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10/14/2006 12:36 AM - Griffins Kick Off Season with “Musicpalooza”

This Week’s Games

Fri., Oct. 13 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Sat., Oct. 14 - Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WTKG 1230 AM/B2

Last Week’s Results

Fri., Oct. 6 - GRIFFINS 4 at San Antonio Rampage 5 OT - 0-0-1-0, 1 pt. (T4th, North Division)   

Sat., Oct. 7 - GRIFFINS 3 at Houston Aeros 1 - 1-0-1-0, 3 pts. (1st)       

Continued Success: After wrapping up their opening three-game road trip this Friday in Toronto, the Griffins will kick off a season-high eight-game homestand by hosting Omaha in their Van Andel Arena debut on Saturday. The Griffins will aim for their 11th consecutive sellout and their fourth straight victory in a home opener.

Rockin’ the Rink: Saturday’s Opening Night presented by Comcast will feature “Musicpalooza,” part of the Griffins’ “Rockin’ the Rink” Entertainment Series. Fans will be treated to different genres of live music as local favorites perform throughout the night, including The Rockit King (6-7 p.m. on arena plaza), Lukas D. (6-7 p.m. in arena lobby), Jason Eller (6-7 p.m. on arena concourse), Pop Evil (6-7 p.m. in West Nest of arena bowl; first intermission) and La Famiglia (Second intermission and post-game skate). Everyone in attendance will receive a “Rockin’ the Rink” concert-style T-shirt, and the pre-game show will feature a fireworks display and the raising of the Griffins’ 2005-06 regular season championship banner. The evening will conclude with a post-game skate and autograph session with Griffins players.

Have a Heart: Saturday, while Griffins players prepare for that night’s home opener against Omaha, the team’s lovable mascot Griff will stroll the streets of downtown during the American Heart Association’s 2006 Grand Rapids Heart Walk. The two-mile walk, which begins at Van Andel Arena at 8:30 a.m., will raise funds for the association’s research and educational efforts. Griffins fans are being asked to show their support by making a donation toward Griff’s participation in the event. Pledges can be made online through a link at Griff’s participation in the 2006 Heart Walk is an extension of the “Hockey for the Heart” partnership between the Griffins and the American Heart Association.

Road Life’s Not so Bad: With three of a possible four points already gained on foreign ice, Grand Rapids will not play another road game until Nov. 7 – Election Day – at Manitoba. Last season, the Griffins fell one win short of the franchise record for road victories, posting a 25-14-0-1 mark in enemy territory.

Perfect Killers: In Saturday’s 3-1 win at Houston, the Griffins set a franchise record for opponent power plays killed in a single game, denying the Aeros on all 12 of their chances. Through two games, Grand Rapids leads the AHL in penalty killing at a perfect 18-for-18.

Power Supply: After leading the AHL in power play goals (120) and percentage (21.8%) last year, the Griffins converted 4-of-13 chances during their opening weekend, including 3-for-6 on Friday at San Antonio. Their 30.8% success rate currently ties for fifth in the league.

It’s Been Such a Long Time: Whether you’re talking season openers, overtime decisions or games versus San Antonio, the Griffins’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Rampage on Friday broke some long-running streaks:

•    It was the Griffins’ first loss in a season opener since 2002 and their first loss in a road opener since 1998;
•    Grand Rapids, which posted a 9-1 record in overtime last season (6-1 regular season, 3-0 playoffs), had won eight straight OT decisions (five in reg. season, three in playoffs) since falling 4-3 to Chicago on Dec. 31, 2005, and had won an incredible 13 straight OT decisions on the road (10 in reg. season, three in playoffs) since losing 2-1 at Chicago on Nov. 30, 2002;
•    The Griffins had been 4-0 all time against the Rampage in OT (2-0 on the road) and had triumphed in six consecutive visits to the Alamo City since dropping their 2003-04 season finale.

An Honor to be Nominated: Right wing Brendan Brooks earned the Griffins’ nomination for the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week award after scoring a goal in each game over the weekend. The team’s top scorer with three points (2-1—3), he registered a power play goal in Friday’s overtime setback in San Antonio, then earned First Star honors on Saturday after scoring the game-winning goal and assisting on another marker at Houston.

Get Shorty: Matt Ellis’ shorthanded goal at Houston on Saturday was the eighth of his Griffins career, extending his franchise record.

It’s a Living: Following a stellar North American debut on Saturday in which he stopped 33 of 34 shots, Stefan Liv ranks among the AHL’s top goalies with a 1.00 GAA (T3rd) and a 0.971 save percentage (3rd).

Milestones for Miller: Kip Miller, who scored a power play goal Friday at San Antonio, now has 99 goals in 250 career AHL contests. That goal moved him into a tie with Ed Patterson (51) for ninth on the Griffins’ all-time goals list, and the point gave him 137 in a Grand Rapids uniform, moving him into sixth all time and putting him just one point behind fifth-place Tomas Kopecky (138). Finally, his 17th power play goal as a Griffin tied him for eighth all time and moved him within one of tying his brother Kevin (18) for seventh on the team’s list.

Get Your Programs: Of the 20 players to play for the Griffins so far in 2006-07, only seven were members of Grand Rapids’ 2005-06 AHL regular season champions.

Scouting Report

Fri., Oct. 13 at Toronto Marlies (1-1-0-0) – Ricoh Coliseum – 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:10 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: First of eight meetings overall, first of four in Toronto. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 3-3-0-0-0 Overall, 1-2-0-0-0 Road. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (1st season). Notes: After going 1-2 at Ricoh Coliseum during the 2005-06 regular season, the Griffins swept all three road meetings during the North Division Semifinals en route to a 4-1 series victory over the Marlies…Toronto’s bench boss during that series, Paul Maurice, is now head coach of the parent Maple Leafs…Jean-Francois Racine notched one of the AHL’s two shutouts thus far, making 20 stops in Friday’s 6-0 win over Syracuse…Former Red Wing Boyd Devereaux is now a member of the Marlies.

Sat., Oct. 14 vs. Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights (1-0-1-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WTKG 1230 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 4-0-0-0-0 Overall, 2-0-0-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Calgary Flames. Head Coach: Ryan McGill (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins rudely welcomed Omaha to the AHL ranks last season, sweeping the four-game series – but only by a margin of five goals (15-10)…The Knights’ David Moss and rookie Dustin Boyd each tallied five points in the team’s first two games.

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