This Week’s Games
Fri., Feb. 21 Oklahoma City Barons at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / SiriusXM NHL Network Radio - Sirius 207 and XM 211 / AHLLive.com
Sat., Feb. 22 Oklahoma City Barons at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., Feb. 23 Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS 5 p.m. WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 14 San Antonio Rampage 2 at GRIFFINS 1 SO 30-15-2-3, 65 pts. (1st, Midwest Division)
Sat., Feb. 15 San Antonio Rampage 3 at GRIFFINS 0 30-16-2-3, 65 pts. (1st)
Stampeded: Last week, the Griffins were swept by the San Antonio Rampage in consecutive games on Friday and Saturday at Van Andel Arena. On Friday, the two teams ended regulation knotted at one goal each, leading the Griffins to their fifth shootout of the season. San Antonio goaltender Michael Houser turned away all four of Grand Rapids’ shooters, while Bobby Butler and Drew Shore both connected for the Rampage to take home the extra point, 2-1. On Saturday, the Griffins were shut out, 3-0, by San Antonio, marking the team’s third scoreless game this season. All shutouts against the Griffins have been at home. The loss also marked the fifth straight loss (0-4-0-1) at home, the most for Grand Rapids since losing seven straight (0-4-1-2) from Nov. 10-Dec. 5, 2010. The Griffins played both games without the services of Slovakian Olympian Tomas Jurco, Detroit Red Wings callup Luke Glendening, and injured forwards Triston Grant and Jordin Tootoo.
Van Andel Three-in-Three: This weekend, the Griffins will host the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., followed by the Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday at 5 p.m. The trio of games at Van Andel Arena marks the Griffins’ first three-in-three at home since Feb. 10-12, 2012 and just the ninth ever.
AHL on SiriusXM: With the NHL in a break during the Olympics, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio will be broadcasting Bob Kaser’s call for Friday’s game versus the Oklahoma City Barons live on Sirius 207 and XM 211 at 7 p.m. EST.
The Midwest Division: With the Griffins (30-16-2-3, 65 pts.) trading wins and losses of late, the team now holds only a one-point lead over the second-place Chicago Wolves (29-16-4-2, 64 pts.). The Griffins (3-5-1-1) and Wolves (7-1-2-0) hold virtually mirror records of one another through the last 10 games. The Rockford IceHogs (26-21-4-3, 59 pts.) have jumped back up to third courtesy of a seven-game point streak, while the fourth-place Milwaukee Admirals (23-16-6-5, 57 pts.) trail by only a few points. The Iowa Wild (21-19-5-4, 51 pts.) rank fifth. After falling in back-to-back games to the San Antonio Rampage last weekend, the Griffins now rank third in the Western Conference behind the Abbotsford Heat (32-15-4-1, 69 pts, 1st) and Texas Stars (30-16-3-4, 67 pts.) and rank sixth overall.
Salute to Heroes Night/Camouflage Jersey Auction: Friday’s game versus Oklahoma City is the annual Salute to Heroes Night, where the Griffins will wear camouflage jerseys that will be auctioned off in the Intermission Bar and Restaurant following the game. Throughout the night, the Griffins will honor local heroes including policemen, firefighters and military members. Any current member of our military can purchase up to four upper bowl tickets for $13 each (or $11 in advance at The Zone) with a valid military ID. The offer also extends to veterans who present a VA ID or discharge papers. Friday also gives fans the opportunity to enjoy $2 hot dogs and $2 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. College students can 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 D-Zone night, where fans can have $2 beers and $2 hot dogs served directly to their seats, and a 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.
Griffins Team Trading Card Set Giveaway: 2,500 fans attending Saturday’s game will receive a Griffins team trading card set, featuring 25 select players from the Griffins’ roster this season. In addition, fans can bring their skates and take to the ice for a post-game open skate. Other post-game open skate dates include March 29 and April 18. Saturday night also gives fans the opportunity to redeem Fan 4 Packs. For select games, receive four tickets and $12 in concession cash for a great low price. Valid for games on Feb. 22; March 8 and 29; and April 5. Visit griffinshockey.com/f4p or call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2.
