11/06/2012 5:24 PM
This Week’s Games
Wed., Nov. 7 - Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS - 11 a.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Nov. 9 - Rockford IceHogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Nov. 10 - GRIFFINS at Peoria Rivermen - 8:05 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Nov. 2 - GRIFFINS 2 at San Antonio Rampage 3 - 2-4-1-1, 6 pts. (T3rd, Midwest Division)
Sat., Nov. 3 - GRIFFINS 4 at Texas Stars 1 - 3-4-1-1, 8 pts. (T3rd)
Sun., Nov. 4 - GRIFFINS 2 at Houston Aeros 1 SO - 4-4-1-1, 10 pts. (3rd)
Southern Success: The Griffins finished their second consecutive weekend three-in-three in successful fashion on Sunday, winning back-to-back games for the first time this season and improving their road record to 4-2. The team kicked off the trip on a high note by jumping out to a 2-0 lead over San Antonio on Friday, but the Rampage tied the game early in the second period before Eric Selleck notched the game-winning goal at 16:48 of the third period. The following night, the Griffins’ Swedes led the way offensively in Petr Mrazek’s AHL debut, as Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist scored once and Adam Almquist scored his first two AHL goals to help the team to a 4-1 victory. Strong defense continued into Sunday’s contest at Houston, as the Griffins battled the Aeros to a 1-1 decision through 65 minutes before edging the home team in the shootout. Mrazek stopped all four shootout attempts, in addition to 59 of the 61 shots he saw over the weekend, and Brendan Smith and Francis Pare scored on their shootout attempts to seal the 2-1 victory for Grand Rapids.
Rivalry Week: The week starts early for Grand Rapids, with an 11 a.m. matinee contest against Milwaukee on Wednesday. After playing three games last weekend, the Griffins will play back-to-back games this weekend to cap off a stretch of six games in a nine-day span (Nov. 2-10). Rockford will make its second visit to Van Andel Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. before the Griffins hit the road to play the first of 10 games against Peoria on Saturday at 8:05 p.m. EST. The team will then have some rest following the conclusion of its busy early November slate, with just one game (Nov. 16 at Lake Erie) coming over the next 12 days.
Matinee Game: In addition to a new start time (11 a.m.), Wednesday’s annual matinee game will have a revamped format for its 12th edition. The Griffins’ annual matinee game has become a major educational event for West Michigan schools. Approximately 5,000 students and teachers will arrive at 9 a.m. to take part in many unique learning experiences prior to the game. This season, the Griffins have partnered with local organizations such as the West Michigan Optometric Association and the West Michigan District Dental Society to provide a variety of “Health & Wellness” educational displays and exhibits for students and teachers. The matinee game experience will expand for high school students this year through the new Griffins High School Symposium, which will assist students in developing their career interests and preparing for an academic life beyond high school. The Griffins have teamed up with Grand Valley State University, Northwood University, Central Michigan University, Aquinas College, Western Michigan University, Hope College and Calvin College to create a fun event that will showcase a wide variety of exciting programs offered within each school’s curriculum. Additionally, the Griffins’ second annual Career Fair will be located in the arena’s banquet room from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Job-seekers are invited to attend and meet with local companies that are searching for qualified candidates to fill their open career opportunities. Local companies who are attending include WOOD TV8, Perrin Inc., EmploymentGroup, Aflac, PL Slaton, MassMutual – FourSquare Financial, Uniform Color Company, Pearson Foods, Northwestern Mutual, the State of Michigan and more. For more information on the Griffins’ 12th annual matinee game, please visit griffinshockey.com/matinee.
More Promotions: Wednesday’s game versus Milwaukee also marks the return of Amway Winning Wednesday. If the Griffins beat the Admirals, every fan in attendance may redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Griffins’ ‘ame on Wednesday, Dec. 5 versus Peoria. The box office will be open following the game for redemptions if the Griffins win. Fans may also redeem their stubs at The Zone during business hours (M-F 10-6; Sat. 10-2) and at the box office the night of Dec. 5. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Every Wednesday, fans can enjoy a buy-one, get-one-free deal on a 16 oz. Pepsi all game long at any concession stand that sells fountain drinks. Wednesday is also a Library Day; fans who present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the day of the game or at The Zone anytime during the store’s regular business hours to save $7 off the price of a Lower Level Faceoff ticket (regularly $18 in advance and $20 day of game). Limit four tickets per card per person, subject to availability. Friday’s contest versus Rockford includes several fan-favorite promotions, including Dollar Beers and Hot Dogs and College Night, which allows college students to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden’s. Every Friday night is also a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night, where fans can have $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served directly to their seats, and Free Ride Friday, permitting any fan to enjoy complimentary fare on the Rapid busses by showing their ticket to that night’s game. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/dzone to order D-Zone tickets, and visit ridetherapid.org for information on bus schedules, routes and maps.
