03/29/2010 11:03 AM
This Week’s Games
Wed., March 31 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., April 2 - GRIFFINS at Abbotsford Heat - 10:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., April 3 - GRIFFINS at Abbotsford Heat - 9 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Thu., March 25 - GRIFFINS 3 at Milwaukee Admirals 2 - 30-35-3-3, 66 pts. (7th, North Division)
Fri., March 26 - Milwaukee Admirals 3 at GRIFFINS 6 - 31-35-3-3, 68 pts. (7th)
Sat., March 27 - Texas Stars 5 at GRIFFINS 4 SO - 31-35-3-4, 69 pts. (7th)
Down to the Wire: The Griffins will complete a three-game homestand and try to maintain their late-season surge this Wednesday at 7 p.m., when they stage an intradivisional battle against Rochester at Van Andel Arena. If Grand Rapids beats Rochester on Winning Wednesday, each fan in attendance will be able to redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Griffins vs. Amerks game next Wednesday, April 7. In addition, 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.
Close the Gap: With seven games remaining on their schedule, the Griffins trail fourth-place Manitoba by seven points in the race for the final playoff spot in the North Division. Grand Rapids has already trimmed seven points off what was a 14-point Moose lead by going 6-1-1-2 in its last 10 games, while Manitoba has posted a 4-4-0-0 mark over the same stretch.
||Points / Wins
Over GR (Points)
||76 / 35
||8 (2 home,
||73 / 31
||6 (4 home,
|6. Lake Erie
||72 / 32
||6 (2 home,
|7. Grand Rapids
||69 / 31
||7 (3 home,
Running With the Big Dogs: Since their current 6-1-1-2 run began on March 5, the Griffins have suffered the fewest regulation losses of any AHL team. The next-best marks during that stretch belong to AHL-leading Hershey (9-2-0-1), Western Conference-leading Hamilton (9-2-0-1), Texas (10-2-0-0) and Bridgeport (9-2-1-0). Grand Rapids has earned as many wins and points (six and 15) in its last 10 games as it did during the preceding 27-game stretch from Jan. 3-March 4 (6-18-2-1, 15 pts.).
Destination Abbotsford: This Friday and Saturday, the Griffins will make their first-ever visits to the Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre in British Columbia, marking the 49th arena, 41st city and sixth Canadian province in which they’ve played since their 1996 inception (including Grand Rapids and Van Andel Arena)…The Griffins have not played a game in the Pacific Time Zone since Nov. 24, 2004, when they beat the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks 4-3 in a shootout at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, one of three Pacific-Time cities in which they’ve previously played (Las Vegas and Long Beach)…At 1,791 miles from Grand Rapids, Abbotsford will mark the third-farthest city in which the Griffins have played a game, trailing Long Beach (1,859) and Anaheim (1,844) and just out-distancing Las Vegas (1,633) and St. John’s (1,621).
Packing Them In: After Grand Rapids welcomed a total of 20,947 fans (96.7% capacity) to Van Andel Arena on Friday and Saturday, the Griffins’ fourth-ranked attendance average has eclipsed the 7,000-mark for the season (7,046). Including its March 6 sellout (10,834) against Manitoba, Grand Rapids has logged three straight home crowds of 10,000-plus.
On the Plus Side: Francis Pare leads Grand Rapids with a plus-19 rating, a figure nearly twice that of the next-best Griffin (Jan Mursak at plus-10). Pare, whose plus-23 rating last season was the highest for a Griffin since 2005-06, is on track to become the first player in franchise history to lead the team in plus/minus in two different seasons, much less consecutive campaigns. His career plus-42 rating currently places him ninth on the Griffins’ all-time list.
Scoring Outburst: Five of the Griffins’ six goals in their 6-3 win over Milwaukee on Friday came during the third period, tying their season high for a single frame and marking their most in a home stanza since they scored five times in the third period of an 8-4 win over Rochester on Jan. 31, 2009…Combined with their four goals on Saturday against Texas, the Griffins’ 10 goals were their most in consecutive games since Dec. 13-15.
Who’s Hot?: Jordan Owens scored his first goal as a Griffin on Friday against Milwaukee, part of a three-point night (1-2—3)…Jamie Tardif scored two goals, including the game-winner, and contributed an assist and a plus-three rating against the Admirals, before tallying the game-tying marker on Saturday to help the Griffins earn a point against Texas…Cory Emmerton (1-2—3), John Vigilante (0-3—3) and Jan Mursak (2-0—2) also have points in consecutive games…Mattias Ritola owns a three-game point streak (1-3—4) and has factored into the scoring in 14 of the last 21 games (6-12—18)…Jeremy Williams also has a three-game point streak (2-2—4) along with points in five of the last six outings (3-3—6)…Daniel Larsson is 5-2-1 with a 2.46 GAA and a 0.910 save percentage so far during March.
If Only We Played in the North Division. Oh, Wait…: Of their 73 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 44 interdivisional contests against the West with a 16-24-2-2 record (0.409) to show for it.
Playhouse Raffle Ends April 9: The season-long charitable raffle for the Griffins/Van Andel Arena playhouse has less than two 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.
Wed., March 31 vs. Rochester Americans (40-31-2-1) – 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: 24-17-1-1-1 Overall, 13-6-1-0-1 Home. Season Series: 2-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Fifth of six meetings overall, second of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Benoit Groulx (2nd season). Notes: Second-place Rochester has a four-point lead on Abbotsford in the race for home-ice advantage in the North Division Semifinals…Jamie Johnson is tied for 12th in AHL scoring (24-42—66)…Former Griffin Clay Wilson leads all league defensemen with 60 points (14-46—60)…The Americans rank fifth in scoring (3.16 per game) but are tied for 20th in goals allowed (3.09).
Fri., April 2 at Abbotsford Heat (34-28-5-6) – Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre – 10:30 p.m.
Sat., April 3 at Abbotsford Heat – Abbotsford Entertainment & Sports Centre – 9 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 10:05 p.m. (Fri.) and 8:35 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time/Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Season Series: Third and fourth of four meetings overall, first and second of two in Abbotsford. NHL Affiliation: Calgary Flames. Head Coach: Jim Playfair (1st season). Notes: Purported North Division rivals Grand Rapids and Abbotsford will meet for the first time in 159 days on Friday…The Griffins swept both prior clashes with the Heat at Van Andel Arena on Oct. 23 (5-3 in GR’s home opener) and Oct. 25 (6-1)…Abbotsford stands third in the division, three points ahead of Manitoba…The Heat, who are on a 0-3-1-0 skid, rank 24th on the power play (15.1%) and 25th in penalty killing (79.9%)…Andy Delmore has two assists in eight games with the Heat since his March 3 trade from Grand Rapids, while Riley Armstrong has a goal and an assist in 10 games for the Griffins since the swap…Abbotsford averages a league-high 23.10 penalty minutes.