This Week’s Games
Wed., Jan. 5 - Hamilton Bulldogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Thu., Jan. 6 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 8 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Jan. 8 - GRIFFINS at Rockford IceHogs - 8:05 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Dec. 31 - Toronto Marlies 1 at GRIFFINS 2 SO - 16-15-1-4, 37 pts. (4th, North Division)
Sat., Jan. 1 - Peoria Rivermen 2 at GRIFFINS 0 - 16-16-1-4, 37 pts. (T4th)
Ready to Hit the Road: Wednesday’s contest against the North Division-leading Hamilton Bulldogs at Van Andel Arena will conclude stretches that have seen the Griffins play 12 of 15 games and 16 of 22 contests within friendly confines. Grand Rapids, which has won five of its last seven at home, will then embark on a season-high six-game road swing that begins on Thursday in Milwaukee. The Griffins have not played consecutive road games since a three-game trip from Nov. 13-17.
Winning Wednesday: The Griffins will try to stretch their winning streak in Wednesday home games to four tomorrow when the Bulldogs invade Van Andel Arena. It’s a Winning Wednesday, so all fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 4-3 win over Toronto on Dec. 22 can redeem their ticket stubs for free tickets to this game. Furthermore, if the Griffins beat Hamilton, each fan in attendance can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Feb. 16 game against the Bulldogs. Other promotions include Hockey Night, Library Night and the post-game party at Peppino’s downtown.
Bodies Wanted: In Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Peoria, the Griffins played without the services of five regulars – forwards Jan Mursak and Tomas Tatar in Detroit, and injured defensemen Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff and Brendan Smith – and lost forward Brandon Straub to injury during the game.
Cause for Celebration: On New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, goaltender Joey MacDonald stopped a combined 66-of-68 shots, good for a 0.97 GAA and a 0.971 save percentage. He made a season-high 43 saves in Friday’s 2-1 shootout victory against the Marlies.
Ring Out the Year in Style: The capacity crowd of 10,834 that witnessed Friday’s thrilling 2-1 shootout win over Toronto marked the Griffins’ first New Year’s Eve sellout since 1998 and their fourth all time, as well as the 133rd sellout in franchise history. The special edition jerseys worn by the Griffins that night raised $14,450 for GVSU club roller hockey through a post-game auction, with Brendan Smith’s jersey garnering the high bid of $1,100.
Alumni Honor Roll: Tomas Tatar, who was recalled from Grand Rapids by Detroit on Friday, made his NHL debut that night in the Red Wings’ 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders, forcing the extra session with his first NHL goal at 10:18 of the third period. He logged 12:18 in ice time while becoming the 114th Griffins alumnus to skate in the NHL. Tatar (one goal, plus-one in two games) and NHL alumnus No. 112, Jan Mursak (scoreless in four games), remain with the Red Wings.
Flood of Wins for Rivermen: The Griffins began 2011 in much the same manner that they spent 2010, dropping their 10th straight meeting with Peoria by a 2-0 count at Van Andel Arena on New Year’s Day. The Griffins, who lost all seven clashes against Peoria during the 2010 calendar year, have now dropped nine straight games to the Rivermen in regulation and 10 straight overall (0-9-0-1) since their last series win, a 4-1 decision at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 5, 2009.
Happy Holidays: The Griffins secured a winning record for their record-tying 10-game December home schedule, finishing the month with a 6-3-1-0 mark at Van Andel Arena. Grand Rapids played 10 home games during a single month just twice before, going 6-3-1-0 in December 2007 and 7-2-1 in February 1999.
Close Quarters: The Griffins are tied with Lake Erie for fourth place (37 points) in a tight North Division race, just three points behind third-place Toronto. Only nine points separate first-place Hamilton (45) from last-place Abbotsford and Rochester (36).
Kudos: Brendan Smith’s 22 points (8-14—22) tie for 11th among AHL defensemen and ninth among rookies, while his eight goals tie for second among blueliners…Francis Pare’s three-game point streak (1-2—3) was snapped on Saturday…Joakim Andersson’s team-high (tied) three-game goal streak ended on Friday. He had tallied just one goal in his first 31 appearances this season…Jordan Owens also had a three-game point streak (0-4—4) snapped on Friday.
Milestones: Francis Pare became the 14th player to score 50 goals during his Griffins career by notching the game-tying goal that sent Friday’s contest into overtime…Joey MacDonald is three wins shy of 100 as a Griffin and needs six appearances to tie Jimmy Howard’s franchise record of 186 games played by a goalie…Jamie Tardif has played 276 career games as a Griffin, putting him four behind sixth-place Dave Van Drunen (280) on the team’s all-time list. Meanwhile, ninth-place Derek Meech (263) sits one game behind eighth-place Derek King (264).
Wed., Jan. 5 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (20-11-1-4) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 23-27-1-0-3 Overall, 12-11-1-0-2 Home. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Third of six meetings overall, first of three in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Randy Cunneyworth (1st season). Notes: Hamilton leads the North Division by three points over Manitoba…The Griffins and Bulldogs split a two-game set in Hamilton in mid-November, with each team winning by a 2-1 count…David Desharnais, the AHL’s player of the month for December, is currently on recall to the parent Canadiens. He ranks second in the AHL scoring race with 45 points (10-35—45)…Goalie Curtis Sanford stands fourth in the AHL with a 1.73 GAA and a 0.939 save percentage.
Thu., Jan. 6 at Milwaukee Admirals (20-11-2-4) – Bradley Center – 8 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 7:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 53-38-7-5-5 Overall, 22-21-5-4-3 Road. Season Series: 2-1-0-1 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Fifth of eight meetings overall, second of four in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (4th season). Notes: The Griffins’ 3-2 win over Milwaukee on Dec. 8 was their second straight over the Admirals and the first for the home team in this season’s four clashes…Grand Rapids’ 5-2 victory at the Bradley Center on Dec. 3 stands as one of just two regulation losses on home ice for Milwaukee (9-2-2-1) this season…Admirals center Blake Geoffrion and Griffins defenseman Brendan Smith were teammates the last three years at Wisconsin…Goalie Mark Dekanich ranks fifth in the AHL with a 1.85 GAA and a 0.934 save percentage.
Sat., Jan. 8 at Rockford IceHogs (15-14-1-4) – Rockford MetroCentre – 8:05 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 7:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 5-9-2-2 Overall, 2-4-2-1 Road. Season Series: 0-1-0-1 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Road. Third of six meetings overall, second of three in Rockford. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Bill Peters (3rd season). Notes: After going 4-2-1-1 versus Rockford during its first two AHL campaigns (2007-09), the Griffins are 1-7-1-1 against the IceHogs since the start of last season, including a 1-3-1-0 mark in Rockford...IceHogs defenseman Wade Brookbank (1-0—1, 42 PIM in 24 games) played for the Griffins during the 2001-02 season…Rockford stands in eighth place in the West Division…Brian Connelly’s 22 points (3-19-22) tie him for 11th among AHL defensemen.