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THE EYES OF TEXAS ARE UPON US

This Week’s Games
San Antonio Rampage at GRIFFINS // Wed., Nov. 8 // 11 a.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen:
ESPN 96.1 FM at 10:35 a.m.
Watch: AHLLive.com   
Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 20-12-1-3-1 Home, 40-26-1-5-2 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche
Noteworthy: Grand Rapids won all four games against San Antonio last season and outscored the Rampage 18-3.

GRIFFINS at Texas Stars // Fri., Nov. 10 // 8:30 p.m. EST // H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
GRIFFINS at Texas Stars // Sat., Nov. 11 // 8 p.m. EST // H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 8:05 p.m. on Friday and ESPN 96.1 FM at 7:35 p.m. on Saturday
Watch: AHLLive.com   
Season Series: First and second of six meetings overall, first and second of three at H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
All-Time Series: 11-6-1-0 Road, 23-10-1-2 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars
Noteworthy: Despite splitting last season’s four-game series, the Griffins have won 11 of the last 13 overall against Texas.  

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 1    GRIFFINS 6 at Milwaukee Admirals 3    4-5-0-1 (9 points, 5th Central)
Fri., Nov. 3    Chicago Wolves 2 at GRIFFINS 0    4-6-0-1 (9 points, 6th)
Sun., Nov. 5    Milwaukee Admirals 1 at GRIFFINS 2    5-6-0-1 (11 points, 6th)


Opening Faceoff: The defending Calder Cup champion Griffins are 5-6-0-1 to begin the 2017-18 campaign. Playing three divisional games last week, Grand Rapids finished 2-1 after beating then-Central leader Milwaukee on Wednesday and Sunday and falling to Chicago on Friday. The Griffins begin their sixth week of the season with their 17th annual matinee game on Wednesday against San Antonio before embarking on an 11-day, five-game, four-city road trip.

Follow the Leaders:
Points: Matt Puempel (3-7—10)
Goals: Dominic Turgeon (5)
Assists: Puempel (7)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (23)
Plus-Minus: Colin Campbell (+5)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (4)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.74)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.909)

Last Week’s Notes: Grand Rapids snapped a three-game road winless streak with its 6-3 win at Milwaukee on Wednesday…Ten Griffins found the scoresheet during the victory, led by two-point efforts from Ben Street, Dominic Turgeon, Eric Tangradi and Matt Puempel…Grand Rapids’ 43 shots on Wednesday were a season high…Chicago’s 2-0 win at Grand Rapids on Friday marked the Wolves’ first shutout against the Griffins since Jan. 29, 2010…Grand Rapids is 15-4-1-0 (0.775) in its last 20 regular season games against Chicago under third-year head coach Todd Nelson…Sunday’s win against Milwaukee marked the first time Grand Rapids played a regular season Sunday home game since Feb. 28, 2016…Including its 3-0 sweep of the 2017 Central Division Semifinals, Grand Rapids has won six consecutive meetings against the Admirals…The Griffins finished 2-for-9 on the power play on Sunday, marking their most opportunities since Feb. 5, 2016, when they went 4-for-10 in a 9-1 win at Rockford. 

Matinee Games: When San Antonio comes rampaging into West Michigan on Wednesday, it will mark Grand Rapids’ 17th annual matinee game, as the Griffins have hosted a weekday game with an early start time every year since the 2001-02 season. Grand Rapids owns a 10-5-1-0 record (0.656) in home matinee games, including an entertaining 7-5 victory over Manitoba in last season’s rendition. Wednesday will be the first of three weekday matinees for Grand Rapids this season, as the Griffins play at San Antonio on Nov. 14 (11:30 a.m. EST start) and at Chicago on Dec. 21 (noon EST start).

Road Trippin’: Grand Rapids heads to the Lone Star State on Friday to begin a five-game road trip, which ties for the longest this season. The Griffins also play five straight in away venues from March 31-April 12. Including this upcoming excursion, Grand Rapids has had road trips of at least five games 26 times in the franchise’s 22-year history.

Bertuzzi Debuts: After missing the first 10 games of the season due to an injury suffered in a Red Wings preseason game, Tyler Bertuzzi made his season debut with the Griffins last weekend. He logged one shot in Friday’s loss to Chicago and on Sunday he scored the game-winning goal on the power play, as Grand Rapids came back in the third period to defeat Milwaukee 2-1.

Puemp It Up: Acquired by the Red Wings via a trade on Oct. 21, Matt Puempel has tallied seven points (2-5—7) in his first six games in a Grand Rapids uniform. That is only two points shy of the best six-game debut by a Griffin acquired midseason from outside the organization, trailing Kip Miller’s (4-5—9 in 2000-01) and Pavol Demitra’s (4-5—9 in 1996-97) nine points.

Whoa, Nelly: Todd Nelson needs three more games coached to reach 500 as an AHL head coach and is expected to reach that total on Saturday at Texas. In his seventh season as an AHL head coach, Nelson shows a 272-170-14-41 (0.603) all-time mark between Oklahoma City (2010-14) and Grand Rapids (2015-current) and has led his teams to the Calder Cup Playoffs in each of his six full seasons behind the bench, including the 2017 Calder Cup with the Griffins. Now in his third season as Grand Rapids’ head coach, Nelson shows a 96-59-2-7 (0.613) record and needs four wins to become the fifth coach in franchise history to reach the century mark.