Sunday Promotions: For every Sunday and Wednesday game, fans can present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the Van Andel Arena box office on the night 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. Fans can also enjoy $1 Pepsi drinks and $1 ice cream from 4-6 p.m. Furthermore, children with Griff's Reading Goals bookmarks who have completed the three hours of reading can redeem their bookmark for two free upper level tickets to this game.
In Comparison: While the Griffins have experienced a skid of late, the team’s record (30-16-2-3, 65 pts.) is nearly identical to 2012-13 record (29-16-2-2, 62 pts.) at this point in the season. The Griffins later went on to win the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Jurco Scores Olympic Goal: Last Thursday, Grand Rapids forward Tomas Jurco became the fifth player in franchise history to participate in the Olympics while an active Griffin after his Slovakian team fell to the United States, 7-1, at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Sergei Kolosov (2010 Belarus), Niklas Kronwall (2006 Sweden), Ole-Kristian Tollefsen (2010 Norway) and Julien Vauclair (2002 Switzerland) have also competed in the Olympic Games while active Griffins. On Saturday, the Slovakian team was upset, 3-1, by Slovenia in a preliminary game. However, with only 17.8 seconds remaining, Jurco scored his first Olympic goal, spoiling Slovenia’s near-shutout. Earlier today, the Slovakian squad was knocked out of the Olympic tournament by the Czech Republic, 5-3, concluding Jurco’s Sochi adventures.
Shootout Shutouts: The Griffins were blanked in a shootout last Friday for the second time this season, dropping 2-1 decision to the San Antonio Rampage. Rampage goaltender Michael Houser turned away Adam Almquist, Louis-Marc Aubry, Cory Emmerton and Calle Jarnkrok on his way to earning the win. Although Grand Rapids hold a 2-3 record in the shootout this season, the team has only connected on three out of 20 attempts (15.0%), and two of those goals came from Gustav Nyquist before his recall to Detroit. Almquist is the only other skater on the team to put the puck away this season, when he buried a shot to defeat the Milwaukee Admirals, 3-2,on Feb. 1.
Goaltender Bender: On Jan. 28, goaltender Petr Mrazek returned to the Griffins from the Detroit Red Wings to provide further depth between the pipes for Grand Rapids. In combination with Tom McCollum, the pair of netminders have achieved a high level of success individually and for their teams this season. McCollum (2.23 GAA, 6th) and Mrazek (2.30 GAA, T9th) both rank among the league’s top nine goaltenders. Since his return from the Wings, Mrazek has posted a 1-3 record and is currently on a three-game losing streak, his longest such streak since a five-game skid with Grand Rapids last season from March 16-30. Overall, he posts an 11-5-1 AHL record this season along with a 0.918 save percentage. McCollum has earned a 19-9-2 record and a 0.925 save percentage.
Callahan Can: In his third season as a Griffin and third season pro, right wing Mitch Callahan (19-8—27) is on the precipice of exceeding his previous two-season point total (17-12—29). Already surpassing his 2011-13 goal total by two, Callahan ties for first on the team with Teemu Pulkkinen (19-23—42) for the highest number of goals. Adding to his laurels, Callahan has earned a plus-17 rating, the highest on the team, and his 141 shots are the second-highest for Grand Rapids behind only Pulkkinen. Callahan, Calle Jarnkrok and Pulkkinen are the only three Griffins to have appeared in all 51 contests this season.
Team Leaders: Right wing Teemu Pulkkinen (19-23—42) continues to lead the Griffins in scoring, with Adam Almquist (2-31—33) ranking second. Almquist ranks sixth among AHL defensemen and ties for the second-highest number of assists (31) among league d-men. Tomas Jurco (13-19—32), who returned from the Wings on Feb. 8 but is currently at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, follows in third and averages a point per game. Cory Emmerton (11-20—31) has sole possession of fourth place. Veteran defenseman Brennan Evans (90) continues to lead the team in penalty minutes by a clear margin, while left wing Triston Grant (77) ranks second.
