North Division Foes Split Six Regular Season Meetings
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.
The Grand Rapids Griffins will begin their chase for the Calder Cup by facing the Toronto Marlies in the best-of-seven North Division Semifinals.
Regular season champion Grand Rapids, which possesses home-ice advantage throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs, will host Games 1 and 2 against the fourth-seeded Marlies this Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22. The series will switch to Ricoh Coliseum for Games 3-5, before returning to Van Andel Arena for Game 6 on Sunday, April 30, and Game 7 on Monday, May 1, if necessary.
The complete schedule is as follows:
2006 Calder Cup Playoffs North Division Semifinals Best-of-Seven
Game 1 - Fri., April 21 - Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. (Game A)
Game 2 - Sat., April 22 - Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. (Game B)
Game 3 - Mon., April 24 - GRIFFINS at Marlies - 7:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Wed., April 26 - GRIFFINS at Marlies - 7:30 p.m.
*Game 5 - Fri., April 28 - GRIFFINS at Marlies - 7:30 p.m.
*Game 6 - Sun., April 30 - Marlies at GRIFFINS - 6 p.m. (Game C)
*Game 7 - Mon., May 1 - Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. (Game D)
* If necessary. All times Eastern and subject to change. All games on WOOD 1300 AM.
Tickets for all four potential home playoff games, which are included in Griffins season ticket packages (Games A-D), are now on sale. Single-game playoff ticket prices are $26, $21, $18, $16, $14 and $6 (advance purchase only), reflecting a league-wide increase of $1 over regular season prices. Playoff tickets may be purchased in person at The Zone at Van Andel Arena and all Star Tickets Plus locations (including Meijer stores), by phone through Star Tickets Plus at 800-585-3737, or by clicking here
The Griffins rallied to earn a split of a tough six-game regular season series against the Marlies, winning the final two meetings at home on March 18 (4-3 in overtime) and Jan. 21 (6-5). They finished the series with records of 2-1-0-0 at Van Andel Arena and 1-2-0-0 at Ricoh Coliseum.
The clash between Grand Rapids and Toronto presents several intriguing storylines:
Eleven members of the Griffins are natives of Ontario, including Toronto-area products Darryl Bootland (Bradford), Eric Himelfarb (Toronto), Ryan Oulahen (Newmarket) and Terry Virtue (Scarborough). Head coach Greg Ireland and assistant coach Jim Paek also hail from the province;
The parent clubs of the Griffins and Marlies are NHL Original Six rivals Detroit and Toronto. In addition, Marlies bench boss Paul Maurice coached Carolina against the Red Wings in the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals;
The Marlies are looking forward to the return of more than a half-dozen players who are either injured or on recall to the Maple Leafs. Reinforcements from the NHL will include goalie Jean-Sebastien Aubin, defenseman Ian White and forward Ben Ondrus, while defenseman Staffan Kronwall, currently on the mend, is the younger brother of former Griffin and current Red Wings blueliner Niklas Kronwall;
Toronto is Grand Rapids first Canadian playoff foe in its 10 seasons.