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THE STRETCH RUN


This Week’s Games
Thu., March 25 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Fri., March 26 - Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sat., March 27 - Texas Stars at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Fri., March 19 - GRIFFINS 4 at Manitoba Moose 3 - 29-34-3-3, 64 pts. (7th, North Division)

Sun., March 21 - GRIFFINS 0 at Manitoba Moose 4 - 29-35-3-3, 64 pts. (7th) 

Homecoming: After completing their season-high six-game road trip on Thursday in Milwaukee, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena this Friday and Saturday to stage their first home contests in three weeks. Fri. vs. Milwaukee: Fans can partake in $1 domestic drafts and $1 hot dogs from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last, and the first 1,500 fans will receive a Ville Leino Griffins jersey card courtesy of Chemical Bank. Women who purchase a Ladies’ Night Out package will enjoy a pre-game pamper party, while others can take advantage of the popular College Night and D-Zone promotions. Sat. vs. Texas: Courtesy of metroPCS, 2,000 fans will receive a Griffins beach towel. The Griffins will wear special jerseys that will be auctioned to the public in the Huntington Club following the game, with all proceeds benefiting PennyBen & American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge as part of their “Hockey For Hope” fundraising campaign. Fans can enjoy Mascot Mania, post-game player autographs and a post-game skate, and take advantage of LCMU Blue Crew and Fan 4-Pack ticket deals.

Where We Stand: Grand Rapids has enjoyed a solid start to its season-high six-game road trip, claiming seven of a possible 10 points (3-1-0-1) thus far. With 10 games remaining in their regular season schedule, the Griffins trail Manitoba (by 10 points), Lake Erie (five points) and Toronto (five points) in the race for the fourth and final playoff berth in the North Division:

Team Points / Wins Games Left Opponents'
Winning %
Magic No.
Over GR (Points)
4. Manitoba 74 / 34 10 (4 home,
6 road)
0.604 11
5. Lake Erie 69 / 31 10 (3 home,
7 road)
0.531 16
6. Toronto 69 / 29 10 (5 home,
5 road)
0.569 16
7. Grand Rapids 64 / 29 10 (5 home,
5 road)
0.576 --

A Tough Out: Over its last five games, Grand Rapids has earned wins against three of the top four teams in the North Division standings (first-place Hamilton, third-place Rochester and fourth-place Manitoba).

What a Difference: The Griffins’ recent six-game point streak (4-0-1-1 from March 5-19) was their longest since posting a nine-game winning streak from Oct. 23-Nov. 13, and they are now 4-1-1-1 with newcomers Riley Armstrong, Brad May, Jordan Owens and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen together in the lineup.

You Bring Out the Best in Me: Grand Rapids and Manitoba played their entire four-game season series between March 5-21, with the Griffins earning a 2-1-1-0 mark against perhaps their fiercest rival. Not surprisingly, the games were spirited and combative, featuring a combined 41 roughing minors, 10 fighting majors, five unsportsmanlike conduct calls and three 10-minute misconducts. The Griffins averaged 32.3 penalty minutes per game against the Moose, a 118-percent increase over their 14.8 PIM average from their other 66 contests this season.

Cold-Hearted Killers: On Friday, Manitoba scored during its first power play of the contest, snapping the Griffins’ penalty killing streak at 30 opponent power play chances over six games, which marked their longest penalty killing streak of the season in terms of both opportunities and games. Despite allowing the Moose to score four times in 11 power play chances over the weekend, Grand Rapids’ penalty kill has denied 66 of its foes’ last 76 chances (86.7%) to rank 21st overall (80.8%) in the AHL.

Who’s Hot?: Justin Abdelkader has points in 10 of the last 13 contests (7-7—14)…Daniel Larsson is 4-2-0 with a 2.31 GAA and a 0.919 save percentage so far during March…Mattias Ritola has points in 11 of the last 18 games (5-9—14)…Brad May’s three-game point streak (1-2—3) was snapped on Sunday…Both John Vigilante (1-1—2) and Francis Pare (1-1—2) had two points during Friday’s 4-3 win over the Moose, with Pare setting up Vigilante for the game-winning goal with just over four minutes remaining.