Elite Company: After his first two professional starts, Petr Mrazek finds himself with the AHL’s second-best goals against average (0.96) and save percentage (0.967) in addition to his 2-0 record. Those numbers are the best ever for a goalie through his first two full games as a Griffin, edging out teammate Tom McCollum’s marks of a 1.01 GAA and a 0.964 save percentage after his first two starts in 2009-10. Mrazek is the second rookie and fifth Griffins goalie to start 2-0. Fellow rookie Mathieu Chouinard set a team record by starting 5-0 in 2000-01, a number matched by Ty Conklin last season. Martin Prusek (2001-02) and Pat Mazzoli (1996-97) also started 2-0. Additionally, Mrazek is the first Griffins goalie to show a sub-1.00 GAA since Joey MacDonald posted a 0.96 goals against average over two starts through games of Oct. 15, 2010.
Shut-Down Defense: The Griffins had gone 18 games without holding an opponent to fewer than two goals prior to the team’s 4-1 win over Texas on Saturday. Tom McCollum had previously done the deed by recording a career-high 43 saves in a 4-1 win over the Oklahoma City Barons on March 25. It had been 31 games since the Griffins held a team to one goal in consecutive outings, after Ty Conklin’s 6-1 win over Lake Erie on Feb. 24 and his 2-1 win at Toronto on Feb. 25.
Perfect Penalty Kill: Grand Rapids’ penalty kill units entered last week ranked 24th in the AHL at 75 percent but were a perfect 15-for-15 last weekend. The Griffins now rank 15th in the AHL with an 81.8 percent penalty killing efficiency, having not surrendered a power play goal in 16 opportunities dating back to the third period of their Oct. 28 contest at Chicago.
Rapid Starts: The Griffins have scored first in eight of their 10 games this season, including all three last weekend and each of their last six games. The only two games this season in which the Griffins did not score first were Oct. 21 at Toronto (4-3 SOW) and Oct. 13 versus Hamilton (4-3 SOL).
Close Calls: The Griffins have had a league-high eight games decided by just one goal, showing a 3-3-1-1 record in those games. Saturday’s 4-1 win over Texas was just the second time all season the Griffins had a game decided by more than one goal, with the other game being a 6-4 loss on Oct. 26 versus Charlotte that included an empty net goal. The Hershey Bears are the only other team in the AHL to have had just two games decided by more than one goal.
Working Overtime: Five of the Griffins’ first 10 games have gone to overtime, which leads the AHL and also marks a first in franchise history. The Griffins twice had four overtime games among their first 10 games, the 2007-08 season (where four of their first seven went to extra time) and the 2001-02 season. Three of the team’s initial 10 games have gone to a shootout – also a franchise first – and the Griffins rank among the most successful teams in the AHL in that department. Of the 23 teams who have had at least one shootout this season, the Griffins have the second-highest team save percentage, as both Petr Mrazek (4-for-4, T1st) and Tom McCollum (7-for-8, T5th) rank among the league’s top goaltenders in that category. Additionally, Griffins shooters have converted five of 13 attempts, which is the eight-best percentage (0.385) in the circuit.
Swede Dreams: Adam Almquist enters this week as one of the hottest Griffins, with a team-best three-game point streak after recording four points (2-2—4) on the team’s Texas road trip last weekend. Almquist, who had no points in his first six AHL contests, notched his first point in North America when he assisted on Brent Raedeke’s goal during Friday’s contest at San Antonio. The following night, he earned first star honors after tallying two of the four goals in the team’s 4-1 win over Texas, while becoming the first Griffins defenseman to record a multi-goal games since Logan Pyett recorded a hat trick on Feb. 27, 2011 at Hamilton. Almquist extended his streak to three games with an assist on Landon Ferraro’s goal in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout win in Houston.
