This Week’s Games
Fri., Jan. 15 - Peoria Rivermen at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Jan. 16 - Hamilton Bulldogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., Jan. 17 - Rockford IceHogs at GRIFFINS - 4 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Mon., Jan. 18 - 2010 AHL All-Star Skills Competition (Portland, Maine) - 8 p.m. - Fox Sports Detroit (Tape Delay – Wed., Jan. 20 at 3 p.m.)
Tue., Jan. 19 - 2010 AHL All-Star Game (Portland, Maine) - 6 p.m. - Fox Sports Detroit (Tape Delay – Sun., Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.)
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Jan. 6 - San Antonio Rampage 3 at GRIFFINS 2 - 19-18-0-1, 39 pts. (5th, North Division)
Fri., Jan. 8 - GRIFFINS 6 at Rochester Americans 3 - 20-18-0-1, 41 pts. (5th)
Sat., Jan. 9 - GRIFFINS 2 at Hamilton Bulldogs 5 - 20-19-0-1, 41 pts. (5th)
Three Times the Fun: This weekend will mark the second time this season and just the fifth time in the Griffins’ 14-year history that they play three home games in as many nights, and the promotional schedule is just as busy as the game schedule. Friday vs. Peoria: Dollar beers and dollar dogs from 6-8 p.m., Jamie Tardif jersey card giveaway (first 1,500 fans) courtesy of Centennial Securities, Neil Diamond tribute performance by Theron Denson (a.k.a. “The Black Diamond”), College Night, and special ticket discounts for Griffins Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Saturday vs. Hamilton: Faith and Family Night presented by Bethany Christian Services and Appletree Christian Learning Centers, youth jersey giveaway (first 1,500 kids 12 and younger), Girl Scout Cookie Kickoff, and a post-game autograph session with Griffins players in the Huntington Club. Sunday vs. Rockford: $1 Pepsi products and $1 Cole’s Breadsticks from 3-5 p.m., Griffins player card strip giveaway (first 1,000 kids 12 and younger) courtesy of Play N Trade Alpine, Fan 4-Pack ticket deal, Library Night, and a post-game open skate.
Tough Sledding: Tonight, the Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will square off in their fifth annual sled hockey game at Griff’s IceHouse. The Sled Wings, a talented team of physically challenged teenagers sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, have a two-year winning streak in the event. Starting at 6 p.m., fans can try a sled out on the ice ($1 donation), challenge a Griffins player to air hockey or bubble hockey ($3 donation), or participate in a free autograph session with Griffins players. Game time is 7 p.m., and admission is $5 at the door (free to children two and younger). All proceeds benefit the Sled Wings and the Griffins Youth Foundation.
The Maine Event: Griffins center Patrick Rissmiller will play for the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team at the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held next Monday and Tuesday (Jan. 18-19) at the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine. Rissmiller, the first Griffins forward to be selected to play in an AHL All-Star Classic since Kip Miller captained PlanetUSA at the 2007 edition in Winnipeg, will be joined in Portland by five former Griffins: forwards Alexandre Giroux (Hershey), Darren Haydar (Lake Erie) and Ryan Keller (Binghamton), and defensemen Danny Groulx (Worcester) of the Canadian AHL All-Star Team, as well as forward Mark Cullen (Rockford) of the PlanetUSA All-Star Team. Monday’s All-Star Skills Competition and Tuesday’s All-Star Game will both be shown on a tape delayed basis by Fox Sports Detroit, with the skills event airing on Wed., Jan. 20 at 3 p.m. and the game showing on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 1 p.m.
Worth Noting: Last Friday, the Griffins dealt Rochester its league-low third regulation loss on home ice this season…Grand Rapids’ offense ranks third in the AHL in goals per game (3.23)…The Griffins are on pace to win at least 40 games for the second straight year and the tenth time in their 14 seasons.
Mursak on Fire: Jan Mursak’s recent five-game goal streak (Dec. 31-Jan. 8) was the longest by a Griffin since Donald MacLean scored in a team-record eight straight games from Feb. 25-March 14, 2006. Mursak, who has points in eight of his last 10 games (7-1—8), is now tied for fifth in the AHL with 17 goals.
