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HOLDING DOWN THE FORT

This Week’s Games
Tue., Jan. 18 - GRIFFINS at Texas Stars - 8:30 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Fri., Jan. 21 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Sat., Jan. 22 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 8 p.m. -
Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Thu., Jan. 13 - GRIFFINS 5 at San Antonio Rampage 2 - 18-18-1-4, 41 pts. (T4th, North Division) 

Sat., Jan. 15 - GRIFFINS 1 at Houston Aeros 2 - 18-19-1-4, 41 pts. (6th)

Sun., Jan. 16 - GRIFFINS 3 at Houston Aeros 2 SO - 19-19-1-4, 43 pts. (6th) 

Almost Time to Unpack: The Griffins, who snapped a season-high five-game road losing streak with Thursday’s 5-2 win at San Antonio, will complete a season-high six-game road trip (2-3-0-0) Tuesday at Texas before returning home this weekend to host the Chicago Wolves on Friday and Saturday. Grand Rapids is 6-2 in its last eight games at Van Andel Arena.

Fun at the Van: Fri. vs. CHI – For ‘80s Night, fans are encouraged to attend the game in their best attire from the decade, as they enjoy ‘80s-themed music and promotions throughout the night. Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs returns from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), while other promotions include College Night and the D-Zone. Sat. vs. CHI (Special 8 p.m. faceoff) – The first 3,000 fans will receive a Griffins Jimmy Howard bobblehead, thanks to Huntington, while the famous ZOOperstars! will perform during both intermissions. Fans can purchase the Griffins’ new Popcorn Pack and stick around for the Huntington Post-Game Autograph Session and the J & H Family Stores Post-Game Skate. The Great Skate at Rosa Parks Circle will also begin as the game wraps up at Van Andel Arena.

Where We Stand: Despite being in sixth place (43 pts.) in the North Division, the Griffins stand just four points behind third-place Toronto (47) and a playoff spot. Grand Rapids is also six points behind second-place Manitoba.

Low Return on Investment: The Griffins have allowed two goals or less in six of their last eight games but have just a 4-4 mark to show for it. Only three times during that span have they scored at least three goals.

Great Skate Winterfest: Celebrate winter in our city and skate with Griffins players this weekend at the Great Skate Winterfest at Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids. Enjoy a day full of winter-inspired events, sports demonstrations and family activities starting at noon on Saturday, followed by the annual 24-hour skating marathon with Griffins players that begins at 10 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m. Sunday. Fans can help raise money for the Griffins Youth Foundation by sponsoring a Griffins player or collecting pledges for their own participation in the Great Skate. Admission to the Great Skate Winterfest is free, but donations are encouraged and certain activity fees apply. For more information, including a schedule of Griffins skating times, visit griffinshockey.com/greatskate.

MacDonald Earns NHL Win: On Saturday, Joey MacDonald made 25 saves in the Red Wings’ 6-5 overtime victory against Columbus. It marked MacDonald’s first NHL win since Dec. 3, 2009, when he made 33 saves to backstop the Maple Leafs to a 6-3 win over the Blue Jackets, and his first win as a Red Wing since a 16-save performance on Feb. 11, 2007 that helped Detroit beat Calgary 7-4. In four appearances with the Wings this season, MacDonald now shows a 2.36 GAA and a 0.907 save percentage – both tops among Detroit netminders – and a 1-1-1 record.

Meanwhile, Down on the Farm: Goaltender Jordan Pearce earned the Griffins’ nomination for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award today after going 2-1 with a 1.96 GAA and a 0.935 save percentage while playing in all three games last week. After stopping an AHL career-high 42 shots in Thursday’s impressive 5-2 road win over a powerful San Antonio squad, he made 21 stops in Saturday’s tough 2-1 loss at Houston, then helped the Griffins rally from two-goal deficits in both regulation and the shootout on Sunday for a stunning 3-2 victory over the Aeros. In 10 appearances for the club this season, Pearce owns a 4-3-1 record with a 3.02 GAA and a team-high 0.900 save percentage.

You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello: The Red Wings on Saturday recalled goaltender Thomas McCollum and left wing Tomas Tatar from the Griffins, who in turn signed goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris to a professional tryout. Grumet-Morris, 28, has played 23 games for the ECHL’s Greenville Road Warriors this season, ranking either first or second in the league with 15 wins (15-7-1, T2nd), a 2.25 GAA (2nd), a 0.924 save percentage (1st) and three shutouts (T1st). A 2005 graduate of Harvard University, Grumet-Morris posted a 1.32 GAA and a 0.935 save percentage in two games with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack (now Connecticut Whale) earlier this season. He’s totaled 29 career AHL games with Hamilton, Hartford, Manitoba, Milwaukee, Portland and San Antonio, boasting a 2.54 GAA, a 0.915 save percentage and four shutouts with an 8-13-5 record. Grumet-Morris, a fifth-round pick (161st overall) by Philadelphia in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, led both 2007-08 ECHL Cincinnati and 2005-06 CHL Laredo to championships.

