03/24/2008 1:30 PM
Last Week’s Results
Spring Fling: This week, the Griffins will host three games in four nights at Van Andel Arena before finishing off a grueling 4-in-5 with a Sunday visit to Chicago, the top team in the Western Conference. For Wednesday’s series finale against Lake Erie, fans can click here to print a coupon redeemable at the box office for up to four tickets for only $5 (upper bowl) or $10 (lower bowl) each. Friday’s game versus Milwaukee features the return of the popular Dollar Dogs/Dollar Beers promotion, with $1 hot dogs and 21 oz. domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m. Ticket promotions include the Wendy’s Family Four Pack, Bono’s Pit BBQ Student Night and Library Night. Click here for complete details. The condensed home stand will conclude with Star Wars Night on Saturday versus Rochester. Numerous Star Wars characters will wander the concourse, and fans can get their picture taken with them for a $5 donation to the Griffins Youth Foundation.
No Margin for Error: With the top five teams in the West Division now guaranteed to finish with better records than Grand Rapids (which would trigger the crossover rule), the Griffins’ last playoff hope rests on catching the Syracuse Crunch, who currently reside 19 points ahead of Grand Rapids in third place in the North Division. To avoid missing the playoffs for just the third time in their 12 seasons, the Griffins would have to win all 10 of their remaining games, while the Crunch could garner no more than a single point over their final 10 games.
Ironmen: Carl Corazzini, Jamie Tardif and Ryan Oulahen have played in each of the Griffins’ 70 games thus far. Should the trio appear in all 80 games, it would mark the first time since the inaugural 1996-97 season that Grand Rapids had as many as three players skate in every regular season contest (82 games played for Michel Picard, Jeff Nelson and Kevyn Adams).
Models of Consistency: Garrett Stafford has points in nine of 12 games (3-10—13) since returning from the Red Wings, moving him into a tie for 13th in scoring among AHL defensemen (10-28—38). He is on pace to finish among the AHL’s top 20 scoring defensemen for the fourth time in his five pro seasons…Carl Corazzini has points in nine of the last 12 games (5-8—13)…Following a nine-game scoring drought (Jan. 25-Feb. 15), Jamie Tardif has since registered points in 10 of 17 outings (6-4—10).
Quick off the Draw: Jonathan Ericsson scored just 14 seconds into Friday’s 4-2 loss at Rochester, falling one second short of Nate DiCasmirro’s franchise mark for fastest goal from the start of a game, set on Nov. 15, 2005 versus Manitoba.
Climbing the Charts: With 236 shots on goal, Carl Corazzini is on a pace to finish with 269, which would fall two shy of Donald MacLean’s single-season franchise record set in 2005-06…With his next game played, Jimmy Howard will tie his career high of 49 appearances set last season. He is set to become the seventh goalie in franchise history to log at least 50 games in a single campaign.
Take a Shot: During Friday’s game against the Amerks, Carl Corazzini was awarded a penalty shot with 1:05 remaining and the Griffins trailing 3-2, but Adam Dennis denied the attempt to seal Grand Rapids’ fate. The Griffins, who saw Darren Helm score against Chicago’s Ondrej Pavelec on Jan. 26, are now 4-for-13 all time on penalty shots (including the postseason).
Time to Reload: Since registering their largest offensive output in two years in a 7-1 win over North Division-leading Toronto on March 12, the Griffins have totaled only eight goals during their five-game losing streak.
Youth Shall Be Served: Center Zack Torquato, Detroit’s fourth pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, played his first three pro contests for the Griffins last week, going scoreless. He made his debut last Wednesday at the tender age of 18 years, nine months and 11 days, making him the second youngest player currently in the AHL. Lowell’s Nick Palmieri was 18 years, eight months and nine days old when he made his debut on Friday.
From One Extreme to the Other: The Griffins have posted a 15-9-1-1 mark at Van Andel Arena since a 0-7-0-1 start. By contrast, Grand Rapids is 1-9 in its last 10 road games and is 7-20-1-3 since blasting out of the gate with a perfect 5-0 mark in enemy territory.
Attendance Continues to Climb: Last Wednesday’s crowd of 6,357 at Van Andel Arena brought Grand Rapids’ attendance to 225,064 through 34 home games (6,620 avg., sixth in AHL). That number represents a year-to-date increase of 6.0% over 2006-07, when the Griffins eventually finished with their largest attendance in four years. Last season, Grand Rapids welcomed 212,372 fans through its first 34 home games. The Griffins need to draw 49,594 over their final six home games (8,266 avg.) to register an attendance increase for the second straight year.
Red Wings Jersey Auction: Twenty-three autographed, game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys are being made available for public bidding throughout the 2007-08 season through exclusive auctions that begin at griffinshockey.com and conclude after select Griffins home games. Online bidding, which begins at $250 per jersey, will establish the starting bids for silent auctions that will take place on the arena concourse during Griffins games. Subsequently, the highest bids from the silent auctions will serve as the starting bids for live post-game auctions. Online right now are the Brett Lebda, Chris Osgood and Kyle Quincey jerseys, with silent and live auctions set for this Friday’s game, and the Brian Rafalski and Henrik Zetterberg jerseys, with silent and live auctions scheduled for the season finale on April 12. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Wed., March 26 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (25-32-5-7) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Fri., March 28 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (38-26-3-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., March 29 vs. Rochester Americans (20-39-6-4) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sun., March 30 at Chicago Wolves (47-18-2-2) – Allstate Arena – 5 p.m.
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