McCarron Assigned: After last Friday’s game against Chicago, the Griffins assigned defenseman Patrick McCarron to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. McCarron, 23, is skating in his first full professional season and has not appeared with the Griffins this year. He has logged one goal in seven games with the Walleye. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound blueliner played four seasons at Cornell University, where he accumulated 50 points (12-38—50) in 123 career games from 2013-17 and was named to the All-Ivy League Second Team as a senior. McCarron has made one career appearance with the Griffins, playing in the 2016-17 regular season finale at Milwaukee and tallying his first pro point on an assist.

November to Remember: Historically, the month of November has been a fruitful one for Grand Rapids, as the Griffins have posted a 0.500 record or better in the month 16 times in franchise history. Since the 2012-13 season, Grand Rapids has tallied a combined 40-15-1-2 (0.716) record in the 11th month of the year. At home in the month of November, the Griffins are a combined 23-7-0-1 (0.758) since 2012-13.

Back on Track: After going through a three-game stretch from Oct. 25-28 that saw opponents finish 8-for-21 on the power play, Grand Rapids’ penalty kill has gone 15-for-15 over its last three games. 

Milestones: Several Griffins are nearing career benchmarks, including Tom McCollum (299 GP as a pro), Ben Street (299 AHL points), Corey Elkins (95 pro goals) and Matthew Ford (199 pro assists).

Patriotic Griffins: When Grand Rapids plays at Texas on Saturday, it will mark the third straight season the Griffins play on Veterans Day. Grand Rapids is 9-1-0-0 all time when playing on Nov. 11 and has outscored opponents 39-14.

San Antonio Notes: After being swept by the Rampage in all four meetings during the 2015-16 season, the Griffins turned the tables and won all four games between the Western Conference foes in the 2016-17 campaign while outscoring San Antonio 18-3…First-year Griffin Turner Elson scored three points (1-2—3) and added 12 PIM as a member of the Rampage in 2016-17 while being limited to 13 games due to injury…Second-year Griffin Ben Street captained the Rampage in 2015-16, his only season in San Antonio…Street was limited to 15 games due to injury but totaled 21 points (7-14—21) and was named San Antonio’s IOA/American Specialty Man of the Year for his community involvement.

Texas Notes: The Griffins have either won or shared the season series against Texas every year since 2011-12 and are 23-10-1-2 all time against the Stars…Despite splitting last season’s four-game series, the Griffins have won 11 of the last 13 overall against Texas, including a 10-game winning streak from Jan. 25, 2014-Nov. 16, 2016…The Stars’ victory at Van Andel Arena on Nov. 18, 2016, snapped both an eight-game home winning streak and a 10-game overall winning streak that Grand Rapids held in the series…Grand Rapids has won six of its last seven at Texas…Todd Nelson holds a 34-19-3-3 (0.627) all-time mark against Texas as an AHL head coach…Texas, which won the 2014 Calder Cup, missed the playoffs last year to snap a streak of four consecutive postseason bids.

Climbing the Charts: Eighth-year Griffin Tom McCollum and fifth-year Griffin Jared Coreau both rank in the top five in several categories in Grand Rapids’ all-time goaltending record book.

Games Played Minutes Wins Saves
1. Tom McCollum (23)  1. Tom McCollum (12949:43) 1. Joey MacDonald (109) 1. Tom McCollum (5756)
2. Joey MacDonald (210)   2. Joey MacDonald (11784:31) 2. Tom McCollum (104) 2. Joey MacDonald (5362)
3. Jimmy Howard (190) 3. Jimmy Howard (10886:40) 3. Jimmy Howard (93) 3. Jimmy Howard (4941)
4. Jared Coreau (119) 4. Jared Coreau (6903:54) 4. Jared Coreau (68) 4. Jared Coreau (3181)


Up and Down: With a 5-6-0-1 record through 12 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ five wins and seven (including overtime and shootout) losses. Nine of the 12 games have been decided by two or more goals. Grand Rapids has scored five or more goals in four of its five victories.

  GF GA PP% PK% SF SA
W (5) 5.00 2.40 30.00% 90.48% 34.20 29.60
L (7) 1.43 3.86 11.54% 76.74% 31.71 31.71


Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive nights:

  W L (incl. OT, SO) GF GA PP% PK% SF SA
First Night 3 1 4.75 2.75 26.32% 83.33% 31.50 33.25
Second Night 0 4 1.75 4.75 15.38% 66.67% 30.00 32.50


Championship Effects: Since 2001-02, the year Grand Rapids joined the AHL, nine Calder Cup champions have gone on to qualify for the postseason in the following season, including the Griffins, who reached the conference semifinals in 2014 after winning the franchise’s first championship in 2013. Only one team in this 16-year span repeated as champions (Hershey in 2009 and 2010).

Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye are 6-2-1-0 (13 points) and lead the Central Division. Christian Hilbrich paces the team in scoring with nine points (4-5—9) while former Griffins A.J. Jenks (4-2—6) and Shane Berschbach (1-5—6) tie for second. Griffins-contracted Pat Nagle was named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 5 after winning all three games the Walleye played and posting a 2.03 goals against average and a 0.933 save percentage. Nagle has been honored as the goalie of the week six times, which ties for the third most in ECHL history. For the season, Nagle leads the league with six wins while placing second with a 1.96 GAA and tying for ninth with a 0.931 save percentage.