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11/14/2005 4:00 PM - Four Games in Six Days Against North Division Rivals

This Week’s Games
Tue., Nov. 15 Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS Noon WTKG 1230 AM/B2 Networks

Fri., Nov. 18 Cleveland Barons at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM/B2

Sat., Nov. 19 GRIFFINS at Cleveland Barons 7:05 p.m. WOOD/B2

Sun., Nov. 20 GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies 5 p.m. Comcast Local/WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Result
Sat., Nov. 12 GRIFFINS 2 at Hamilton Bulldogs 5 9-3-0-1, 19 pts. (T1st, North Division)

Afternoon Delight: The Griffins will host their fifth annual matinee game at noon Tuesday versus Manitoba, kicking off four games against North Division foes over the next six days. The Moose are currently tied for first place with Grand Rapids at 19 points (although the Griffins have played two fewer games). Tomorrow’s crowd may break the event record of 6,841, set during the inaugural matinee on Nov. 13, 2001. More than 3,700 middle and high school students will be in attendance, including 1,900 Grand Rapids Public School students who received tickets purchased and donated by sponsors such as Lake Michigan Credit Union, Alticor and the Grand Rapids Press.

Friday Fun: Friday’s game against Cleveland will feature the Subway Four-Pack (four tickets to the game, four coupons for Subway Fresh Meal Deals and parking for $44) and the Bud True Music Happy Hour. From 6-7 p.m. on the concourse, fans 21 and older can enjoy $2.25 drafts and live music by rock guitar soloist Jon Nieboer.

Life Is Good: At 9-3-0-1 (19 pts.), the Griffins are off to their best AHL start and their second-fastest start ever in terms of both wins and points, trailing only their 2000-01 IHL squad that began 11-1-1 (23 pts.). Grand Rapids’ 0.731 winning percentage is second in the Western Conference and third overall in the AHL.

Baker’s Dozen: Jiri Hudler’s assist on Saturday in Hamilton extended his AHL-high scoring streak to 13 games, supplanting his 12-game run from 2003-04 as the second-longest streak in franchise history (Derek King, 17 games in 2000-01). Second in the league in both goals (13) and points (26), Hudler reached the quarter-century points mark six games faster than any other Griffin (Michel Picard, 18 games in 1997-98), and his 26 points are eight more than anyone else has totaled through the first 13 games of a season (four players with 18).

Mac is Back: AHL all-star goaltender Joey MacDonald made a conditioning start with ECHL Toledo on Saturday, stopping 25 shots in the Storm’s 4-1 win over Trenton. Fully recovered from off-season back surgery, he returned to the Griffins on Sunday and will be available to make his 2005-06 debut tomorrow against Manitoba.

You ‘Da Manlow: After accounting for both Grand Rapids goals in Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Hamilton, Eric Manlow now ranks among the AHL’s leaders with eight goals (T10th), 18 points (T8th) and six power play goals (5th). His power play marker versus the Bulldogs was the 16th of his Griffins career, tying Kip Miller and Ed Patterson for seventh on the franchise’s all-time list. Manlow’s 18 points tie for the second-most ever by a Griffin through 13 games, behind only linemate Jiri Hudler’s 26 points.

Dominant Drew: Drew MacIntyre ranks among the league leaders with five wins (T6th), a 1.83 GAA (5th) and a 0.937 save percentage (6th). He has allowed only five even-strength goals in his seven games, and he’s just two wins shy of matching his 2004-05 total.

To Review: Grand Rapids’ three-game winning streak and six-game point streak (5-0-0-1) were snapped in Saturday’s 5-2 loss at Hamilton. That defeat also marked the first for the Griffins this season to a team other than Houston. They are 0-2-0-1 versus the Aeros and 9-1-0-0 against the rest of the AHL.

Pack Your Bags: Following this Friday’s game against Cleveland at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins will play four straight, seven of the next eight and 13 of their next 17 games on the road. Fortunately, Grand Rapids’ 4-2-0-0 record in hostile territory ranks among the league’s best.

It’s How You Finish: The Griffins have been outscored 16-13 in opening periods this season but have dominated the remainder of their games, holding scoring advantages of 18-13 in the second period and 21-8 in the third. No AHL team has scored more third-period goals, and only one club has allowed fewer tallies down the stretch.

Explosive Start: Grand Rapids has scored 52 goals, its most ever through 13 games (49 in 2001-02) and 18 more than its 2004-05 edition. In addition, the Griffins have already scored five or more goals six times, one shy of their total from last season. If they can maintain their current pace, the Griffins would accumulate 320 goals this season, shattering their record of 279 from 2000-01.

Power Supply: The Griffins have scored a power play goal in 10 consecutive games (16-for-70, 22.9%), breaking the franchise record of nine straight set from Oct. 18-Nov. 7, 2002. For the season, Grand Rapids’ power play unit stands second in the AHL at 25.6% (22-for-86). Meanwhile, the Griffins’ penalty killers rank 18th at 81.5% (88-for-108). On average, opponents are enjoying 1.7 more power plays per game than Grand Rapids.

