This Week’s Games
Fri., Nov. 17 - San Antonio Rampage at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Nov. 18 - Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 9 - Rockford IceHogs 5 at GRIFFINS 3 - 5-7-0-0, 10 pts. (4th, North Division)
Fri., Nov. 11 - GRIFFINS 8 at Hamilton Bulldogs 0 - 6-7-0-0, 12 pts. (4th)
Sat., Nov. 12 - GRIFFINS 1 at Rochester Americans 2 - 6-8-0-0, 12 pts. (4th)
Home for the Holidays: Last week, the Griffins closed out a three-game home stretch with a 5-3 loss to Rockford before splitting back-to-back road games against Hamilton (8-0 W) and Rochester (1-2 L). The Griffins have just one road game left in the month of November and will begin a season-long five game homestand – and start seven of eight at home overall – this Friday when they host the San Antonio Rampage at Van Andel Arena.
Rewrite the Record Books: The Griffins’ 8-0 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Friday broke one franchise record and tied two others. The team fired 51 shots at the Hamilton net to set a new franchise-high for shots in a road game, besting the previous record of 48 (set four times, most recently on March 13, 2011 at San Antonio). They also came within one shot of tying the franchise record for shots in one period on the road when they recorded 22 in the first period. The eight-goal margin of victory tied franchise records for largest margin of victory in both a game and in a shutout, as it was the third time in Griffins history, and first time since their inaugural season in the AHL, that the team won by eight goals. The two previous instances occurred on April 1, 2001 at Cleveland (8-0 W) and Feb. 24, 2002 vs. Utah (9-1 W). The eight goals scored by Grand Rapids also rank atop the AHL leaderboard for most goals scored and largest margin of victory this season, sitting second in both of those categories behind the Oklahoma City Barons’ 10-1 victory over the Texas Stars on Oct. 15.
Eight is Great: Chris Conner, Doug Janik, Jamie Johnson and Gustav Nyquist led the way in the Griffins’ 8-0 win over Hamilton on Friday, each recording a three-point night. Offense was spread out all over the lineup, as all but four Griffins skaters recorded a point and only one was without a shot on goal. The Griffins also got contributions from Landon Ferraro, who recorded his first professional goal, and Louis-Marc Aubry, who notched his second pro goal and point after tallying his first last Wednesday against Rockford. Nick Oslund, who was signed to a professional tryout last Monday, recorded his second professional point and first as a Griffin when he picked up an assist.
Bring on the Bulldogs: The Griffins have found great success against Hamilton this season, outscoring the Bulldogs 11-0 while recording two of their AHL-best three shutouts in Copps Coliseum. The Griffins have won six of the past seven contests against their North Division rivals. The Griffins will play the Bulldogs eight more times this season with the next four games coming at Van Andel Arena. The first of those games is next Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m., which is also a Winning Wednesday redemption for fans who did not redeem their ticket stubs from the Griffins’ 3-0 win over Lake Erie on Nov. 2 for a free ticket to last Wednesday’s contest against Rockford.
Johnny on the Spot: Griffins center Jamie Johnson saw a five-game goal streak snapped in the Griffins’ 2-1 loss to Rochester on Saturday. Johnson had recorded nine points (6-3—9) in the team’s previous five contests before going pointless against the Americans. Johnson already has seven goals on the season after recording 12 in 2010-11, his first season with the club.
Keep Your Friends Close: Two of Rochester goaltender Drew MacIntyre’s three victories this season have come against the Griffins, as he stopped 43 of 44 shots in a 2-1 Americans’ victory on Saturday night after also beating the Griffins 7-2 on Oct. 16. MacIntyre, who appeared in 37 games for the Griffins from 2004-06, has a 15-5-1 record against the Griffins since departing for the Manitoba Moose in the 2006-07 season, including a 4-0 record in his last five appearances and a 9-2 record since the start of the 2008-09 season. MacIntyre was also the Moose’s netminder during the team’s seven-game playoff victory over Grand Rapids in 2007, during which he posted a 1.65 GAA and 0.942 save percentage against his former club.
The I-96 Shuffle: Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith found himself in a familiar situation on Sunday, as he was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings for the fourth time since Oct. 8. Smith will serve the final game of his five-game NHL suspension on Tuesday when the Red Wings take on the St. Louis Blues at 8 p.m. EST. Smith could then be eligible to make his NHL debut this week, as Detroit will make the journey out west for three games in four nights against San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim.
Leading the Charge: The Griffins are led on offense by forward Chris Conner, who is currently tied for second in the AHL with 19 points (6-13—19) in 14 games. The Livonia, Mich., native has recorded six multi-point outings and has only been held pointless in four of the Griffins’ 14 games this season. Conner is trailed by linemate Gustav Nyquist, who has 14 points (4-10—14) in 14 games, ranking third among rookies and tying for 19th among all AHL skaters in scoring.
