 1 3 8 -3 35
Jensen, Nick St. Cloud St. NCAA 30 5 11 16 16 -7 47
Sheahan, Riley Notre Dame NCAA 28 2 13 15 16 -7 63
Rufenach, Bryan Clarkson NCAA 28 3 5 8 12 +1 74
Cayer, Julien Clarkson NCAA 19 2 5 7 20 +7 20
Marshall, Ben Omaha USHL 37 5 15 20 22 +24 89
NAME TEAM LEAGUE GP W L T SO GAA SV%
Mrazek, Petr Ottawa OHL 44 28 13 2 4 2.79 .922
Larsson, Daniel HV-71 SEL 40 2 2.37 .922
McCollum, Thomas Grand Rapids AHL 20 6 11 2 1 3.18 .881
Pearce, Jordan Toledo ECHL 8 3 4 1 1 4.13 .883
Pearce, Jordan Grand Rapids AHL 18 7 5 3 0 2.84 .909
McCollum, Thomas Toledo ECHL 5 3 1 0 1 2.55 .913

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