All Hail the All-Star!: Brendan Smith will play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Capital BlueCross, Jan. 30-31 at the Giant Center in Hershey. The first rookie defenseman in Griffins history to be chosen for an all-star game, Smith currently ranks among the league’s leaders with 22 points (T13th among rookies, 16th among defensemen). The 21-year-old joins a distinguished list of defensemen who’ve represented the Griffins in all-star games: Jakub Kindl (2009), Jonathan Ericsson (2008), Derek Meech (2007), Niklas Kronwall (2005 and 2004), Travis Richards (2004 and 2001 IHL), John Gruden (2002 and 2000 IHL), Joel Kwiatkowski (2001 IHL) and Kerry Huffman (1998 IHL). Smith will be joined on the ice in Hershey by four former Griffins: forwards Alexandre Giroux (Oklahoma City) and Jeremy Williams (Connecticut), and defensemen Garrett Stafford (San Antonio) and Clay Wilson (Rochester). In addition, former Griffins defenseman and current Peoria head coach Jared Bednar will serve as a co-coach for the Western Conference squad.

Short Story: Derek Meech scored the Griffins’ league-leading 11th shorthanded goal on Saturday against the Aeros. During the entire 2009-10 season, Grand Rapids scored only eight goals while undermanned.

Never Give Up: On Sunday, Grand Rapids rallied from a 2-1 deficit after 40 minutes to take a 3-2 shootout win at Houston, its first victory this season when trailing after two periods (1-17-0-1). 

Bodies Wanted: The Griffins are missing six regulars from their lineup. Goaltender Joey MacDonald (last three games) and forward Tomas Tatar (two) have joined forward Jan Mursak (nine) in Detroit, while defensemen Doug Janik (10) and Brian Lashoff (seven) and forward Brandon Straub (six) remain on the injured list.

A Long Road: The Griffins, who on Jan. 5 concluded stretches that saw them play 12 of 15 games and 16 of 22 contests within friendly confines, are now in the midst of playing 11 of 16 games on the road.

Milestones: Jamie Tardif appeared in his 282nd regular season game as a Griffin on Sunday, tying Matt Ellis for fifth place on the team’s all-time list. After he passes Ellis, next in his sights will be fourth-place Darryl Bootland (293). In addition, Tardif’s goal on Sunday, which tied Ilari Filppula (13) for the team lead, was his 64th as a Griffin, giving him sole possession of seventh all time ahead of Tomas Kopecky. Tardif’s next goal will tie him for sixth with Jiri Hudler …Curt Fraser has logged 203 games as the Griffins’ head coach, putting him five behind all-time leader Danton Cole (208 games coached from 2002-05).

Scouting Report

Tue., Jan. 18 at Texas Stars (23-14-2-2) – Cedar Park Center – 8:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 8:15 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 5-2-0-1 Overall, 2-1-0-0 Road. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Third of six meetings overall, first of three in Cedar Park. NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars. Head Coach: Glen Gulutzan (2nd season). Notes: The 2010 Calder Cup runners-up sit fifth in a brutal West Division despite a 0.610 winning percentage…Rookie Richard Bachman ranks ninth in the AHL with a 2.19 GAA, backstopping a defense that ranks seventh in goals allowed (2.63 per game)…Former Griffin Aaron Gagnon has 13 points (8-5—13) in 31 games with Texas and two assists in seven games with parent Dallas…The Stars have the fewest penalty minutes in the AHL (12.27 per game), a good thing since they rank 29th in penalty killing (78.1%)…Texas has outscored its opponents 40-24 in the opening period.

Fri., Jan. 21 vs. Chicago Wolves (22-19-2-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 22 vs. Chicago Wolves – Van Andel Arena – 8 p.m.

TV: Comcast 100 (Chicago) at 7 p.m. (Fri.) and 8 p.m. (Sat.). Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:45 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 47-35-2-3-2 Overall, 24-13-2-2-2 Home. Season Series: 2-1-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Home. Fourth and fifth of six meetings overall, second and third of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: Don Lever (2nd season). Notes: The last two meetings of these clubs, both in Rosemont, have been memorable. On Nov. 27, the Griffins set or tied seven franchise records in their 10-8 win, while Tomas Tatar set or tied five individual marks. Then, on Dec. 27, the Wolves fell behind 3-0 before scoring six unanswered goals for a 6-3 victory…Chicago broke a five-game skid with Sunday’s 5-2 win over San Antonio…The Wolves are in seventh place in the West Division but sit just one point out of a playoff spot…Nigel Dawes is tied for the AHL lead with 21 goals while Jason Krog’s 43 points (10-33—43) stand fourth…Paul Postma’s 31 points (8-23—31) rank second among defensemen…The Wolves own the AHL’s third-ranked power play (22.3%).
 

Griffins Game Rewinds

Jan. 16 - GR 3 at HOU 2 SO
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Tardif Goal   Meech Goal   Shootout Goals
Official Game Report

Jan. 15 - GR 1 at HOU 2
AHLLive Video Highlights
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Meech Goal  Houston Goal 2
Official Game Report

Jan. 13 - GR 5 at SA 2
AHLLive Video Highlights
Official Game Report


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