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BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Jeremy Williams


This Week’s Games
Wed., Feb. 24 - San Antonio Rampage at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Fri., Feb. 26 - GRIFFINS at Rochester Americans - 7:05 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sat., Feb. 27 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com / NHL Network

Sun., Feb. 28 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 3 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 19 - Hamilton Bulldogs 4 at GRIFFINS 3 - 24-29-2-1, 51 pts. (7th, North Division) 

Sat., Feb. 20 - Peoria Rivermen 5 at GRIFFINS 3 - 24-30-2-1, 51 pts. (7th) 

Sun., Feb. 21 - Texas Stars 4 at GRIFFINS 5 - 25-30-2-1, 53 pts. (7th)

Where We Stand: The Griffins currently reside in seventh place in the North Division with 53 points, but they stand just nine points out of a playoff spot (fourth-place Manitoba at 62) and 11 points out of third place (Abbotsford at 64). To earn either spot, they also need to climb over fifth-place Lake Erie (58 points) and sixth-place Toronto (56 points).

Winning Wednesday: Should the Griffins beat visiting San Antonio on “Winning Wednesday” tomorrow, each fan in attendance will be able to redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Griffins vs. Rochester game on Wednesday, March 31. The Griffins will host their inaugural Social Media Seminar before the game, during which fans can hear local social media experts speak about their experiences with social media, how it can help students as they enter the job market, and how those already employed can better understand and use the world of social media to improve their business and increase sales. The seminar cost is only $10, which includes a ticket to the game, and registration runs through midnight tonight at griffinshockey.com/seminar. Wednesday is also Library Night. Fans who present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the night of the game or at The Zone anytime during the store’s regular business hours can purchase a lower bowl ticket for just $10 - a savings of $7! Limit four tickets per card per person.

What a Weekend!: Staging their third three-in-three homestand of the season last weekend, the Griffins welcomed a total of 24,126 fans (8,042 avg.) to Van Andel Arena from Friday through Sunday, including a high of 9,946 for Saturday’s game against Peoria. Grand Rapids currently ranks fourth in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,733 through 32 home games.

Road Life: The Griffins will try to extend their season-high four-game road point streak (2-0-2-0) this weekend when they commence a four-game trip with visits to Rochester (Friday) and Lake Erie (Saturday and Sunday). Grand Rapids has limited its opposition to two goals or less in four consecutive road games for the first time since Jan. 14-Feb. 4, 2009.

Olympic Update: Heading into Tuesday’s qualification round of the Olympics, Griffins defenseman Sergei Kolosov had gone scoreless in three games with Belarus (1-2), while Ole-Kristen Tollefsen was without a point in two games for Norway (0-3). The pair are just the third and fourth players in franchise history to participate in the Olympics as active Griffins, joining Niklas Kronwall (2006 Sweden) and Julien Vauclair (2002 Switzerland). In the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, Kronwall became the first Griffins alumnus to earn an Olympic medal, winning gold thanks to Sweden’s victory over Finland in the championship game. Three of the other 10 men’s hockey teams are counting on former Griffins in their medal quests. Kronwall (2003-06) and Stefan Liv (2006-07), who also won gold with Sweden in 2006, are looking to repeat, while Slovakia’s Pavol Demitra (1996-97) and Tomas Kopecky (2002-06) and Finland’s Valtteri Filppula (2005-07) are trying to dethrone the defending champs.

Stars Align: Thanks to Sunday’s 5-4 win, the Griffins have won four straight meetings against Texas and improved to 4-1 against the Stars this season. Grand Rapids last won four consecutive games versus an opponent in a single season in 2008-09, when it swept its four-game series against the Quad City Flames. In addition, the Griffins hadn’t earned four straight regulation victories against a team in one season since 2005-06, when they accomplished the feat against Cleveland (five straight), Rochester, San Antonio and Syracuse.

That’s More Like It: After fighting through a nightmarish 2-10-0 stretch from Dec. 20-Jan. 29, Daniel Larsson has regained his all-star form over his last seven games, posting four wins, two overtime losses, a 2.43 GAA and a 0.920 save percentage (196-213) since Feb. 5. He now stands in sixth place on the Griffins’ all-time wins list with 39 victories, just two behind fifth-place Ian Gordon (41).

Short Story: During Saturday’s loss to Peoria, Lars Eller’s power play goal midway through the second period snapped Grand Rapids’ penalty killing streak at 17. The Griffins have still managed to kill off 53 of 58 (91.4%) opponent power play chances over their last 14 contests, after allowing 18 power play goals on 65 chances (72.3% PK) in the previous 14 games.

