This Week’s Games
Fri., Oct. 15 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Oct. 16 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Oct. 8 - Abbotsford Heat 3 at GRIFFINS 2 SO - 0-0-0-1, 1 pt. (4th, North Division)
Sun., Oct. 10 - GRIFFINS 4 at Rockford IceHogs 5 - 0-1-0-1, 1 pt. (5th)
Moose Droppings: The Griffins will stage their only two road meetings of the season against North Division rival Manitoba this Friday and Saturday at the MTS Centre. The Moose are off to a 2-0 start under new head coach Claude Noel, who spent the last three seasons as an assistant and interim head coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets. No stranger to facing the Griffins, Noel previously was a head coach for both the Milwaukee Admirals (2003-07) and the IHL’s Michigan K-Wings (1996-98).
Homecoming Day: For Grand Rapids defenseman Derek Meech, a native of Winnipeg, this Friday’s game will mark his first in his hometown in nearly four years, dating to a 2-1 Griffins loss at the MTS Centre on Nov. 8, 2006. Last Friday, Meech played his first game as a Griffin since Jan. 16, 2008, the end of a six-game conditioning stint. Also on Friday, goaltender Joey MacDonald played his first game for Grand Rapids since Jan. 13, 2007, the second and final game of his own conditioning stint from Detroit.
Immediate Impact: Rookie defenseman Brendan Smith, Detroit’s first-round selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, scored his first goal just 3:09 into his pro career on Friday against Abbotsford. After following it up with a two-assist performance on Sunday in Rockford, he leads the Griffins in scoring and ranks among the AHL’s top defensemen (T3rd), rookies (T6th) and players (T16th) in points.
Eight is Not Enough: Although Grand Rapids dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Abbotsford on Friday, the team earned at least one point in its season opener for the eighth consecutive year (5-0-2-1) and improved to 2-0-0-1 in home openers under head coach Curt Fraser.
Come One, Come All: Friday’s capacity crowd of 10,834 at Van Andel Arena gave the Griffins their 15th consecutive home-opening sellout and stands as the AHL’s second-largest crowd of the season to date.
All Good Things Must End: On Sunday in Rockford, the Griffins failed to earn at least one point in their road opener for the first time since 1998, as their 5-4 loss to the IceHogs broke their 11-year point streak in road debuts (9-0-2-0).
Family Tradition: Ilari Filppula, older brother of former Griffin and current Red Wing Valtteri, made his North American debut on Friday. The Filppulas become the fourth set of brothers to have played for the Griffins, joining the Brookbanks (Sheldon and Wade), the Millers (Kelly, Kevin and Kip) and the Nelsons (Jeff and Todd).
Early Rankings: The Griffins have converted 37.5% of their power plays (3-for-8), tops in the 30-team AHL…Joey MacDonald stands eighth in the league with both a 1.85 GAA and a 0.929 save percentage…Grand Rapids is averaging the second-fewest penalty minutes at 11.5.
Turn This Thing Around: Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Grand Rapids is 1-7-1-0 in nine meetings against Rockford. Six of those losses, including Sunday’s road decision, were by a single goal.
Rogers Released: The Griffins today released right wing Kyle Rogers from his pro tryout. He made his Grand Rapids debut on Sunday in Rockford, going scoreless with an even rating.
Fri., Oct. 15 at Manitoba Moose (2-0-0-0) – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 16 at Manitoba Moose – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 8:15 p.m. each night. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 41-23-1-1-7 Overall, 19-14-0-0-2 Road. Season Series: First and second of four meetings overall, first and second of two in Winnipeg. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Claude Noel (1st season). Notes: The Griffins and Moose split their eight regular season meetings at the MTS Centre over the previous three seasons (2007-10)…Three Manitoba rookies have started strong, with goalie Eddie Lack’s 2.00 GAA tied for ninth in the league, Lee Sweatt’s three points (1-2—3) tied for third among defensemen, and forward Jordan Schroeder’s four points (0-4—4) tied for second among rookies…The Moose have scored on three of their 10 power play chances…Manitoba ranks among the league’s best in goals scored (4.50 per game, T4th) and goals allowed (2.50, T5th).