11/22/2011 2:47 PM
This Week’s Games
Last Week’s Results
Thankful for Hockey: The Griffins began a season-high five-game homestand last week, losing to San Antonio 5-4 in overtime on Friday and Milwaukee 3-1 on Saturday. The team still has a chance to make its holiday homestand a successful one with three more home games this week, as the Griffins welcome the Hamilton Bulldogs to Van Andel Arena on Wednesday at 7 p.m. before playing a pair against the Oklahoma City Barons: Friday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 5 p.m.
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 Wednesday 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.
Blanked: The Griffins’ back-to-back shutouts of the Hamilton Bulldogs on Oct. 18 (3-0) and Nov. 11 (8-0) marked the sixth time in franchise history that the Griffins shut out an opponent two meetings in a row. In all previous instances, the Griffins won the third game as well, allowing one goal in four of those contests. The Griffins previously accomplished the feat against Hamilton when they beat the Bulldogs 1-0 on Feb. 9, 2002 and 2-0 on Feb. 15, 2002. Grand Rapids most recently did it against the Cleveland Barons, blanking them 4-0 on Jan. 9, 2005 and 5-0 on March 29, 2005.
Familiar Foe: The Griffins will take on Oklahoma City twice this week, having already split back-to-back contests with the Barons this season. The Griffins lost to the Barons 4-1 on Oct. 21 before avenging the loss with a 3-2 shootout decision on Oct. 22. The Griffins got goals from Andrej Nestrasil and Brent Raedeke, before Brendan Smith clinched the game in the ninth round of the shootout.
Promotions Galore: The Griffins’ three games this week will provide fans with the opportunity to experience many different promotions. Wednesday’s contest versus Hamilton is a Winning Wednesday presented by Amway, meaning fans will receive a free ticket to the Griffins’ next Wednesday game, Dec. 13 versus Rockford, if the Griffins beat the Bulldogs. In addition, the first 200 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a t-shirt. Friday’s game versus Oklahoma City is the Griffins’ annual “Teddy Bear Toss.” Fans are asked to bring a new store-tagged teddy bear or stuffed animal to throw on the ice when the Griffins score their first goal. All stuffed animals collected will be donated to Hug-A-Bears of Kent County. Fans can also experience the usual Friday promotions, with $1 domestic drafts and $1 hot dogs from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last, and Free Ride Friday, with complimentary fare on the Rapid bus before and after the game by showing your ticket to that night’s game. The Griffins will take on the Barons again for their first home Sunday contest of the season. Sunday’s game is highlighted by Mascot Mania, with various local mascots roaming the concourse and interacting with fans throughout the game, and a “Be Your Own Bobblehead” t-shirt giveaway for the first 1,500 kids 12 and under. Fans can also enjoy the “Sunday is Fun Day!” promotions, with $1 Cole’s Breadsticks and $1 Pepsi drinks from 4-6 p.m. and a J&H Family Stores Post-Game Open Skate.
Historic Streak: The Milwaukee Admirals were able to walk away from Van Andel Arena with two points on Saturday after beating the Griffins 3-1, continuing an AHL-record road point streak. The Admirals have not lost a road game in regulation since Jan. 13, 2011 at Manitoba, posting a 16-0-4-3 record in a streak that now stands at 23 games.
Double the Excitement: The Griffins’ 3-1 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday was a record-setting night, as the Griffins were awarded two penalty shots for the first time in franchise history. At the 5:25 mark of the second period, Chris Conner was awarded a penalty shot after being held on a breakaway by Milwaukee’s Roman Josi. Tomas Tatar had the Griffins second opportunity at 8:48 of the third period, but both were stopped by Admirals netminder Jeremy Smith. It was the third time in franchise history the Griffins were involved in a game with two penalty shots, with the most recent coincidentally coming against the Admirals on April 10, 2011. Smith became the first AHL goalie to stop two penalty shots in a game since Bridgeport’s Wade Dubielewicz did it on Dec. 10, 2005 versus Hershey.
Brunnstrom’s Back: The Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday assigned left wing Fabian Brunnstrom to the Griffins. Brunnstrom was previously assigned to Grand Rapids on Oct. 31, scoring a goal in his only game as a Griffin on Nov 2. versus Lake Erie before being recalled by Detroit on Nov. 5. The 26-year-old winger has appeared in four games with the Red Wings this season, recording an assist and two penalty minutes.
Leading the Charge: The Griffins are led on offense by their top line of Chris Conner, Jamie Johnson and Gustav Nyquist. Conner is fourth in the AHL in assists and tied for sixth in overall scoring with 20 points (6-14—20) in 16 games. Linemate Gustav Nyquist places third among AHL rookies with 16 points (5-11—16) in as many games. The line is centered by Jamie Johnson, who leads the Griffins with eight goals after notching 10 points (7-3—11) in seven games before being held pointless on Saturday versus Milwaukee.
Another Name on the Wall: Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith became the 120th alumnus of the Griffins to suit up for an NHL game, and the 44th to do so with Detroit, when he made his NHL debut on Thursday in the Red Wings’ 5-2 loss to San Jose. Smith was held off the scoresheet, but he has since tallied two assists in the Red Wings’ past two games while averaging 14:54 in ice time.
Roster Shuffle: The Griffins made several roster moves on Monday, preparing to continue their five-game homestand with a retooled blueline. Gleason Fournier was reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) by Detroit after skating in two contests with the Griffins this past weekend. Fournier scored the Griffins’ opening goal in his AHL debut last Friday against San Antonio, notching the second goal of his professional career. The Griffins also released forward Nick Oslund from his professional tryout. Oslund recorded one assist and two penalty minutes in five games. Additionally, the Griffins recalled defenseman Bryan Rufenach from Toledo. A seventh-round selection (208th overall) of the Red Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Rufenach leads all ECHL defensemen with seven goals and is tied for the league lead with 11 points. He has recorded points in seven straight games for the Walleye after exploding for a four-goal game on Nov. 9 versus the Chicago Express.
Milestone Watch: Tomas Tatar and Greg Amadio reached milestones on Friday versus San Antonio, with Tatar skating in his 200th game as a pro and Amadio recording his 500th game as a pro and 1,100th penalty minute in the AHL…Francis Pare’s tally on Nov. 11 against Hamilton gave him 65 goals for his career, tying Jiri Hudler for seventh in franchise history and putting him within four of tying Matt Ellis for fourth place (69)…Pare is also three assists from tying Ellis for eight place all time with 84 and four away from tying Jeff Nelson for seventh…Joakim Andersson is four games away from 100 as a Griffin…Jamie Johnson is six games away from 100 as a Griffin…Chris Conner is six goals from 100 as a pro and six points from 200 in the AHL…Tatar is three points from 100 as a Griffin.
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.
Griffins Give Back: The “Griffins Give Back” program will provide free tickets to this Sunday’s game to hundreds of local unemployed workers through Michigan Works! Over 1,000 lower bowl tickets began distribution last Wednesday through two Michigan Works! offices to those who visit in person and provide proof of unemployment and a valid Michigan driver’s license. The program debuted in 2009-10 and has provided a total of 9,394 tickets for unemployed workers and their families for three games over the past two seasons.
Wed., Nov. 13 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (6-8-1-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Fri., Nov. 25 vs. Oklahoma City Barons (12-5-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
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