01/26/2010 12:32 PM
Last Week’s Results
Weekend of Fun: The Griffins return to Van Andel Arena this weekend to host the Chicago Wolves on Friday and the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday, with a variety of promotions each night. Fri. vs. Chicago: The popular Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs promotion runs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last). College Night attendees can purchase lower bowl tickets for just $10, while special discounts on upper bowl tickets are available for fans that follow the Griffins on Facebook and Twitter. After the game, several Griffins players will sign autographs inside the Huntington Club. Sat. vs. Rockford: In celebration of Hockey Day in Michigan, 330 kids and 42 teams will play 130 afternoon games at Van Andel Arena during the Griffins’ third annual Cross-Ice Jamboree. With less than one month until the 30th anniversary of the greatest fortnight in U.S. hockey history, “Miracle On Ice” Olympic gold medalist, four-time Stanley Cup champion and Michigan native Ken Morrow will sign autographs for fans for one hour prior to the game. The Red Wings’ own Karen Newman will perform the national anthem, the first 1,500 fans will receive a Justin Abdelkader Griffins jersey card, courtesy of Huntington Bank, and the Griffins will wear special jerseys designed by Brian Oesch, the second winner of last summer’s jersey design contest. All jerseys will be signed by the respective players and auctioned off following the game to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Great Skate Winterfest: Celebrate winter in our city and skate with Griffins players at the Great Skate Winterfest, coming to Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids this weekend. Enjoy a day full of winter-inspired events, sports demonstrations and family activities starting at noon on Saturday, followed by a 24-hour skating marathon with Griffins players that begins immediately after the game against Rockford. Fans can help raise money for the Griffins Youth Foundation by sponsoring a Griffin or soliciting pledges for their own participation in the Great Skate. Admission to the Great Skate Winterfest is free, but donations are encouraged and certain activity fees apply. For more information, visit griffinshockey.com/greatskate.
Unwelcome Visitors From Illinois That Aren’t Asian Carp: After beginning the season with a respectable 4-3-0-0 mark against their three rivals from the Land of Lincoln (through Dec. 14), the Griffins have since posted a combined record of 1-6-0-1 versus Chicago, Peoria and Rockford, including four straight losses by a cumulative score of 17-8. In the midst of playing five consecutive games against either the Wolves or IceHogs, Grand Rapids has lost three straight to Chicago, three straight to Peoria (0-2-0-1) and two straight to Rockford.
Make Hay While The Sun is Shining: Grand Rapids will play four of its next five games within the cozy confines of Van Andel Arena, where it still possesses a winning record (13-12-0-0) despite dropping nine of its last 10. However, beginning with a Feb. 9 game at Texas, they’ll play 18 of their final 29 contests on the road, where they own an 8-12-0-1 mark.
How Quickly Things Can Change: The Griffins have managed as many wins in their last 19 games (4-14-0-1 from Dec. 15-Jan. 24) as they did in the five games that immediately preceded their skid (4-1-0-0 from Dec. 5-13). Entering play on Dec. 15, the Griffins were five points behind first-place Rochester in the North Division and boasted a winning percentage (0.630) that ranked fourth in the Western Conference and sixth in the AHL. Now, they sit 18 points behind first-place Hamilton and six points out of a playoff spot, while possessing a winning percentage (0.467) that is tied for 13th in the conference and 25th in the league.
Short Story: Once the only AHL team that had not scored a shorthanded goal this season, the Griffins have tallied twice while undermanned in their last five games.
History Repeating?: The 2006-07 Griffins won 20 of their first 46 games (20-20-4-2) – one fewer victory than the current squad has earned – before going on a 6-0/9-1 run to spark a 17-12-2-3 finish that garnered them the North Division’s fourth seed in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s statistical leaders, including Paul Crosty (123 penalty minutes, T13th), Jan Mursak (17 goals, T16th), Kris Newbury (121 PIM, T17th), Francis Pare (plus-17, T13th) and Jeremy Williams (six power play goals, T17th).
Worth Noting: For the first time since a three-game span from Dec. 1-5, the Griffins have not allowed a power play goal in consecutive games…The Griffins have outscored their opponents 51-37 in the third period…Grand Rapids remains undefeated when leading after two periods (11-0-0-0) and has rallied for a league-high (tied) five victories when trailing entering the final frame.
Who’s Hot?: Evan McGrath has points in three of his last five appearances (1-2—3)…John Vigilante tied a career high with goals in consecutive games before being held off the scoresheet on Sunday in Chicago…Kris Newbury has points in three of the last five games (1-2—3).
Winter Potholes: Grand Rapids has won one of its last seven games, two of its last 10 contests and three of its last 16 outings…The Griffins, who managed only one power play goal (1-for-38, 2.6%) during their first 10 games of 2010, broke a 0-for-22 drought that had spanned parts of eight games with Jeremy Williams’ goal on Sunday in Chicago…Only twice in their last 19 games have the Griffins limited their opposition to fewer than three goals (3-1 W vs. HAM on Jan. 16, 4-2 W at TEX on Dec. 19)…Since their overall 4-14-0-1 skid began with a 4-3 shootout loss to Peoria on Dec. 15, the Griffins have allowed their opposition to convert 22 of 80 (27.5%) power play chances and have been outscored by a 37-17 margin during the second period…After giving up 75 goals in their first 27 games this season (2.78 GAA), the Griffins have surrendered 83 in their last 19 contests (4.37 GAA)…Grand Rapids’ starting netminder has been pulled in seven of the last 15 games.
Fri., Jan. 29 vs. Chicago Wolves (26-17-0-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Jan. 30 vs. Rockford IceHogs (26-18-2-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
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