Approaching Milestones: Center Cory Emmerton needs just one more point to tie Gustav Nyquist for 10th place on the Griffins’ all-time scoring list at 143 points, and he will become the eighth player in franchise history to reach 100 assists as a Griffin if he tallies three more helpers this season. Center Landon Ferraro needs seven more points to become the 28th player to reach 100 points as a Griffin. Goaltender Tom McCollum will become the third goalie to appear in 150 games with the Griffins after one more appearance this season, following in the footsteps of Joey MacDonald and Jimmy Howard. With Petr Mrazek’s next win, he will tie Pokey Reddick for eighth all-time on the Griffins with 35.
Walleye World: The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye (16-29-3-0) extended their losing streak to five games via a crushing 6-1 defeat by the Greenville Road Warriors yesterday afternoon. The Walleye were nearly shut out by the Road Warriors until defenseman Richard Nedomlel cracked open Greenville’s net at 16:56 of the third period, his seventh goal of the season. Goaltender Jared Coreau provided a relief effort for Toledo, making 21 saves on 23 shots. The Walleye will get another shot at breaking their losing streak this evening, when they take on the South Carolina Stingrays on the road at 7 p.m. Toledo (35 pts.) ranks fifth in the North Division, 19 points behind the fourth-place Evansville IceMen.
Fri., Feb. 21 vs. Oklahoma City Barons (22-22-1-6) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 22 vs. Oklahoma City Barons – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m (Fri. and Sat.) and SiriusXM NHL Network Radio - Sirius 207/XM 211 at 7 p.m. (Fri.) Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 8-6-1-1 Overall, 5-2-0-1 Home. Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. First and second of four meetings overall, first and second of two at Van Andel Arena. NHL Affiliation: Edmonton Oilers. Head Coach: Todd Nelson (4th season). Notes: Oklahoma City ranks fourth in the West Division and ties with the Iowa Wild for 19th overall…During his playing career, Barons head coach Todd Nelson was the first player ever signed by the Griffins and tallied 11 goals and 56 assists in 236 games with the club as a defenseman through four seasons. Nelson also spent one season as an assistant coach with Grand Rapids (2002-03)…The Barons have been on a recent tear, posting a 7-2-0-1 record through the last 10 games and are currently on a seven-game point streak…The last time the Barons were at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins narrowly defeated the team, 5-4, to claim the Western Conference Championship during the 2013 Calder Cup Playoffs…Barons defenseman Taylor Fedun (7-19—26) ties for 15th among league defensemen in scoring…Overall, Oklahoma City sports one of the best power play records in the league (20.9%, 5th), while at the same time owning one of the worst penalty killing records (78.9%, 26th)…The Barons have traditionally struggled in the first period, notching 35 goals while allowing 46…Center Anton Lander (16-22—38) leads the team in scoring and center Roman Horak (16-19—35), who originally started the season with the Abbotsford Heat, ranks second.
Sun., Feb. 23 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (23-16-6-5) – Van Andel Arena – 5 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 4:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 63-49-7-5-7 Overall, 36-23-2-1-2 Home. Season Series: 4-3-0-0 Overall, 3-1-0-0 Home. Eighth of 10 meetings overall, fifth of five at Van Andel Arena. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Dean Evason (2nd season). Notes: Milwaukee ranks fourth in the Midwest Division and ranks 16th overall…The Admirals are experiencing point woes similar to the Griffins of late, posting a 3-4-1-2 record through the last 10 games…Milwaukee goaltender Marek Mazanec ranks 16th among league goaltenders with a 2.43 goals against average…Rookie forward Colton Sissons has had a huge impact in the league this season, including participating in the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic last week. Among rookies, Sissons ranks 12th in scoring (19-13—32), ties for second in goals (19) and shorthanded goals (2) and ties for first for game-winning goals (5). He also ranks second on the team in scoring, behind only rookie left wing Miikka Salomaki (12-21—33)…Milwaukee left wing Michael Liambas (160) has tallied the most penalty minutes of any Admiral this season.