Shoot the Puck: The Griffins spent much of their practice time last week emphasizing getting more pucks to the net, a message that was heard loud and clear, as the team averaged 45.67 shots per game in their three contests last week. In addition to setting a franchise record with 51 shots in a road game on Friday against Hamilton, the Griffins had some of their most productive periods last week, recording at least 18 shots in a period four different times, more than they had in any one period of their previous 11 games. As of last Monday, Nov. 7, the Griffins ranked 14th in the league with 30.18 shots per game, but they’ve shot up the charts to fifth in the league with a 33.50 shots per game average.
Who’s Hot?: The Griffins have several players who are heating up as the team prepares for its season-high five-game homestand. Jamie Johnson leads the charge with nine points (6-3—9) in his past six games, and he is joined by Gustav Nyquist (0-5—5 in his past three games) and Chris Conner (2-7—9 in his past five games) on the Griffins’ red-hot top line. The Griffins are also getting more contributions from the blueline as Doug Janik has five points (2-3—5) in his past three games and Brendan Smith has three points (0-3—3) in as many contests. Willie Coetzee was also heating up with four points (2-2—4) in five games before missing Saturday’s contest with an injury. Younger players have also been finding the scoresheet more often, with Louis-Marc Aubry tallying his first two professional goals in consecutive games last week, Landon Ferraro notching points on Friday and Saturday, and Brian Lashoff recording his first two points of the season, including his first goal as a Griffin since April 20, 2009.
Season of Giving: The Griffins are offering fans many opportunities throughout the month of November to help raise money and awareness for great causes. Defenseman Greg Amadio and forward Mitch Callahan are participating in Movember, the annual event in which players grow moustaches to help raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. Fans can make a donation through mobro.co/gregamadio or mobro.co/mitchcallahan. The Griffins are also offering fans the opportunity to “Win Dinner with a Griffin,” to benefit the family of fallen Walker Police Officer Trevor Slot. Fans can secure their chance at one of two all-expenses-paid dinners with either defensemen Greg Amadio and Doug Janik or forwards Mitch Callahan and Tomas Tatar by purchasing a $10 raffle ticket at the Griffins Booster Club table during any game in November. Finally, the wives and girlfriends of Griffins players – a.k.a the “Better Halves” – will be selling $10 “Love for Lokomotiv” silicone memory bracelets on the concourse during all Saturday games this season. All proceeds will benefit Love for Lokomotiv, a foundation established to support the families of the victims of the tragic Sept. 7 plane crash in Russia that claimed the lives of 44 people, including three former Griffins. For more information on any of these opportunities, please contact the Griffins at (616) 774-4585.
Milestone Watch: Goaltender Jordan Pearce reached a milestone on last Wednesday, appearing in his 100th game as a pro…Francis Pare’s tally on Friday gave him 65 goals for his career, tying Jiri Hudler for seventh in franchise history…Tomas Tatar and Greg Amadio are each one game away from a milestone, with Tatar just shy of 200 as a pro and Amadio closing in on 500 as a pro…Joey MacDonald is six games away from 200 as a Griffin and 400 as a pro…Joakim Andersson is six games away from 100 as a Griffin…Jamie Johnson is eight games away from 100 as a Griffin…Chris Conner is six goals from 100 as a pro and seven points from 200 in the AHL…Tatar is six points from 100 as a Griffin.
Fri., Nov. 17 vs. San Antonio Rampage (5-8-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through ESPN961.com. All-Time Series: 31-16-1-2-0 Overall, 15-8-1-1-0 Home. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Chuck Weber (1st season). Notes: The Griffins took five of a possible eight points against the Rampage in 2010-11, posting a 2-1-1-0 record in the season series…The Rampage are led in scoring by Michal Repik, who has eight points (2-6—8) in 13 games…Former Griffins forward Mark Cullen has six points (1-5—6) in 13 games this season. Cullen played 59 games for the Griffins in 2007-08 and had 47 points (16-31—47)…San Antonio will be playing the first of seven straight road games.
Sat., Nov. 18 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (8-3-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through ESPN961.com. All-Time Series: 55-41-7-5-5 Overall, 31-18-2-1-2 Home. Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Second of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Kirk Muller (1st season). Notes: Grand Rapids won the first matchup between the two teams, beating the Admirals 5-3 on Oct. 29 to hand them their first regulation loss of the season…Milwaukee is led in scoring by Kyle Wilson, who has 11 points (4-7—11) in 12 games…Former Griffin Chris Mueller is second in Admirals scoring with nine points (3-6—9) in 12 games…Milwaukee is one of three teams (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Worcester) to be unbeaten during regulation on the road, with a 5-0-0-1 record…The Admirals have allowed the fewest goals in the league (29) due in large part to goaltender Jeremy Smith, who ranks among AHL leaders with seven wins (T3rd), a 1.98 goals against average (4th) and a 0.925 save percentage (9th).