This Week’s Games
Fri., Oct. 28 - Abbotsford Heat at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Oct. 29 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 8 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Tue., Oct. 18 - GRIFFINS 3 at Hamilton Bulldogs 0 - 2-2-0-0, 4 pts. (T3rd, North Division)
Fri., Oct. 21 - GRIFFINS 1 at Oklahoma City Barons 4 - 2-3-0-0, 4 pts. (4th)
Sat., Oct. 22 - GRIFFINS 3 at Oklahoma City Barons 2 SO - 3-3-0-0, 6 pts. (T3rd)
Sun., Oct. 23 - GRIFFINS 1 at Houston Aeros 3 - 3-4-0-0, 6 pts. (T3rd)
Welcome Home: After the first two full weeks of the season, the Griffins are just one of two teams (Milwaukee) in the AHL to have played only one home game. That will change when Grand Rapids makes its second appearance at Van Andel Arena this Friday at 7 p.m. against Abbotsford. The Griffins closed out a five-game road trip on Sunday, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Houston Aeros. Grand Rapids went 2-3 on the trip, shutting out Hamilton while splitting back-to-back games with Oklahoma City and losing to Houston and Rochester. Tickets for the Friday’s game are available at griffinshockey.com.
About Time: The game this Friday, Oct. 28 against Abbotsford will mark the latest date ever for the Griffins’ second home appearance, and the only season ever in which they played six of their first seven games in hostile territory. The season will be 21 days old before fans see the Griffins at home for the second time, but they will soon see much more of the team. The Griffins play four of their next five, nine of their next 12 and 11 of their next 15 at Van Andel Arena.
Costume Crazy: The Griffins will host their annual Halloween Party during this Friday’s contest versus Abbotsford. Ten of the best costumes will be chosen to compete in a second intermission contest at ice level, with the winner being chosen by applause. The winner will receive a free hospitality area for a group of 25 during the Dec. 21 game versus Abbotsford. Fans who are interested in participating should register at the Ticket Central display at the top of the main stairs on game night. Also on game night, the first 2,500 fans in the building will also receive a free Griffins Clingz Schedule, and Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs will run from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last.
Stay a While: Immediately following Friday’s game, the Griffins will depart for Milwaukee to take on the Admirals on Saturday at 8 p.m. EDT and close out the first month of the season. They will then play three straight home contests, beginning with a North Division showdown on Nov. 2 versus Lake Erie, to kick off a November schedule that features eight of 11 games at Van Andel Arena.
Immediate Impact: With Travis Ehrhardt and Landon Ferraro nursing injuries and Mitch Callahan serving a four-game suspension, the Griffins welcomed rookie forward Andrej Nestrasil for the weekend, on reassignment from Toledo. Nestrasil has factored into the last three Griffins goals, assisting on a Brent Raedeke goal before notching his first professional goal on Saturday at Oklahoma City and adding the Griffins’ only goal in Sunday’s contest in Houston. The 6-2, 210 pound forward is no stranger to offense, registering 70 points (19-51—70) in 58 games with Prince Edward Island of the QMJHL last season.
On the Cusp: Griffins head coach Curt Fraser has a chance to make history this weekend, as his next victory will move him past Danton Cole for first place in franchise history in wins. Currently sitting at 116-102-11-18 all time, Fraser tied Cole at 116 wins with the Griffins’ 3-2 shootout win on Saturday. Fraser already holds the record for most games behind the Griffins’ bench with 247.
What a Week!: Joey MacDonald played in three games of the Griffins’ five-game road trip and came away with three franchise records. With the team’s 3-0 shutout of Hamilton on Tuesday, MacDonald overtook Jimmy Howard as the franchise’s career leader in games played at 187, in what was also his franchise-leading 100th win and 18th shutout as a Griffin. During a 3-2 shootout victory over Oklahoma City on Saturday, MacDonald also became the career leader in minutes (10675:01) and saves (4,852), besting Howard’s records of 10659:17 and 4,849 saves. To cap off the record-setting performance, MacDonald was recalled to the Red Wings on Monday and will be available to play in Columbus on Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Serving Time: The Griffins will be without the services of forward Mitch Callahan for Friday’s game, after he was suspended by the AHL on Thursday for four games as the result of a boarding penalty he took last Tuesday in Hamilton. Callahan, who was assessed a five-minute boarding major and game misconduct, will be eligible to return on Saturday in Milwaukee.
