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ON ALL CYLINDERS

Mattias Ritola


This Week’s Games
Wed., March 12 - Toronto Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Sat., March 15 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2


Sun., March 16 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 4 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results
Wed., March 5 - Toronto Marlies 3 at GRIFFINS 5 - 26-29-2-5, 59 pts. (5th, North Division)


Thu., March 6 - GRIFFINS 2 at Milwaukee Admirals 4 - 26-30-2-5, 59 pts. (5th)

Sat., March 8 - GRIFFINS 3 at Lake Erie Monsters 5 - 26-31-2-5, 59 pts. (5th)

Home Sweet Home: The Griffins, winners of three straight at Van Andel Arena, return to friendly confines this week to host the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday and the Lake Erie Monsters on Saturday. The match with the Marlies is another Winning Wednesday, as fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 5-3 win over Toronto on March 5 can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to this game. Stubs must be redeemed at either The Zone or the Van Andel Arena box office. Similarly, if the Griffins beat Toronto, each fan in attendance will win a free ticket to the March 19 game against the Marlies. A coupon offering $10 lower bowl and $5 upper bowl tickets to the game can be found at griffinshockey.com. On Saturday, Michigan Office Solutions presents former Detroit Piston Bad Boy Rick Mahorn, who will meet fans and sign autographs prior to the game against the Monsters. The first 1,000 kids in attendance will receive a basketball-style Griffins jersey, courtesy of Comerica Bank and My Way Storage, and fans can bring their skates and take to the ice after the game for the O’Charley’s Post-Game O’pen Skate.

A Check of the Standings: The Griffins continue to stand in fifth place in the North Division. In the battle for what will likely be the final playoff spot in the division, they trail third-place Syracuse by 13 points and fourth-place Hamilton by 10 points.

Offense Producing: Since enduring a three-game stretch from Feb. 22-24 in which they scored a total of three goals, the Griffins have averaged nearly four goals per outing (23 total) over their last six contests.

From One Extreme to the Other: Grand Rapids has won three straight and four of its last five games at home, part of a turnaround that has seen the team post a 14-7-1-1 mark at Van Andel Arena since a 0-7-0-1 start. By contrast, the Griffins are 1-6 in their last seven road games and are 7-17-1-3 since blasting out of the gate with a perfect 5-0 mark in enemy territory.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: After going nearly a calendar year without facing a penalty shot, Griffins netminders were called upon to stop two attempts in a span of three games last week. Adam Berkhoel denied Toronto’s Tyler Doig during the second period of Grand Rapids’ 5-3 win on Wednesday, while Jimmy Howard turned back Lake Erie’s J.D. Corbin during the second stanza of Saturday’s 5-3 loss in Cleveland. Including playoffs, Grand Rapids goalies have surrendered just three goals on 17 all-time penalty shot attempts, the last successful try for an opponent coming when Toronto’s Brett Engelhardt beat Stefan Liv on March 25, 2007.  

At the Helm: The Griffins today nominated center Darren Helm for the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award, after he posted two goals and an assist in three games last week. He lit the lamp on Wednesday versus Toronto and Thursday at Milwaukee to extend his goal streak to three games, then he contributed an assist on Saturday at Lake Erie to push his point streak to four games (3-1—4). Helm leads Griffins rookies and is tied for sixth overall on the club with nine goals.

Attendance Continues to Climb: A robust crowd of 6,526 witnessed the Griffins’ 5-3 win over the Marlies last Wednesday, bringing Grand Rapids’ attendance to 202,811 through 31 home games (6,542 avg., seventh in AHL). That number represents a year-to-date increase of 6.4% over 2006-07, when the Griffins eventually finished with their largest attendance in four years. Last season, Grand Rapids welcomed 190,699 fans through its first 31 home games.

Player News and Notes: Garrett Stafford has points in five of six games (2-6—8) since returning from Detroit and in eight of his last 10 AHL contests overall (4-8—12)…Carl Corazzini had a team- and AHL career-high four-game goal streak snapped last Thursday in Milwaukee, while his career-high five-game point streak ended Saturday in Cleveland (4-4—8)…Ryan Oulahen, who scored his career-high 12th goal (the game-winner) last Wednesday against Toronto, has points in five of the last seven games (3-2—5)…Mark Cullen has recorded points in five of six games (3-7—10), including three multi-point efforts…Jamie Tardif has points in seven of the last 11 contests (4-3—7)…Kyle Quincey saw a four-game point streak (2-2—4) snapped on Saturday…Mattias Ritola has points in four of the last six games (2-3—5).

