Jan Mursak (left) and Tomas Tatar
This Week’s Games
Tue., Dec. 1 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com / Fox Sports Ohio
Fri., Dec. 4 - Rockford IceHogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Dec. 5 - Peoria Rivermen at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 25 - GRIFFINS 2 at Chicago Wolves 3 - 12-6-0-0, 24 pts. (5th, North Division)
Fri., Nov. 27 - Rockford IceHogs 4 at GRIFFINS 3 - 12-7-0-0, 24 pts. (5th)
Sat., Nov. 28 - GRIFFINS 2 at Peoria Rivermen 1 - 13-7-0-0, 26 pts. (5th)
Early Returns: The Griffins reached the quarter pole of their 2009-10 season with Saturday’s 2-1 win at Peoria, showing a 0.650 winning percentage that ranks third in the North Division, fourth in the Western Conference and sixth in the AHL. Extrapolated over a full 80-game season, the Griffins are on pace for 52 wins and 104 points, which would mark their best season since the 2005-06 campaign when they claimed the AHL’s regular season championship and set franchise records with 55 wins and 115 points.
More Home Cookin’: The Griffins, who played 10 of 11 games at home from Oct. 23-Nov. 23, will play their fourth road contest in five games on Tuesday at Lake Erie before embarking on a five-game stand at Van Andel Arena (Dec. 4-12). Now 9-2-0-0 within friendly confines, Grand Rapids owns the third-best home record in the AHL.
Join the Crowd: The Griffins, who rank third in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,646, will offer several promotions during their two home games this weekend. Friday will feature Dollar Beers and Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), College Night presented by McFadden’s, the D-ZONE presented by WGRD 97.9 FM, and a special Facebook ticket offer. On Saturday, 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins winter hat, courtesy of Comerica Bank, and fans can enjoy a post-game skate and post-game Huntington autograph session with Dick Axelsson, Kris Newbury and Mattias Ritola.
Right Where We Want ‘Em: Grand Rapids has had to come from behind in eight of its 13 victories, giving the Griffins a winning record (8-7-0-0) this season when trailing at any point during a game.
Griffins on Wingspan: Fox Sports Detroit will air a special Griffins edition of Wingspan, its weekly Red Wings program, this Saturday, Dec. 5. The episode will premiere at 11 a.m., with replays at 6 p.m. and various other times throughout the following week.
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs and Teddy Bears: Evan McGrath’s goal with 1:45 remaining in the first period on Friday versus Rockford prompted a cascade of 1,000 stuffed animals to rain down from the stands as part of the team’s 10th annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Hug-A-Bears of Kent County.
AHL Player of the Week Nominee: Left wing Tomas Tatar has earned the Griffins’ nomination for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award for the second straight week, after registering three goals, four points and a plus-two rating in three games last week. He scored the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Peoria, giving him a four-game goal streak – the longest for a Griffin since Carl Corazzini’s four-game run from Feb. 27-March 5, 2008 – and extending his point streak to five games (4-5—9). The AHL’s youngest player, who turns 19 on Tuesday, ranks among the AHL’s rookie leaders with a plus-nine rating (T4th) and 12 points (T18th), and places among the Griffins’ best with five goals (T4th), seven assists (T4th), 12 points (T4th), and a plus-nine rating (3rd).
Welcome Back: Defenseman Travis Ehrhardt rejoined the Griffins today after spending a three-game weekend stint with the Toledo Walleye. He contributed a goal and an assist and finished with a plus-four rating in his ECHL debut.
Save the Best for Last: The Griffins have been a dynamic third-period team this season, outscoring their opposition by a 23-14 margin over the final 20 minutes. Their 7-0 record when leading after two periods ties Bridgeport for the second-best mark in the league (behind 13-0 Hershey), while their 0.375 winning percentage (3-5-0-0) when trailing after 40 minutes is second only to Rochester’s 0.500 (2-2-0-0) mark.
Who’s Hot?: Since starting the season 0-2, Daniel Larsson has gone 8-1 with a 1.88 GAA and a 0.939% in his last nine outings. His career-high seven-game winning streak was snapped last Wednesday in Chicago…Cory Emmerton (1-2—3) and Jan Mursak (0-4—4) both own three-game point streaks…Mattias Ritola has points in six of the last 11 contests (4-3—7)…Sergei Kolosov earned his first point of the season with an assist last Wednesday in Chicago and his first goal on Saturday in Peoria.
106 and Counting: Last Wednesday, former Griffin Ryan Keller (2005-07) made his NHL debut with Ottawa during its 3-1 loss at New Jersey, becoming the 106th Griffins alumnus to skate in the NHL. Keller, who tallied 18 points (10-8—18) and 40 penalty minutes in 48 games for Grand Rapids, currently leads the AHL with 13 goals and is tied for sixth in the league with 22 points through 20 games with Binghamton.
We Go to Extremes: The Griffins rank among the AHL’s best in goals scored per game (third at 3.35) and power play (second at 23.4%), but they troll the depths in penalty killing (T27th at 76.8%).
Milestones: Andy Delmore is one point away from 400 for his pro career…Jeremy Williams needs one more goal for 100 in the AHL, one more assist for 100 as a pro, three more assists for 100 in the AHL, and four more points for 200 in the AHL…Patrick Rissmiller is three points and five assists away from 300 and 200 as a pro, respectively.
Tue., Dec. 1 at Lake Erie Monsters (7-13-0-2) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio at 7 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 12-5-1-2 Overall, 5-2-1-2 Road. Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Third of eight meetings overall, second of four in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (1st season). Notes: Grand Rapids’ offensive outburst in its 8-6 win at Lake Erie on Nov. 8 tied for the most goals scored in the AHL this season, while the 14 combined goals remain the league’s season high…The Monsters are on a 0-4-0-1 skid and are 1-8-0-2 in their last 11 outings…Fourteen of Lake Erie’s 22 games have been staged at home, where it owns a 4-10 mark…The Monsters have scored a total of one goal in their last three games and have been shut out in their last two contests. They’ll bring a scoreless streak of 132:10 into Tuesday’s affair.
Fri., Dec. 4 vs. Rockford IceHogs (11-11-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 4-3-1-1 Overall, 3-2-0-0 Home. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall/Home. Second of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Bill Peters (2nd season). Notes: The IceHogs, winners of two straight, are 4-7-1-1 on the road, including a 4-3 win at Van Andel Arena last Friday…Former Griffin Mark Cullen (2007-08) is tied for 17th in AHL scoring and leads the IceHogs with 10 goals, 10 assists (tied), 20 points and four power play goals.
Sat., Dec. 5 vs. Peoria Rivermen (10-9-1-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 13-11-1-1 Overall, 5-5-1-1 Home. Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Third of eight meetings overall, first of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Davis Payne (2nd season). Notes: Griffins netminders Daniel Larsson (2-1 on Nov. 28) and Thomas McCollum (3-1 on Oct. 3) have each limited the Rivermen to just a single goal this season…Peoria is one game above 0.500 despite being having been outscored by 10 goals this season.