League Leaders: Several Griffins are among the AHL’s league leaders after the team’s first 10 games. Gustav Nyquist leads the Griffins and is tied for fifth in the AHL with 11 points, including five goals (T13th), and is also tied for seventh in the league with 34 shots. Tomas Tatar trails Nyquist with 10 points (4-6—10), which ties for 14th in the AHL, and he also ranks among league leaders with three power play goals (T4th) and 31 shots (T15th). Rookie defenseman Chad Billins is tied for fifth in the AHL with eight assists, five of which have come on the power play (T3rd). Billins is also tied for seventh among rookies with eight points and for 11th among AHL defensemen. Petr Mrazek places second in the AHL with a 0.96 goals against average and a 0.967 save percentage and is tied with Connecticut’s Cameron Talbot with a perfect 1.000 shootout save percentage. Tom McCollum is tied for fifth in that category, with a 0.857 shootout save percentage.
Climbing the Ladder: Two Griffins are rapidly ascending the team’s all-time leaderboards in several offensive categories. After becoming the sixth Griffin to reach 300 games on Oct. 26 versus Charlotte, Francis Pare continues to climb the list, passing Ryan Oulahen (302) on Friday at San Antonio and Derek Meech (304) on Sunday at Houston. Pare now ranks fourth all time, trailing only Jamie Tardif (316), Michel Picard (364) and Travis Richards (655). The fifth-year Griffin is also four points away from becoming the fifth Griffin to reach 200 points. Tomas Tatar has recorded six assists this season, passing Matt Ellis (84), Jeff Nelson (87) and Glen Metropolit (88) to take sole possession of seventh place in franchise history with 89 career helpers. He also recently passed Ellis (153) and Tardif (154) in points, now sitting seventh at 157 career points. Tatar will tie Ellis for seventh with his next goal, which will be his 69th as a Griffin.
A Month of Moustaches: Starting Nov. 1, Griffins players and staff will sport moustaches to serve as walking billboards for Movember, a month-long initiative to help raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. Fans can donate through griffinshockey.com/movember either directly to a member of the Griffins’ front office staff or to the players through the “Donate to Team” button. Weekly progress photos and updates will be posted on griffinshockey.com and the team’s social media channels. Additionally, fans can purchase special ticket offers with proceeds benefitting the Movember organization by entering the promo code “movember” at griffinshockey.com/promocode when purchasing tickets to any November home game.
Can I Take Your Order?: On Tuesday, Nov. 13 from 6-9 p.m., the Griffins will hang up their skates for an evening and serve appetizers, entrees and drinks to fans at Uccello’s Ristorante, in the return of the team’s popular Tip-A-Griffin fundraiser. Griffins players, coaches and hockey staff will visit all four Uccello’s locations in West Michigan to serve and wait tables, with donations and raffle proceed benefiting the Griffins Youth Foundation. In its previous six editions, Tip-A-Griffin raised nearly $60,000 for various local charities. Visit griffinshockey.com for a list of player locations.
Flash Seats: The Griffins on Monday introduced a paperless ticketing service called Flash Seats ® by Veritix ® in association with Star Tickets, Inc. that eliminates the need for traditional paper tickets and allows fans to enter the game with electronic identification. When purchasing tickets using Flash Seats, fans can choose any convenient form of electronic ID, such as a credit card or driver’s license, which is swiped by a guest services representative with a handheld device in place of paper tickets when they enter the arena. Flash Seats allows fans to get quick and easy access to the game, avoid lines at will call, ensure that tickets are never lost or stolen, transfer seats to friends, family or clients via email, and resell tickets to others.