Top of the Line: The line of Jiri Hudler (13-13—26), Eric Manlow (8-10—18) and Kent McDonell (3-12—15) has combined for 59 points (24-35—59) in just 13 games.

Who’s Hot?: Eric Manlow (8-10—18) has points in all but two games this season and has multiple points in four of the last five games…Kent McDonell (3-12—15) also has points in 11 of the Griffins’ 13 games…Nate DiCasmirro has points in nine of the last 12 contests (4-7—11)…Kyle Quincey has points in six of seven games (2-7—9).

Attend to This: A capacity crowd of 10,834 witnessed the Griffins’ 3-2 win over Syracuse on Nov. 5, marking their first November sellout since 1999 and the earliest date for their second sellout of the season since 1997. Grand Rapids’ average attendance of 6,098 represents an increase of nine percent over the same period last season (5,589).

Rally Caps: Each of Grand Rapids’ last four wins and five of its nine victories this season have been earned in come-from-behind fashion.

Alumni Report: Twenty-two Griffins alumni, representing 15 different NHL teams, have logged ice time in the NHL this season. The list includes three of the league’s top scorers in Ottawa’s Jason Spezza (6-22—28, T3rd), Los Angeles’ Pavol Demitra (8-15—23, T11th), and Detroit’s Jason Williams (6-14—20, T18th).

This Week in Griffins History: Nov 14: Kevin Miller’s two goals in the final period break a 1-1 deadlock and propel the Griffins, who were out-shot 49-16 on the night, to a 4-1 win at Milwaukee. Joey MacDonald finishes with 48 saves, his most as a Griffin (2003). Nov. 15: Thanks to a brilliant 34-save effort, Marc Lamothe blanks Houston by a 3-0 count, joining NHLers Jani Hurme and Martin Prusek as the only Griffins goalies to record back-to-back shutouts. Grand Rapids notches consecutive shutout wins for the first time ever (2002). Nov. 16: Before a near-capacity crowd at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins extend their unbeaten streak to a franchise record-tying nine games (7-0-2-0), earning a 3-2 win over Milwaukee (2002). Nov. 17: Petr Schastlivy becomes the first Griffin to record a hat trick in a single period, accomplishing the feat during the second period of a 4-0 shutout of Milwaukee (2001). Nov. 18: Griffins set new franchise record with seventh straight victory in a 6-2 win over Manitoba (1997). Nov. 19: Mark Mowers, the Griffins’ leader in goals and points, is recalled by the Detroit Red Wings. He remains with the NHL club for the duration of the season (2003). Nov. 20: West Michigan Hockey, Inc. announces that the IHL’s Grand Rapids entry will be called the Griffins, after a creature from Greek mythology that displayed the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion (1995).

Scouting Report

Tue., Nov. 15 vs. Manitoba Moose (9-5-1-0) – Van Andel Arena – Noon

Radio: WTKG 1230 AM at 11:40 a.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: First of eight meetings overall, first of four in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 25-12-1-0-3 Overall, 13-5-1-0-3 Home. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Alain Vigneault (1st season). Got You ‘Pegged: The winner of this game will claim sole possession of first place in the North Division…Defenseman Jason Doig played for the Griffins in 2001-02…The Moose have allowed only 32 goals in 15 games…Manitoba is winless in its last three games…Wade Flaherty leads the AHL with three shutouts…The Moose have lost only one game by more than one goal.

Fri., Nov. 18 vs. Cleveland Barons (7-7-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 19 at Cleveland Barons – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:05 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. (Fri.) and 6:40 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home, 1-0-0-0 Road. Second and third of 10 meetings overall, first of five in Grand Rapids, second of five in Cleveland. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 14-8-0-0-1 Overall, 8-3-0-0-0 Home, 6-5-0-0-1 Road. NHL Affiliation: San Jose Sharks. Head Coach: Roy Sommer (5th season). Spy Glass: Derek Meech’s four points (1-3—4) against the Barons on Oct. 12 matched the Griffins’ record for a defenseman in one game…Cleveland’s Ed Campbell was an alternate captain for Grand Rapids in 2002-03. His 80 games are the most ever played by a Griffin without scoring a goal…The Barons are 5-2 at home and 2-5 on the road…Cleveland has won a team-best five straight on home ice.

Sun., Nov. 20 at Toronto Marlies (7-7-0-0) – Ricoh Coliseum – 5 p.m.
TV: Comcast Local (ch. 23) at 5 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 4:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: First of six meetings overall, first of three in Toronto. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Paul Maurice (1st season). Fire One Up: Bench boss Paul Maurice coached the Carolina Hurricanes against the Detroit Red Wings in the 2002 Stanley Cup finals…Defenseman Staffan Kronwall is the younger brother of former Griffin and 2004-05 Eddie Shore Award winner Niklas Kronwall…Toronto struggles on the penalty kill, ranking 26th at 75.6%.

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