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AMERICAN INVASION


This Week’s Games
Wed., Jan. 16 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Fri., Jan. 18 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Sun., Jan. 20 - GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves - 4 p.m. - WOOD/B2 

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Jan. 9 - GRIFFINS 4 at Quad City Flames 5 SO - 15-18-2-4, 36 pts. (T4th, North Division)

Fri., Jan. 11 - Peoria Rivermen 6 at GRIFFINS 4 - 15-19-2-4, 36 pts. (5th)

Sat., Jan. 12 - Peoria Rivermen 2 at GRIFFINS 1 SO - 15-19-2-5, 37 pts. (5th)

Go to Extremes: The Griffins will face a spectrum of Western Conference foes this week, as they’ll host a pair against the Rochester Americans on Wednesday and Friday before hitting the road on Sunday to battle the Chicago Wolves. Rochester sits at the bottom of the conference and 28th in the AHL with a 0.333 winning percentage, while Chicago’s lofty 0.750 mark is the best in the conference and second-highest in the league.

Bang for Your Buck: Wednesday’s game against Rochester is another Winning Wednesday. Fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 2-1 shootout win over Hamilton on Dec. 12 can redeem their ticket stubs for free tickets to this game. Stubs must be redeemed at either The Zone or the Van Andel Arena box office. Similarly, if the Griffins beat Rochester, each fan in attendance will win a free ticket to the March 5 game against Toronto…Friday’s game features two huge promotions: Tiger Time with Brandon Inge, and Dollar Beers/Dollar Dogs. The Detroit Tigers third baseman will meet fans and sign autographs prior to the game, presented by Sprint, and from 6-8 p.m., fans can visit Van Andel Arena concession stands to purchase $1 hot dogs and $1 beers (21 oz. domestic drafts, with ID). A number of ticket deals are available, including the Wendy’s Family Four Pack, Bono’s Pit BBQ Student Night, Library Night, and a web coupon. Visit griffinshockey.com for more information.

Hot (Future) Wings: The trio of Carl Corazzini, Mark Cullen and Mark Hartigan continues to provide the fuel for the Griffins’ offense. Hartigan had three goals and an assist last week, including a two-goal outing versus Peoria on Friday, Corazzini saw his three-game point streak (1-4—5) snapped by the Rivermen on Saturday, and AHL Player of the Week nominee Cullen extended his scoring streak to three games (2-2—4)…Defenseman Tom Galvin owns his third three-game point streak of the season (1-2—3)…Mattias Ritola’s first three-game point streak as a pro ended on Saturday (1-2—3).

Meet Me Halfway: Now 41 games and 21 home games in the season, the Griffins are past the midpoint of their 2007-08 regular season schedule, showing records of 15-19-2-5 overall and 7-11-1-2 at home. Standing in fifth place in the North Division with 37 points, they trail only Syracuse (40 pts.) and Hamilton (38 pts.) in the race for a playoff spot.

Great Skate, Great Time: The sixth annual Great Skate took place at Rosa Parks Ice Rink over the weekend, with every Griffins player and coach and more than 30 local media personalities skating with fans for at least one hour each around the clock. More than 1,000 people enjoyed the festivities, helping to raise a record estimated total of $17,000 for the Griffins Youth Foundation.

Star Studded: Goaltender Jimmy Howard and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson have been selected to play for the PlanetUSA AHL All-Star Team at the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Reebok, which will be held Jan. 27-28 at the Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena in Binghamton, N.Y. Both players were chosen to participate in their first AHL All-Star Classic by a committee of the league’s coaches.

Meech Moves: Wednesday’s game against Rochester is scheduled to be the final contest for Red Wings defenseman Derek Meech in his two-week conditioning stint with the Griffins. With two points (1-1—2) in five games, he has climbed into 10th place on Grand Rapids’ all-time games played list at 229, and his 65 career points place him fifth all-time among Griffins’ defensemen, within striking distance of both Niklas Kronwall (66) and Todd Nelson (67).

Milestones: Ryan Oulahen needs to play in five more games to become the 16th player in Griffins history to log 200 regular season appearances…Carl Corazzini played his 400th AHL game on Saturday against Peoria…Mark Cullen is four goals shy of 100 for his AHL career.

Cold-Hearted Killers: The Griffins’ penalty killers have been perfect over their last five games, denying all 19 opponent power play chances. Prior to their current run, they had allowed at least one power play goal in eight of nine games, surrendering 10 goals in 45 shorthanded situations during that span. As a result of their recent success, the Griffins have climbed into a tie for 10th in the AHL in penalty killing at 85.0%.

Power Surge: Grand Rapids went 3-for-11 (27.3%) on the power play during the three games last week.

M*A*S*H Report: Before missing the last two games due to injury, Jimmy Howard (finger) had played in 10 consecutive contests, as well as 16 of 17 and 20 of 22 games…Brad Ference (wrist) has missed each of the last seven games…Garrett Stafford (charley horse) scored the Griffins’ lone goal in his return to the lineup on Saturday, after having missed four straight games…Darren Helm missed Friday’s contest with the flu but was back in on Saturday.

