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10/30/2006 4:52 PM - Extended Rematch of 2006 North Division Finals

This Week’s Games
Fri., Nov. 3 - Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Sat., Nov. 4 - Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Oct. 25 - Rochester Americans 4 at GRIFFINS 3 - 3-2-1-1, 8 pts. (2nd, North Division)
Fri., Oct. 27 - Toronto Marlies 4 at GRIFFINS 0 - 3-3-1-1, 8 pts. (T3rd)
Sat., Oct. 28 - Philadelphia Phantoms 2 at GRIFFINS 6 - 4-3-1-1, 10 pts. (2nd)

Getting to Know You: Last spring, the Griffins and Moose staged arguably the most exciting playoff series in Grand Rapids history, with the Griffins advancing to the Western Conference Finals in seven games. Now, these two North Division rivals will commence their season series by playing four consecutive times, beginning with a Friday-Saturday set at Van Andel Arena that will conclude the Griffins’ season-high eight-game homestand (2-3-0-1). Only once before have the Griffins played the same opponent in four straight regular season contests. The Moose also provided the opposition from Nov. 14-23, 1997, as Grand Rapids won the first two games at home before earning a split in Winnipeg.

Rockin’ the Rink: This Friday is another Student Night, as all college and high school students can purchase a lower bowl ticket for only $10 with a valid student ID. In addition, the Wendy’s Friday Family Four Pack offers four small single combos from Wendy’s and four Griffins tickets for $44. Saturday’s game features the second installment of the Griffins’ “Rockin’ the Rink” Entertainment Series. Presenting sponsor MC Sports welcomes Heisman Trophy winner and former Detroit Lions running back Billy Sims, who will sign autographs for fans prior to the game. In addition, the first 5,000 fans will receive P.O.D.S. magnetic schedules, and Christian rock band downhere will perform in the west nest during pre-game, the first intermission and the post-game skate.

Beautiful Memories: Game 7 of the 2006 North Division Finals between Manitoba and Grand Rapids featured the greatest comeback in Griffins playoff history. On May 16 at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins dug themselves a 4-1 hole before rallying for four unanswered goals in the final 20:01, including the game-winner with 2:06 remaining by Darryl Bootland, who also registered three assists. Only eight current Griffins and 10 Moose participated in that memorable playoff series. Drew MacIntyre, now with Manitoba, was the winning goalie for Grand Rapids in Game 7, coming on in relief to stop the only shot he faced over 22:02 of work. MacIntyre led the AHL with a 1.62 GAA and a 0.940 save percentage during the 2006 playoffs, making him the top goaltender in either category in Griffins postseason history.

Curious Stat: Three members of the Griffins scored their first AHL goals against Manitoba’s Wade Flaherty: Matt Ellis (12/13/03 GR at MIL), Eric Himelfarb (3/31/04 GR vs. MIL) and Brock Radunske (10/23/04 EDM at MTB). For the record, Grand Rapids’ Jonathan Ericsson and Tom Galvin are still in search of their first AHL lamp-lighters.

Top Jimmy: With his 31-save, 6-2 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday, Jimmy Howard became the fastest goalie in franchise history to notch 30 career wins (30-8-2), accomplishing the feat in his 40th decision and 44th game played. Current Detroit Red Wing Joey MacDonald had set the standard in 42 decisions and 48 games played.

So Long: The Griffins today released defenseman Nick Naumenko from his professional tryout and announced that right wing Stephane Goulet has been reassigned by the Edmonton Oilers to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. Naumenko appeared in six of Grand Rapids’ first seven games this season, contributing three assists and eight penalty minutes. Goulet was scoreless in two games since making his pro debut in the Griffins’ 2-1 win over Houston on Oct. 20. With those moves, the Griffins’ roster currently consists of 22 players, including 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders.

Old Faithfuls: The Griffins’ top four scorers this season have been nothing if not consistent. Kip Miller (3-6—9) has points in seven of nine games, Krys Kolanos (4-4—8) has points in six of his eight appearances, Matt Ellis (4-3—7) has points in six of nine contests, and Matt Hussey (2-5—7) has points in five of his last seven outings.

Pogge Check: Last Friday, vaunted Toronto rookie Justin Pogge earned his first pro win by making 49 saves in a 4-0 blanking of the Griffins, setting a record for the most saves made by an opposing goalie in a shutout of Grand Rapids. His effort eclipsed the 40-save performance by Josh Harding in a 1-0 Houston win on Nov. 6, 2004, as he authored the first opponent whitewash in a regular season contest at Van Andel Arena since March 18, 2005 (0-2 vs. EDM, Tyler Moss).

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream: Cold Stone Creamery will soon unveil a new flavor in honor of the Griffins - "Griff Tracks" - at its five Grand Rapids-area stores. A contest is being conducted for fans to suggest the one base ice cream flavor and three add-ins that will become Griff Tracks for the entire 2006-07 season. Fans can submit their suggestions through, at Griffins home games and at area Cold Stone locations. The deadline is Nov. 3, and the winner will be announced at the Nov. 4 Griffins game against the Manitoba Moose. The creator of Griff Tracks will receive a season's worth of ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery.

Scouting Report

Fri., Nov. 3 vs. Manitoba Moose (3-5-1-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 4 vs. Manitoba Moose – Van Andel Arena – 7 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: First and second of eight meetings overall, first and second of four in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 30-14-1-0-4 Overall, 15-6-1-0-4 Home. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Scott Arniel (1st season). Notes: Manitoba’s head coach during last year’s playoff series was Alain Vigneault, now the bench boss for the parent Canucks. His replacement, Scott Arniel, finished his playing career with the Moose from 1996-99, collecting 171 points (67-104—171) in 222 games before serving as an assistant coach for the Moose (2000-02) and the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres (2002-06)…Jason Jaffray leads Manitoba with 10 points (7-3—10), while Jannik Hansen (2-6—8) is one of the league’s top rookies.

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