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02/05/2007 5:18 PM -

This Week’s Games
Wed., Feb. 7 - Syracuse Crunch at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Fri., Feb. 9 - GRIFFINS at Iowa Stars - 8:05 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Sat., Feb. 10 - GRIFFINS at Iowa Stars - 8:05 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Result
Sat., Feb. 3 - Peoria Rivermen at GRIFFINS - Postponed - 21-20-4-2, 48 pts. (4th, North Division)

Where We Stand: The Griffins possess a 21-20-4-2 record, good for fourth place in the North Division. Due to the AHL’s crossover rule, they trail fifth-place Peoria of the West Division by one point in the race for a playoff spot.

Crunch Time: The Syracuse Crunch visit Van Andel Arena on Wednesday for the first meeting between the North Division rivals this season, hoping to break the Griffins’ historic hex over them. Grand Rapids posted a perfect 6-0 mark against the Crunch last season, the most wins the Griffins have ever logged against an opponent in a single season without sustaining at least one loss or tie (5-0-0 versus Manitoba in 1999-00). Also, dating back to the 2002-03 season, the Griffins have won their last eight games against Syracuse, their longest winning streak ever against a foe (seven straight versus Milwaukee in 2000-01). Fans can visit to print a coupon redeemable for up to four lower bowl tickets for only $5 each (regularly $17). And, if the Griffins win, each fan can redeem their stub for a free ticket to the Feb. 21 rematch against the Crunch, as part of the Griffins’ first “Winning Wednesday” promotion.

Snow Day: Last Saturday’s scheduled game between the Griffins and Peoria Rivermen at Van Andel Arena was postponed due to severe winter weather. No makeup date has been scheduled. The postponement was the fourth in the Griffins’ 11-year history and just the second involving a home game. Travel delays caused by winter weather forced cancellation of a game in Houston on Jan. 22, 2005, and a blizzard during the team’s third IHL season wiped out both a home game against Orlando on Jan. 2, 1999 and a road game at Chicago the next night.

Take a Rest: The Griffins’ last game was a 6-3 home win over Toronto on Jan. 27. By the time they face Syracuse on Wednesday, 11 days will have passed since that contest (thanks to both the AHL all-star break and Saturday’s postponement), marking the longest in-season lull in franchise history. The previous high was an eight-day stretch between Oct. 30-Nov. 7, 1998, when they shook off the rust with a 5-0 win over visiting Milwaukee.

Closing In: With a cumulative record of 93-53-6-7, coach Greg Ireland is two victories from tying Bruce Cassidy (95-49-11-4-3) for second on the Griffins’ all-time wins list. Ireland, who will mark two calendar years as the team’s head coach this Saturday, Feb. 10, stands 23 wins behind all-time leader Danton Cole (116-72-16-3-1), his predecessor.

Home Sweet Home: Grand Rapids has won five of its last six games at Van Andel Arena, including consecutive victories before sellout crowds of 10,834.

Record Within Reach: If the Griffins win 19 of their final 33 games they’ll record their eighth-consecutive 40-win season overall and their sixth straight as members of the AHL, tying the league record set by the Cleveland Barons from 1947-53.

Player Plaudits: Kip Miller’s team-high 48 points (16-32—48) tie for 18th in the AHL…Matt Hussey has points in each of his last four games as a Griffin (2-3—5)…Ryan Oulahen set a career high with three points (1-2—3) on Jan. 27…Scott Barney owns his first three-game point streak of the season (1-2—3)…Jeff Campbell has points in three of the last four games (1-3—4)…Jimmy Howard has missed the last 11 games due to injury, but the Griffins have posted a 6-5 mark during his absence…After making his Griffins debut Jan. 26 in Rochester, Jamie Tardif netted the game-winning goal on Jan. 27 against Toronto for his first AHL lamplighter. The ECHL all-star’s first AHL point came earlier in the evening on an assist of Darryl Bootland’s first-period tally.

Shining Stars: Center Kip Miller (captain, PlanetUSA AHL All-Stars) and defenseman Derek Meech (Canadian AHL All-Stars) represented the Griffins at the 2007 Rbk Hockey AHL All-Star Classic in Toronto last week. After helping his team to a 19-14 win in Sunday’s skills competition, Miller scored the first goal in last Monday’s all-star game, which PlanetUSA went on to win by a 7-6 count.

Scouting Report

Wed., Feb. 7 vs. Syracuse Crunch (18-24-1-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Cast: 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): 9-1-0-0-0 Overall, 4-1-0-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets. Head Coach: Ross Yates (1st season). Notes: Grand Rapids is 9-1 all time versus the Crunch, with Syracuse’s only win coming in 3-2 fashion at Van Andel Arena on Jan. 10, 2003…Syracuse was 0-5-0-1 (0.083) against the Griffins last season and 47-20-5-2 (0.682) versus the rest of the AHL…The Crunch have won four games in a row, including three by shutout. With goalie Dan LaCosta’s consecutive blankings of Rochester (6-0 on Feb. 3) and Springfield (5-0 on Feb. 2), the Crunch will enter Wednesday’s game with a shutout streak of 135:43, while LaCosta’s personal streak stands at 155:32…The Griffins outscored the Crunch 30-12 last season and hold a 47-21 margin in the all-time series.

Fri., Feb. 9 at Iowa Stars (25-20-2-1) – Wells Fargo Arena – 8:05 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 10 at Iowa Stars – Wells Fargo Arena – 8:05 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:59 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:40 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: 0-0-1-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Second and third of four meetings overall, first and second of two in Des Moines. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 2-1-0-1-1 Overall, 0-1-0-0-1 Road. NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars. Head Coach: Dave Allison (2nd season). Notes: Allison coached the expansion Griffins to a 70-55-19 record from 1996-98…The home team won all four meetings last season, but Iowa broke that trend with a 4-3 OT win in Grand Rapids on Dec. 20…The Wells Fargo Arena is one of only two current AHL buildings that the Griffins have played in without winning at least once (Binghamton).

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