Milestones: Mattias Ritola appeared in his 200th game with Grand Rapids on Friday and is one point shy of 100 with the Griffins (38-61—99)…Ole-Kristian Tollefsen needs two more games for 300 as a pro…Paul Crosty surpassed 600 PIM in the AHL during Friday’s contest.

If Only We Played in the North Division. Oh, Wait…: Of their 70 games thus far, the Griffins have played only 29 within the North Division, compiling a solid 15-11-1-2 mark (0.569) against their theoretical rivals. By contrast, they’ve staged 41 interdivisional contests against the West with a 14-24-2-1 record (0.378) to show for it.

Rissmiller Out 6-8 Weeks: Patrick Rissmiller will miss the remainder of the regular season after suffering a broken wrist on March 14 in Rochester. He ranks second on the Griffins in scoring with 45 points (20-25—45) in 63 appearances.

Playhouse Raffle Ends April 9: The season-long charitable raffle for the Griffins/Van Andel Arena playhouse has less than three weeks remaining. This spectacular custom-built playhouse, donated by Out on a Limb Playhouses of Grand Haven, includes amenities such as a 22” HD television, a Sony PlayStation 3 game system with EA Sports’ NHL 2010 video game, two stadium-style seats, a custom-made bench modeled after those in the Griffins' locker room, an “ice-rink” floor with dasher boards, a Griffins hanging scoreboard light, a built-in street hockey net and much more! The winner will also receive free delivery and site preparation/landscaping within 50 miles of Grand Rapids. Raffle tickets are available for $5 each or five for $20 and may be purchased at the playhouse display in the Van Andel Arena lobby before any Griffins game, on the concourse during intermission, or at griffinshockey.com/playhouse. The drawing will be held during the second intermission of the Griffins’ regular season home finale on April 9, and all proceeds will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.

Scouting Report

Thu., March 25 at Milwaukee Admirals (37-26-1-6) – Bradley Center – 8 p.m.
Fri., March 26 vs. Milwaukee Admirals – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:35 p.m. (Thu.) and 6:35 p.m. (Fri.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 48-37-7-5-4 Overall, 19-21-5-4-3 Road, 29-16-2-1-1 Home. Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Road, 1-1-0-0 Home. Fourth and fifth of six meetings overall, second of three in Milwaukee, third and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (3rd season). Notes: The Griffins haven’t won a season series against the Admirals since 2005-06, going 7-15-4-1 against their long-time rival since the start of the 2006-07 campaign…Grand Rapids is 0-7-1-0 in its last eight visits to the Bradley Center, with its last victory in Suds City coming in 1-0 fashion on Dec. 2, 2007…The Admirals currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, six points ahead of San Antonio…Milwaukee netminder Mark Dekanich ranks fifth in the AHL with a 2.33 GAA…Grand Rapids’ John Vigilante tallied 23 goals and 73 points over two seasons (2006-08) with Milwaukee.

Sat., March 27 vs. Texas Stars (40-23-3-4) – 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/Season Series: 4-1-0-0 Overall, 2-0-0-0 Home. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars. Head Coach: Glen Gulutzan (1st season). Notes: The Griffins have won four straight meetings against Texas, marking the first time they’ve won four consecutive games versus an opponent in a single season since 2008-09, when they swept a four-game series against Quad City. They 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…The Stars sit in second place in the West, one point ahead of Rockford…Former Griffin Aaron Gagnon notched a hat trick in Texas’ 4-2 win at Peoria on Sunday…The Stars, winners of four straight, rank second in the AHL in goals allowed per game (2.43) and third in penalty killing (86.3%).
 

Griffins Game Rewinds

March 21 at MTB - 0-4 L
ESPN Radio Highlights: Moose goal 3
Official Game Report

March 19 at MTB - 4-3 W
AHLlive Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: Moose goal 2   Williams goal   Moose goal 3   Vigilante goal
Official Game Report



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