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AND THEN THERE WERE THREE

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Griffins defenseman Clay Wilson has been named the CCM Vector/American Hockey League Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 25, the league announced on Monday.

Wilson, a 22-year-old rookie from Sturgeon Lake, Minn., lit the lamp in all three games last week and added an assist (4-1—5), posting the first three-game goal streak by a Griffins defenseman since Philippe Plante’s feat in February 2003. He helped Grand Rapids earn a perfect 3-0 mark and reclaim first place in the AHL’s North Division.

In Wednesday’s 5-0 win at Milwaukee, Wilson became the second Griffins blueliner this season to score two goals in a game (Kyle Quincey, Oct. 29 vs. HOU). One of those was shorthanded, making him the tenth different defenseman in franchise history to score while outmanned. In addition, he became the 11th Griffin – and just the second defenseman (Aris Brimanis in 1998-99) – to score both a power play goal and a shorthanded goal in the same game.

Wilson notched another power play goal in Thursday’s 6-4 win over Hershey, then tallied his second game-winner of the week in dramatic fashion on Friday. With regulation time dwindling in a 1-1 game against Cleveland, he scored a 4-on-4 goal with 2:08 remaining to spark the Griffins to a 4-1 victory.

Signed by the Griffins to a professional tryout on Nov. 26, Wilson has totaled 10 points (5-5—10) in 15 games, with all five goals coming in his last five outings. He is tied for third among Grand Rapids defensemen and tenth among AHL rookie blueliners in scoring, and his three power play goals tie for fifth overall on the Griffins.

Following a four-year career at Michigan Tech (2001-05), Wilson joined Muskegon last spring on its run to the United Hockey League championship. After attending training camp with the Griffins in September, he appeared in 13 games with the Fury this season, totaling 12 points (3-9—12) and a plus-six rating.

Wilson becomes the third Griffin to be named AHL Player of the Week this season - following Jiri Hudler (Oct. 17) and Valtteri Filppula (Nov. 21) – and the first defenseman in the franchise’s 10-year history to earn his league’s player of the week award. In recognition of his achievement, Wilson will receive an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

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