Man Advantage?: Last Tuesday, Grand Rapids gave six power play opportunities to the Hamilton Bulldogs. Not only did the Griffins kill off all six opportunities, but they were the team who benefitted on the scoreboard. Chris Conner struck twice while undermanned, joining Matt Ellis (3/12/05 vs. Hamilton), Michel Picard (4/15/00 at Cincinnati) and Ed Patterson (12/12/97 at Cleveland) as the only players in franchise history to score two shorthanded goals in one game.
League Leaders: Several Griffins find themselves among the AHL’s early statistical leaders after fast starts to the new season. Joey MacDonald ranks among the league’s leaders in nearly every statistical category with a 1.98 GAA (10th), a 0.935 save percentage (T9th), three wins (T3rd), one shutout (T1st) and a 0.889 shootout percentage (5th) in five appearances. Chris Conner is tied for 11th in league scoring with nine points and sits in a first-place tie with two shorthanded goals. Grand Rapids is well represented among the AHL rookie leaders with Gustav Nyquist currently tied for ninth in rookie scoring with three goals and three assists in his first seven games, while Andrej Nestrasil sits second in rookie shooting percentage with a 40 percent success rate on five shots. Brendan Smith is one of just four defensemen to score a shootout goal, and one of just two (Matt Taormina) to make that goal a shootout winner.
Milestone Watch: Forward Joakim Andersson celebrated his 200th game as a pro with an assist in a 3-2 shootout win over Oklahoma City on Saturday…Travis Ehrhardt, Jordan Pearce and Greg Amadio each sit three games shy of games played milestones, with Ehrhardt nearing 100 games as a Griffin, Pearce closing in on 100 as a pro and Amadio sitting just shy of 400 in the AHL…Amadio also sits four games away from 500 as a pro and nine penalty minutes away from 500 as a Griffin…Tomas Tatar is nearing a pair of milestones, sitting eight games shy of 200 as a pro and nine points away from 100 as a Griffin…Joey MacDonald is 10 games away from 200 as a Griffin and 400 as a pro…Chris Conner is nine goals away from 100 in his pro career.
Fri., Oct. 28 vs. Abbotsford Heat (4-2-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 2-5-0-1 Overall, 2-1-0-1 Home. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Calgary Flames. Head Coach: Troy G. Ward (1st season). Notes: Abbotsford was the only team on the Griffins’ 2010-11 schedule that the Griffins did not record a win against, posting a 0-3-0-1 record…The Heat finished fourth in the North Division at 38-32-4-6 but did not qualify for the postseason…Former Griffins defenseman Clay Wilson is tied for third in Heat scoring with three points (1-2—3) in six games…Abbotsford goaltender Leland Irving has played all six games on the season, and he ranks among AHL goaltending leaders with four wins (T1st), a 1.82 GAA (8th) and 362:07 minutes played (3rd).
Sat., Oct. 29 at Milwaukee Admirals (4-0-0-1) – 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 ESPN961.com. All-Time Series: 54-41-7-5-5 Overall, 23-23-5-4-3 Road. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Kirk Muller (1st season). Notes: The Griffins posted a 3-4-0-1 record in 2010-11 against Milwaukee, which finished first in the Western Conference with a 44-22-6-8 record…The Admirals lost in the West Division finals to Houston…Milwaukee is one of two teams (Worcester) in the AHL to be undefeated in regulation…The Admirals have allowed only eight goals this season, tying for best in the league, while leading the league in fewest penalty minutes with 44…Former Griffin Chris Mueller leads the Admirals in scoring with two goals and four assists in five games…Milwaukee has a league-high 11 rookies in its lineup…Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith ranks second in the league with a 1.44 GAA and third with a 0.943, trailing teammate Atte Engren, who leads the league in both of those categories (1.00 GAA, 0.960 save percentage) after one appearance.