Howard’s Heroics: Jimmy Howard, a PlanetUSA AHL All-Star and the Rbk X-Pulse/AHL Goaltender of the Month for December, has missed the last two games due to a finger injury that caused him to leave early in last Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss at Quad City. In 30 games this season, he shows a 13-14-2 record, a 2.56 GAA and a 0.913%, and he ranks among the AHL’s leaders with 1,756 minutes played (5th), 789 saves (5th), two shutouts (T5th) and 13 wins (T9th). Howard has been spectacular since late November, going 10-8-1 with two shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a 0.932 save percentage (520-558) in his last 20 games. During that time, he has dropped his overall GAA by well over a goal, going from 3.76 to 2.56.  

McKee to Our City: Due to Jimmy Howard’s injury, the Griffins on Friday signed goaltender Dave McKee to a professional tryout. McKee, 24, has spent the majority of the season with the ECHL’s Phoenix Roadrunners, earning a 3-4-2 record, a 3.37 GAA and a 0.913% through 10 games. Earlier in the campaign, he appeared in two games with the Iowa Stars, recording two losses, a 5.11 GAA and a 0.841%. During his rookie 2006-07 season, McKee led the ECHL with six shootout wins and a 0.850 shootout percentage with Augusta, and he made his AHL debut by posting a 5-2 record with a 2.85 GAA, a 0.899% and one shutout for Portland. The Irving, Texas, native had a stellar college career at Cornell, where he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and the ECACHL Player of the Year in 2005, and the ECAC Co-Rookie of the Year in 2004.

Reversals of Fortune: Grand Rapids has posted a 7-4-1-2 record at Van Andel Arena since losing its first seven home games in regulation. Conversely, since their impressive 5-0 road start, the Griffins are just 3-8-1-3 in their last 15 games away from home.

Close Calls: Twelve (4-4-1-3) of the Griffins’ last 16 games and 15 (6-4-2-3) of their last 20 contests have been decided by a single goal.

By the Numbers: Since earning only one point in a nine-game stretch (0-8-0-1) from Oct. 28 to Nov. 21, the Griffins have captured points in 16 of their last 26 games (10-9-2-4)…Only five of Grand Rapids’ 26 losses this season – and just one of its last 12 defeats – have been by more than two goals.

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. Now online are the Tomas Kopecky, Kirk Maltby and Derek Meech jerseys, with the silent and live auctions set for this Friday, Jan. 18, and the Dallas Drake, Dominik Hasek, Tomas Holmstrom, Niklas Kronwall, Nicklas Lidstrom and Andreas Lilja jerseys, with silent and live auctions to be held Jan. 26. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. For more information and a complete auction schedule, visit griffinshockey.com/fanzone/auctions.

Scouting Report

Wed., Jan. 16 vs. Rochester Americans (12-26-2-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Fri., Jan. 18 vs. Rochester Americans – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. each night. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 14-12-1-1-0 Overall, 9-4-1-0-0 Home. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Third and fourth of eight meetings overall, second and third of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliations: Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Randy Cunneyworth (8th season). Notes: The Amerks suffered 10 straight regulation losses from Dec. 1-26, matching the longest losing streak in the franchise’s 52 seasons…Rochester is 2-16-1-0 since its 10-10-1-2 start but has registered points in consecutive games (1-0-1-0) for the first time since Nov. 23-30…The Americans rank 27th in the AHL in goals scored (2.45 per game) – one notch below the Griffins at 2.46 – and 28th in goals allowed (3.57)...Their 17 road losses (5-17-0-0) are the most in the league.

Sun., Jan. 20 at Chicago Wolves (28-9-1-0) – Allstate Arena – 4 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 3:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 40-26-2-3-2 Overall, 20-16-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 0-0-1-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Second of four meetings overall, first of two in Rosemont. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: John Anderson (11th season). Notes: The Griffins were 0-2 on the road against the Wolves last season, marking just the second time in the rivalry’s first 11 years that they did not win a game in Chicago (0-3 in 1998-99)…The Wolves have a host of former Griffins on their team, including AHL All-Star Joel Kwiatkowski, Steve Martins, Alexandre Giroux and assistant coach Todd Nelson. All four played together on Grand Rapids’ 2001-02 squad…Chicago is 15-4 on home ice…The Wolves have the AHL’s second-best power play (22.8%), while the Griffins’ unit places 27th (13.5%)...Chicago averages 4.05 goals per game, the most in the league by nearly a half goal…Jason Krog, the AHL’s leading scorer (18-39—57), has nearly as many points as the top two Griffins combined (58).

Griffins Game Rewind

Jan. 12 vs. Peoria

Recap (1-2 SOL)
Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlight: 1
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

Jan. 11 vs. Peoria
Recap (4-6 L)
Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2
Official Game Report

Jan. 9 at Quad City
Recap (4-5 SOL)
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3
Official Game Report

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