Hit the Ground Running: After missing six straight games while with the parent club, Mattias Ritola returned to Grand Rapids’ lineup last week to tally a goal in both weekend games (2-1—3), giving him goals in four of his last five games as a Griffin (4-1—5). He has logged five games over two stints with the Red Wings this season, showing an average ice time of 11:41, nine shots and an even rating.
Who’s Hot?: Reebok/AHL Player of the Week nominee Francis Lemieux tied a career high with three points (2-1—3) in Friday’s 6-3 win at Rochester, earning First Star honors. He has points in four of seven games (2-5—7) since his Dec. 28 recall from ECHL Las Vegas…Logan Pyett notched the first three-point game (0-3—3) of his AHL career during Friday’s victory and has points in two of the last three games (1-3—4)…Francis Pare has points in four of the last seven contests (3-3—6) and has contributed seven goals and 14 points in his last 17 outings…Andy Delmore, who had a three-game point streak (1-3—4) come to an end last Wednesday, has points in four of the last six games (1-4—5)…Jamie Tardif has goals in consecutive games and points in three of the last four contests (2-1—3)…Tomas Tatar has points in two straight games (1-2—3)…Rookie goalie Jordan Pearce, who has made two straight starts for the Griffins, stopped 32 of 35 shots on Friday in Rochester to record his first AHL win.
Galvin Released: The Griffins today released defenseman Tom Galvin from his professional tryout. Galvin, who tallied 39 points (3-36—39) in 187 games with Grand Rapids from 2006-09, contributed one assist during a four-game stint that began Dec. 31.
Winter Potholes: Prior to Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Rampage, Grand Rapids had allowed at least five goals in four straight home games and in six of its previous seven contests overall…After giving up 75 goals in their first 27 games this season (2.78 GAA), the Griffins have surrendered 61 in their last 13 contests (4.69 GAA), a stretch during which they’ve posted a 3-9-0-1 mark…Grand Rapids’ starting netminder has been pulled in six of the last 10 games.
Hurray for Howard!: Last Thursday, Griffins alumnus Jimmy Howard (2005-09) made a career-high 51 saves to lead the Detroit Red Wings to a 2-1 win at Los Angeles. Now heralded as a potential Calder Trophy candidate, Howard ranks third in the NHL with a 0.928 save percentage and fourth with a 2.14 GAA.
Fri., Jan. 15 vs. Peoria Rivermen (20-15-1-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 14-12-1-2 Overall, 6-6-1-1 Home. Season Series: 3-1-0-1 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Home. Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Rick Wamsley (1st season). Notes: The Rivermen are 1-2-0-1 since Rick Wamsley assumed the head coaching reins from Davis Payne (now head coach of the St. Louis Blues) on Jan. 2…Since winning the season’s first three meetings by a combined 9-3 margin, the Griffins have dropped two straight to Peoria (3-4 SOL on Dec. 15, 1-5 L on Dec. 27)…Peoria’s Lars Eller stands third in scoring among AHL rookies (6-22—28)…The Rivermen own the best road power play in the league (22.1%) and are second overall (21.7%).
Sat., Jan. 16 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (26-9-3-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 20-25-1-0-2 Overall, 11-10-1-0-2 Home. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Third of six meetings overall, second of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Guy Boucher (1st season). Notes: The Griffins have been outscored by a cumulative 12-5 count in their two meetings with the Bulldogs this season…Hamilton’s 0.707 winning percentage and 58 points both rank second in the AHL to Hershey (0.769, 60)…The Bulldogs boast two of the league’s top nine goalies in Cedrick Desjardins (1.68 GAA, 2nd) and Curtis Sanford (2.26 GAA, 9th), the backbones of a defense that is tied for the AHL lead in goals allowed per game (2.15)…Dating to last season, the Griffins have dropped five straight regular season contests to Hamilton.
Sun., Jan. 17 vs. Rockford IceHogs (21-18-2-2) – Van Andel Arena – 4 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 3:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 5-4-1-1 Overall, 3-3-0-0 Home. Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Overall, 0-2-0-0 Home. Fourth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Bill Peters (2nd season). Notes: All three games between the Griffins and IceHogs this season have been decided by a single goal, with Grand Rapids earning its first win 5-4 in a shootout in Rockford on Jan. 2…Former Griffin Mark Cullen (2007-08) is tied for 12th in AHL scoring and leads the IceHogs with 13 goals (tied), 24 assists, 37 points and five power play goals (tied).