Moving Inside: With the cancellation of both the 2013 NHL Winter Classic and the 2012 Hockeytown Winter Festival due to the absence of a collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHLPA, the Grand Rapids Griffins’ outdoor game against the Toronto Marlies scheduled to be played on Sunday, Dec. 30 at Comerica Park in Detroit will have a new date and venue. The game will now take place on Saturday, Dec. 29 at Van Andel Arena at 7 p.m., comprising the second of back-to-back contests between the former division rivals, who will also face off in Grand Rapids on Friday, Dec. 28 at 7 p.m. Griffins full season ticket holders – who did not receive a Dec. 30 ticket as part of their 2012-13 package – will have until Nov. 25 to obtain their seats for the Dec. 29 rescheduled date by redeeming either their Bring a Friend vouchers, the flex tickets they originally received in lieu of a 38th home game at Van Andel Arena, or unused season tickets from games that have already been played. For all other fans wishing to attend the Dec. 29 game, tickets will are on sale at griffinshockey.com/buytickets, The Zone at Van Andel Arena, and all Star Tickets outlets (800-585-3737).
Walleye Watch: Through nine games, Willie Coetzee and Andrej Nestrasil share the Toledo Walleye’s team lead with seven points (4-3—7), along with Byron Froese. The trio are followed closely by Grand Rapids-native Luke Glendening, who has five points (3-2—5) after recording a four-game point streak from Oct. 27-Nov. 2.
Wed., Nov. 7 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (4-5-0-0) – Van Andel Arena – 11 a.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 10:40 a.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through espn961.com. All-Time Series: 56-43-7-5-6 Overall, 32-20-2-1-2 Home. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Second of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Dean Evason (1st season). Notes: Milwaukee is led in scoring by Taylor Beck, who has seven points (1-6—7) in nine games…Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith ranks 15th in the AHL with a 2.28 goals against average…Milwaukee is the least-penalized team in the AHL, averaging only 12 minutes per game…The Admirals have also surrendered just four power play goals, with a 89.7 percent penalty killing efficiency that ranks fourth in the AHL…Former Griffin Chris Mueller is tied for the Admirals’ team lead with four goals among his six points (T2nd)… Griffins forward Triston Grant played two seasons in Milwaukee from 2008-10, setting career highs in all categories in 2009-10 with 25 points (12-13—15) and 236 penalty minutes in 74 games.
Fri., Nov. 9 vs. Rockford IceHogs (5-4-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
TV: 23 Weather Now (WIFR-DT 23.2 Rockford). Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 8-13-3-3 Overall, 6-6-1-1 Home. Season Series: 0-0-1-0 Overall, 0-0-1-0 Home. Second of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Ted Dent (2nd season). Notes: Brandon Pirri leads Rockford in scoring with 10 points (5-5—10) in 10 games. Pirri scored the overtime winner in the teams’ first matchup this season, Oct. 27 in Grand Rapids…Rockford forward Brandon Bollig is fourth in the AHL with 46 penalty minutes…The IceHogs lead the AHL with 292 penalty minutes, and their 29.20 penalty minute per game is second to Syracuse (31.00)…Only Rochester’s David Leggio has played more minutes than the IceHogs’ Carter Hutton, who has logged 516:40… Rockford left wing Wade Brookbank was the 56th Griffins alum to skate in the NHL. Brookbank led Grand Rapids with 337 penalty minutes during the 2000-01 season, the fourth-highest single season total in franchise history…Rockford defenseman Brett Lebda was the 70th Griffins alum to graduate to the NHL. Lebda had 31 points (6-25—31) in 111 games with Grand Rapids from 2003-06 and won a Stanley Cup with the Red Wings in 2008.
Sat., Nov. 10 at Peoria Rivermen (2-5-1-1) – Carver Arena – 8:05 p.m. EST
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:40 p.m. EST. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 18-22-2-2 Overall, 11-10-0-1 Road. Season Series: First of 10 meetings overall, first of five in Peoria. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Dave Allison (1st season). Notes: Peoria has struggled on offense this season, recording an AHL-low 13 goals in nine games…Rivermen goalie Jake Allen ranks fifth in the AHL in minutes with 467:37…Peoria has scored just one goal on the power play, ranking 30th in the AHL with a 2.8 efficiency and sitting 24th in penalty killing at 77.5 percent…The Rivermen have scored eight of their 13 goals in the third period, with just two in the first period and three in the middle frame…Peoria head coach Dave Allison was the first-ever Griffins head coach, sporting a 70-55-19 record from 1996-98…Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans spent the past two seasons with Peoria, registering 21 points (5-16—21) and 238 penalty minutes.