This Week’s Games
Wed., Nov. 28 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 11:30 a.m. - WTKG 1230 AM/B2 Networks
Fri., Nov. 30 - GRIFFINS at San Antonio Rampage - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2
Sat., Dec. 1 - GRIFFINS at Houston Aeros - 8:35 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Sun., Dec. 2 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 5 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 21 - Hamilton Bulldogs 6 at GRIFFINS 3 - 5-10-0-1, 11 pts. (6th, North Division)
Fri., Nov. 23 - Iowa Stars 3 at GRIFFINS 2 SO - 5-10-0-2, 12 pts. (6th)
Sat., Nov. 24 - Iowa Stars 1 at GRIFFINS 4 - 6-10-0-2, 14 pts. (6th)
Sun., Nov. 25 - GRIFFINS 1 at Rockford IceHogs 3 - 6-11-0-2, 14 pts. (6th)
Tough Test: Midway through a grueling stretch of eight games in 12 days, the Griffins this week will play four road games in five days in four different cities, a gauntlet the likes of which they’ve faced just two other times in their 12-year history. From March 12-16, 2003, they posted a 2-2 mark on an equally-challenging odyssey to Utah, Houston, San Antonio and Chicago, and from Feb. 22-26, 2006, they went 2-2 on a trip to Rochester, Philadelphia, Syracuse and Hershey. This week’s trip concludes with three road games in three cities in as many nights, something the Griffins have faced just six times before. They own an all-time record of 11-5-1-0-1 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) under such circumstances.
Time to Rise and Shine: This Wednesday’s 11:30 a.m. game in Toronto against the North Division leaders will mark the first time in franchise history that the Griffins face off prior to noon in the Eastern Time Zone. The earliest local start for a Griffins game was on Feb. 18, 2004, when Grand Rapids played in Houston at 11 a.m. CST.
Adios, Ciao, Auf Wiedersehen: Sunday’s 3-1 loss at Rockford kicked off a five-game road trip (Nov. 25-Dec. 2) for the Griffins, their second-longest road swing of the season (six games, Jan. 31-Feb. 10). Grand Rapids, which started the season 5-0 on the road, is 0-4-0-1 in its last five visits to foreign arenas.
Looking Ahead: The Griffins will host a number of exciting promotions at Van Andel Arena in early December: Dec. 7 – Calvin vs. Hope Hockey – A special 6:30 p.m. Griffins start against Syracuse, followed by a college hockey showdown between rivals Calvin and Hope. Dec. 8 – High School Musical Night – Stars Lucas Grabeel (Ryan) and Chris Warren Jr. (Zeke) from the movie sensation will meet fans and sign autographs before the game, and Grabeel will perform a song during intermission. Dec. 15 – Nashville North – Hit country duo Bomshel will meet fans and sign autographs prior to the game and perform during the first intermission.
Say Goodbye: The Detroit Red Wings on Sunday reassigned Griffins forward Johan Ryno to Djurgardens of the Swedish Elite League. Ryno, Detroit’s sixth choice (137th overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, tallied seven points (3-4—7) and a plus-three rating in 12 games with Grand Rapids during his first season in North America.
Top Guns: Forwards Mark Cullen (6-11—17), Mark Hartigan (10-6—16) and Carl Corazzini (7-9—16) continue to pace the Griffins’ offense. Cullen owns a three-game scoring streak (1-3—4) and has points in four of the last five contests (2-3—5). Hartigan, who leads the team and is tied for sixth in the AHL with 10 goals, tallied five points (3-2—5) in the first three games last week, earning a nomination for the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award. Corazzini saw his four-game point streak (2-4—6) snapped on Sunday but remains the only Griffin who has yet to experience a point drought of more than two consecutive games.
Other Offensive Notables: Jimmy Howard’s assist on Saturday versus Iowa was the fifth of his Griffins career, putting him in second place all time among Grand Rapids’ goalies, behind only Joey MacDonald (8)…Rookie Darren Helm had his first two-point game (1-1—2) as a pro on Wednesday against Hamilton…Mattias Ritola’s goal on Saturday against Iowa was his first in North America.
Tidings of Comfort and Joy: On Saturday, Mark Cullen’s first-period goal unleashed a torrent of stuffed animals that rained down from the stands as part of the team’s eighth annual Teddy Bear Toss. An estimated 975 toys were collected and donated to Hug-A-Bears of Kent County, which distributes the toys through many local agencies to provide comfort to young victims of fires, accidents, illness and crimes.
Attendance On the Rise: The Griffins’ attendance of 49,512 through nine home games this season (5,501 avg., ninth in AHL) represents a year-to-date increase of 21%, as last season’s team welcomed 40,944 fans through its first nine games at Van Andel Arena.
Dubious Records: With last Friday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Iowa, the Griffins established new franchise records with an eight-game winless streak at home (0-7-0-1) and a 10-game winless streak overall (0-8-0-2). The previous marks were set during the 2004-05 season (Home winless: 7, 12/11/04-1/15/05, 0-7-0-0; Overall winless: 9, 12/17/04-1/8/05, 0-8-0-1). Saturday’s 4-1 win over the Stars ended both streaks.