Who’s Hot?: Jeremy Williams is riding a four-game point streak (2-3—5) and has points in nine of the last 10 games (4-8—12)…Doug Janik has registered points in three straight games (1-3—4)…Mattias Ritola’s three-game point streak (1-2—3) was snapped on Sunday…Cory Emmerton has points in consecutive games (1-1—2) for the first time since Jan. 16-17…Kris Newbury (0-3—3), Patrick Rissmiller (1-1—2), Francis Pare (1-3—4) and Justin Abdelkader (1-2—3) all have points in two of the last three games.

Hats Off to Hamilton: On Friday, Hamilton’s David Desharnais completed a hat trick just 46 seconds into the middle frame, marking his second three-goal effort against the Griffins in less than 11 months (April 3, 2009 at Hamilton). Including Brock Trotter’s three goals versus Grand Rapids on Jan. 9, 2010, a Bulldog has recorded each of the last three hat tricks allowed by the Griffins.

If Only We Played in the North Division. Oh, Wait…: Of their 58 games thus far, the Griffins have played only 19 within the North Division, compiling a respectable 11-8-0-0 mark (0.579) against their theoretical rivals. By contrast, they’ve staged 39 interdivisional contests against the West – the only division in which every team has a winning record – with a 14-22-2-1 record (0.397) to show for it.

Home Sweet Home?: Despite starting the season with eight straight wins at Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids is now two games under 0.500 at home (15-17-0-0) after dropping 14 of its last 17 within friendly confines. Following the four-game homestand that ends on Wednesday, the Griffins will play 14 of their final 21 contests on the road, where they own a 10-13-2-1 mark.

Scouting Report

Wed., Feb. 24 vs. San Antonio Rampage (24-24-3-6) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 29-14-1-1-0 Overall, 15-6-1-0-0 Home. Season Series: 1-4-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Home. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Phoenix Coyotes. Head Coach: Ray Edwards (1st season). Notes: In the eighth year of their rivalry, this will mark the first season in which the Griffins post a losing record against the Rampage…San Antonio will conclude a 14-game road trip (6-5-0-2 since Jan. 27) in Grand Rapids, hoping to break a four-game losing streak that has brought its record back to 0.500…The Rampage’s 3-2 win over the Griffins on Jan. 6 ended their seven-game skid at Van Andel Arena…San Antonio ranks among the AHL’s best in both power play (4th at 20.2%) and penalty killing (6th at 85.6%).

Fri., Feb. 26 at Rochester Americans (32-25-2-0) – Blue Cross Arena – 7:05 p.m.
TV: Time Warner Cable 98 (Rochester) at 7 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 23-16-1-1-1 Overall, 10-10-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Third of six meetings overall, second of three in Rochester. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Benoit Groulx (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins have won five straight games at Blue Cross Arena after winning only five of their prior 16 visits…Rochester broke a four-game slide with a 3-2 shootout win over Eastern Conference power Portland on Sunday…Once 13-2-2-0 on home ice, the Amerks have since gone 6-9-0-0, starting with a 6-3 loss to Grand Rapids on Jan. 8…Rochester’s Jamie Johnson ranks seventh in AHL scoring (22-35—57)…Former Griffin Clay Wilson is tied for the league lead among defensemen with 44 points (11-33—44).

Sat., Feb. 27 at Lake Erie Monsters (27-26-0-4) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 28 at Lake Erie Monsters – Quicken Loans Arena – 3 p.m.
TV: NHL Network at 7:30 p.m. (Saturday) and My43 WUAB (Lake Erie) at 3 p.m. (Sunday). Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:05 p.m. (Saturday) and 2:35 p.m. (Sunday). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 13-7-1-2 Overall, 5-3-1-2 Road. Season Series: 3-2-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Sixth and seventh of eight meetings overall, third and fourth of four in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (1st season). Notes: The Griffins have allowed six or more goals in three of their five games against the Monsters this season, including a 7-2 loss in their most recent meeting on Jan. 3 at Van Andel Arena…Darren Haydar, the Griffins’ leading scorer last season, currently ranks second on Lake Erie with 45 points (18-27—45)…Grand Rapids’ 6-2 loss in Cleveland on Dec. 1 broke its five-game point streak (3-0-1-1) at Quicken Loans Arena…The Monsters are 28th in home penalty killing (78.0%) while the Griffins are 29th (last) in road penalty killing (74.8%).
 

Griffins Game Rewinds

Feb. 21 vs. TEX - 5-4 W
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Janik   Newbury   Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Williams goal   Pare goal   Abdelkader goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: Janik   Newbury   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

Feb. 20 vs. PEO - 3-5 L
GriffVision Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Tardif   McCollum   Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Tardif goal   Pyett goal   Peoria goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: Tardif   McCollum   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

Feb. 19 vs. HAM - 3-4 L
GriffVision Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Larsson   Mursak   Fraser
WOOD Radio Highlights: Mursak goal   Bulldogs goal   Williams goal
Post-Game Sound Bites: Larsson   Mursak   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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