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Jimmy Howard
10/15/2007 3:01 PM -

This Week’s Games
Sat., Oct. 20 - Rockford IceHogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Sun., Oct. 21 - Quad City Flames at GRIFFINS - 4 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results
Thu., Oct. 11 - GRIFFINS 4 at Manitoba Moose 2 - 2-0-0-0, 4 pts. (1st, North Division)  
Sat., Oct. 13 - GRIFFINS 4 at Manitoba Moose 3 OT - 3-0-0-0, 6 pts. (1st, North Division)

Homeward Bound: Following a flawless three-game road swing to start the season, the Griffins will finally make their Van Andel Arena debut this weekend. Saturday’s game against the Rockford IceHogs will mark the latest date for a home opener in franchise history, as Grand Rapids tries to extend its perfect streak of home-opening sellouts to 12 seasons. The Griffins will then host the Quad City Flames on Sunday, making it the first time since their inaugural 1996-97 season that their first two home games are played on consecutive days.

It’s Showtime!: To celebrate Opening Weekend presented by Comcast, fans are invited to come early on Saturday for a pre-game party on the arena plaza. Ottawa Street will be closed from 4-7 p.m. for a pep rally, with a mobile stage and live music from The Effort and Moto starting at 5 p.m. Grilled favorites from Bono’s BBQ and beverages from the Bud Light Beer Cooler will be available for purchase. Kids will enjoy fun activities and games, including an inflatable castle, a slap shot game, and a Wii video game tent. Inside the arena, the first 5,000 fans will receive glow sticks, and the Griffins will present a pre-game lights and fireworks show. Grand Rapids’ own Domestic Problems will perform during intermissions, and fans can take stay after the game to get autographs from Griffins players and take to the ice for the O’Charley’s Post-Game O’pen Skate. On Sunday, the fun will continue with a Kids’ Carnival on the concourse, highlighted by face-painting and clowns.

Get Your Tickets: Tickets for all 40 regular season home games can be purchased in person at The Zone at Van Andel Arena and all Star Tickets Plus locations (including Meijer stores), by phone through Star Tickets Plus at  800-585-3737, or via the web at Full season tickets, five-, 10- and 20-game plans, and group ticket packages are available through the Griffins office at (800) 2-HOCKEY.

Sprinting from the Gate: The Griffins have started 3-0 for the third time in the last four seasons and the fourth time in franchise history (2005-06, 2004-05 and 2000-01), tying them with Toronto for the AHL’s second-best record (Philadelphia at 5-0) in the early going. It’s the first time Grand Rapids has started 3-0 without having played a home game. A 4-0 start would tie 2000-01 for their second-best ever, behind only a 5-0 start in 2004-05 (which, ironically, was the only season of the last eight in which the Griffins did not make the playoffs).

Road Sweet Road: Grand Rapids has started 3-0 on the road for the sixth time, all within the last eight seasons (2005-06, 2004-05, 2002-03, 2001-02 and 2000-01). The only better road start was a 7-0 run in 2004-05.

First Impressions: Mike Stothers’ 3-0 debut as head coach ranks as the second-best in Griffins history, behind only Bruce Cassidy’s 4-0 start in 2000-01. When Stothers’ squad hits the ice for this Saturday’s home opener, he’ll try to join Cassidy and Guy Charron (1998-99) as the only Grand Rapids coaches to win their first games at Van Andel Arena.

Corazzini Nets AHL Nomination: The Griffins on Monday nominated right wing Carl Corazzini for the Rbk/AHL Player of the Week award, after he tallied two goals, three points and a plus-1 rating in two games last week. In Thursday’s 4-2 win at Manitoba, he earned second star honors with a goal and an assist. On Saturday, he burned the Moose again by scoring the game-winner at 1:51 of overtime. Corazzini, who has registered points in all three games this season, is tied for the Griffins’ lead with two goals and ranks second on the club with four points.

An Ill. Wind Blowing: The Griffins will host a pair of expansion teams from Illinois this week, marking their first-ever meetings against both Rockford (Sat.) and Quad City (Sun.). Grand Rapids has traditionally been rude hosts to visitors from the Land of Lincoln, posting all-time home records of 20-10-2-1-2 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL) against the Chicago Wolves and 4-2-0-0-0 versus the Peoria Rivermen.

For Openers: Grand Rapids is 7-4 all time in home openers. Last year’s 4-3 loss to Omaha on Oct. 14 broke a three-game winning streak for the Griffins in Van Andel Arena debuts.

You Can Only Hope to Contain Them: Three Griffins have registered points in all three games thus far: Carl Corazzini (2-2—4), Mark Cullen (1-4—5) and Tom Galvin (0-3—3).

Nifty Fifty: With last Thursday’s 29-save performance in the 4-2 victory at Manitoba, Jimmy Howard improved to 2-0 on the season with a 2.00 GAA and a 0.934 save percentage. Now 50-27-5 on his career, he has become just the fourth goalie to earn 50 wins as a Griffin (Joey MacDonald 87, 2002-06; Marc Lamothe 54, 2002-04; Mike Fountain 55, 1999-01).

A Noose on the Moose: When Carl Corazzini scored in the extra session on Saturday, it improved the Griffins’ all-time record against Manitoba to a perfect 7-0 in games decided in overtime (4-0 regular season, 3-0 playoffs). Including their 2007 North Division Semifinals series, three of the last seven meetings between the Griffins and Moose have been won by Grand Rapids during the extra session.

Mending Wings: Defenseman Kyle Quincey and rookie forward Darren Helm remain on Detroit’s injured reserve list but are rehabbing their injuries in Grand Rapids. Helm might be cleared to make his pro debut with the Griffins as soon as this weekend.

Scouting Report

Sat., Oct. 20 vs. Rockford IceHogs (1-1-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:10 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. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Mike Haviland (1st season). Notes: IceHogs head coach Mike Haviland spent the last two seasons as the bench boss in Norfolk, where he coached current Griffins Carl Corazzini (2005-07) and Mark Cullen (2005-06)…Rockford netminder Wade Flaherty has been a long-time adversary of Grand Rapids from his previous stops in Utah, San Antonio, Milwaukee and Manitoba.

Sun., Oct. 21 vs. Quad City Flames (1-2-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 4 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 3:40 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. NHL Affiliation: Calgary Flames. Head Coach: Ryan McGill (1st season). Notes: The Flames have lost two straight since a 5-1 win over Rockford in their Oct. 6 debut, getting outscored 8-4 in the process…The Griffins posted a 5-3 record the last two seasons against the Ryan McGill-coached Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights, Calgary’s previous AHL affiliate.

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