Making the Show: Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson returned to the Griffins today following a near three-week stint with the Red Wings. He made his NHL debut on Feb. 22 during Detroit’s 1-0 loss at Calgary, becoming the 90th Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL, and he recorded his first NHL point with a power play goal in the Wings’ 4-3 shootout loss at Edmonton on Feb. 26. In seven games with Detroit, Ericsson also registered 15 shots and two penalty minutes while averaging 15:27 of ice time. An AHL All-Star, he has tallied 25 points (7-18—25) in 54 contests with the Griffins to rank second among defensemen and sixth overall on the club in scoring.…Griffins one-time leading scorer Mark Hartigan will remain with the Wings for the remainder of the season, as he is not on the Griffins’ Clear Day Roster. He has one goal in 10 games with the parent club.

Thanks for the Memories: Darren McCarty’s tenure as a Griffin officially came to a conclusion on Friday when he was recalled from his conditioning loan by Detroit. McCarty, who signed a pro tryout with Grand Rapids on Feb. 4 and was assigned by the Red Wings upon signing a one-year contract on Feb. 25, made an indelible impression on Griffins hockey during his five-week stint. The right wing tallied five goals, 10 points and 21 penalty minutes in 13 games with the AHL club, earning Grand Rapids’ nomination for the CCM/AHL Player of the Month award for February. McCarty provided one of the most memorable performances in franchise history during his Van Andel Arena debut on Feb. 15, when he tallied his second career hat trick in a 6-3 win over the Lake Erie Monsters. After scoring 5:53 into the first period, 2:17 into the second and 2:45 into the third, he capped off his four-point evening – the first of his 16-year career – with an assist on Grand Rapids’ final goal. During last Wednesday’s 5-3 home win over Toronto, McCarty earned an assist on Ryan Oulahen’s game-winning goal 45 seconds into the third period, in what marked his final appearance with Grand Rapids.
 
On a Clear Day: According to AHL by-laws, only those players listed on a team’s Clear Day roster are eligible to compete in the remainder of the AHL regular season and in the 2008 Calder Cup Playoffs, unless emergency conditions arise as a result of recall, injury or suspension. Teams may also add signed junior players or players on amateur tryout contracts after Clear Day, but only once their respective junior or college seasons are complete. The Griffins’ Clear Day roster consists of goaltenders Adam Berkhoel and Jimmy Howard; defensemen Jonathan Ericsson, Tom Galvin, Jon Insana, Jason Jozsa, Jakub Kindl, Cleve Kinley, Kyle Quincey and Garrett Stafford; and forwards Carl Corazzini, Mark Cullen, Josef Fojtik, Randall Gelech, Darren Helm, Francis Lemieux, Darren McCarty, Evan McGrath, Ryan Oulahen, Tyler Redenbach, Mattias Ritola and Jamie Tardif. Defensemen Brad Ference and Russ Moyer are currently in residence.

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. Online right now are the Brett Lebda, Chris Osgood and Kyle Quincey jerseys, with silent and live auctions set for the March 28 game. 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., March 12 vs. Toronto Marlies (38-17-3-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sun., March 16 at Toronto Marlies – Ricoh Coliseum – 4 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. (Wed.) and 3:40 p.m. (Sun.). Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 9-9-0-0 Overall, 5-4-0-0 Home, 4-5-0-0 Road. Season Series: 2-2-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Home, 1-1-0-0 Road. Fifth and sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four in both Grand Rapids and Toronto. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (2nd season). Notes: The Marlies lost four games in five nights last week (0-3-1-0), beginning with their 5-3 defeat at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday…Toronto’s longest losing streak this season gives it a 1-4-2-1 record in its last eight games and has shrunk its lead atop the North Division to just seven points over Manitoba…The Griffins’ 6-1 win over the Marlies at Ricoh Coliseum on Nov. 28 remains Toronto's only loss by more than three goals this season…Grand Rapids will play the Marlies four times in a 22-day span from March 12-April 2…Toronto netminder Justin Pogge suffered his first-ever loss to the Griffins last Wednesday. In seven career games against Grand Rapids, he is 5-1 with two shutouts, a 2.06 GAA and a 0.939 save percentage.

Sat., March 15 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (21-29-4-7) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time/Season Series: 5-2-0-1 Overall, 3-0-0-0 Home. Ninth of 10 meetings overall, fourth of five in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Joe Sacco (1st season). Notes: The Griffins’ 5-3 loss at Lake Erie on Saturday was just their second this season when leading after two periods (18-2-0-0)…The sixth-place Monsters stand six points behind the Griffins in the North Division with three games in hand…Mark Cullen has 12 points (6-6—12) in seven games against the Monsters…Brad Richardson had a hand in each of Lake Erie’s four third-period goals (1-3—4) during its comeback on Saturday.

Griffins Game Rewind

March 8 at Lake Erie
Recap (3-5 L)
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3 4
Official Game Report

March 6 at Milwaukee
Recap (2-4 L)
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2
Official Game Report

March 5 vs. Toronto
Recap (5-3 W)
Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: 1 2 3 4
Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2 3
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

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