A Few Firsts: Saturday’s 4-1 triumph over Iowa marked the Griffins’ first home win and largest margin of victory so far this season, while also giving them their first two-game home point streak (1-0-0-1). In addition, when the Griffins led the Stars 1-0 at the end of the first period on Friday, it marked the first time in 22 home periods this season that they left the ice with a lead.
By the Numbers: The Griffins’ scoring differentials this season are plus-three in the first period (21-18), minus-six in the second period (18-24) and minus-13 in the third period (12-25)…All six of Grand Rapids’ wins have come after entering the third period with a lead. The team is a perfect 6-0-0-0 when leading after two periods, 0-7-0-1 when trailing and 0-4-0-1 when tied…The Griffins rank sixth in the AHL in shots per game (32.42) but 19th in goals per game (2.74). Similarly, they stand 14th in the league in shots allowed (29.53) but 27th in goals allowed (3.63)…Only three of Grand Rapids’ losses this season – and just one of their last 10 – have been by more than two goals…The Griffins have scored a power play goal in four consecutive games, matching their season high (Oct. 11-21).
Strange But True: Grand Rapids is 1-10-0-1 when outshooting its opponents and 5-1-0-1 when being out-shot…The Griffins are 5-2-0-0 when recording 29 or fewer shots, but they own a 1-9-0-2 record in games with 30 or more attempts…Grand Rapids is one game over 0.500 on the road (5-4-0-1) and six games under the break-even mark at home (1-7-0-1).
Taking Advantage: Nine of the 20 power play goals scored by opponents this season have come with Grand Rapids down two men, as Griffins foes have converted during nine of their 11 5-on-3 advantages. By contrast, Grand Rapids has enjoyed only three two-man advantages all season – for a grand total of 14 seconds – and all 16 power play goals scored by the Griffins thus far have come during one-man advantages.
Red Wings Jersey Auction: Twenty-three autographed, game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys are being made available for public bidding throughout the 2007-08 season through exclusive auctions that begin at griffinshockey.com and conclude after select Griffins home games. Online bidding, which begins at $250 per jersey, will establish the starting bids for silent auctions that will take place on the arena concourse during Griffins games. Subsequently, the highest bids from the silent auctions will serve as the starting bids for live post-game auctions. The Valtteri Filppula and Pavel Datsyuk jerseys are currently up for bid online, concluding with silent and live auctions at the Dec. 14 game versus Hamilton. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. For more information and a complete auction schedule, visit griffinshockey.com/fanzone/auctions.
Wed., Nov. 28 at Toronto Marlies (13-3-0-2) – Ricoh Coliseum – 11:30 a.m.
Radio: WTKG 1230 AM at 11:10 a.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 7-8-0-0 Overall, 3-4-0-0 Road. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Second of eight meetings overall, first of four in Toronto. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (2nd season). Notes: The Marlies are 2-3 since their near-perfect 11-0-0-2 start…Toronto leads the AHL with an average of 3.83 goals per game, providing a stiff test for a Griffins defense that ranks 27th (3.63)…David Ling’s 21 points (5-16—21) tie for ninth in the league…The Marlies also boast top guns Darryl Boyce (5-11—16, 7th among rookies) and Derrick Walser (7-11—18, 3rd among defensemen).
Fri., Nov. 30 at San Antonio Rampage (12-6-1-3) – AT&T Center – 8 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 25-9-1-1-0 Overall, 13-4-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: First of two meetings overall, first and only in San Antonio. NHL Affiliation: Phoenix Coyotes. Head Coach: Greg Ireland (1st season). Notes: Rampage bench boss Greg Ireland served as the Griffins’ head coach from Feb. 2005 to June 2007, compiling a record of 109-65-8-10 (0.615)…San Antonio’s Bryan Helmer (2004-06) and Peter Vandermeer (2004-05) once played for Grand Rapids…The Rampage boast a three-headed goaltending monster in Alex Auld (1-0, 0.00 GAA, 1.000%), David LeNeveu (2-2-2, 2.67, 0.910) and Josh Tordjman (7-2-1, 3.00, 0.903).
Sat., Dec. 1 at Houston Aeros (8-8-1-1) – Toyota Center – 8:35 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 8:10 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 29-22-6-1-6 Overall, 13-13-4-0-3 Road. Season Series: First of two meetings overall, first and only in Houston. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Kevin Constantine (1st season). Notes: Aeros coach Kevin Constantine and Griffins broadcaster Bob Kaser worked together on the 1991-92 Kansas City Blades squad that won the IHL’s Turner Cup…Despite a 0.500 record, Houston sits in eighth place in a tough West Division…Goalie Barry Brust ranks ninth in the AHL with a 2.35 GAA…The Aeros own the league’s worst power play at 11.9%.
Sun., Dec. 2 at Milwaukee Admirals (10-7-1-0) – Bradley Center – 5 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 4:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 43-25-7-4-3 Overall, 18-14-5-3-3 Road. Season Series: First of eight meetings overall, first of four in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (1st season). Notes: Admirals forward Josh Langfeld played for the Griffins in both 2006-07 and 2001-02…Milwaukee is an impressive 6-2 at the Bradley Center…The Admirals are one of the AHL’s stingiest teams, allowing only 2.61 goals per game (T5th).