Danny Groulx (left) and Drew MacIntyre
This Week’s Games
Thu., Oct. 11 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Sat., Oct. 13 - GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose - 8:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Last Week’s Result
Sat., Oct. 6 - GRIFFINS 3 at Lake Erie Monsters 2 - 1-0-0-0, 2 pts. (T1st, North Division)
Familiar Place, Unfamiliar Faces: This Thursday and Saturday the Griffins will battle Manitoba in their first visits of the season to Winnipeg’s MTS Centre, where they dropped Games 6 and 7 of the North Division Semifinals to the Moose last spring. Only seven members of Grand Rapids’ current roster – Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard, Jon Insana, Jakub Kindl, Evan McGrath, Ryan Oulahen and Jamie Tardif – played in that series.
A Fine Start: The Griffins opened their 2007-08 campaign in style on Saturday in Cleveland, rallying in the third period for a 3-2 victory over the Lake Erie Monsters. Trailing 2-1 with less than nine minutes remaining, Grand Rapids scored the equalizer off the stick of Jonathan Ericsson at 11:13 before winning it on a goal by Ryan Oulahen with just 2:55 remaining. Jimmy Howard out-dueled Colorado Avalanche netminder Jose Theodore, making 28 saves on the night to Theodore’s 21.
Two Times the Fun: Several Griffins had strong showings in Saturday’s opener, as Ryan Oulahen (1-1—2) and Mark Cullen (1-1—2) each finished with two points, while that pair, plus Carl Corazzini, Jonathan Ericsson and Tom Galvin, all registered plus-two ratings.
For Openers: With Saturday’s win at Lake Erie, Grand Rapids improved to 9-2-1-0 all time both in season openers and road openers. The Griffins have earned points in nine straight road openers (8-0-1-0) and in five consecutive season openers (4-0-1-0).
First Impressions: Mike Stothers became the fourth head coach in Griffins history to win his debut, joining Dave Allison (1996), Guy Charron (1998) and Bruce Cassidy (2000).
No Mercy for the Wounded: The Griffins are undefeated the last three times they’ve faced an NHL goalie during a rehab assignment in the AHL (Oct. 6, 2007 – Griffins 3 at Lake Erie 2 – Colorado’s Jose Theodore, 21 saves; Jan. 28, 2006 - Griffins 4 at Peoria 2 – St. Louis’ Patrick Lalime, 27 saves; Jan. 9, 2004 - Utah 2 at Griffins 2 – Dallas’ Ron Tugnutt, 24 saves).
We Hate to Disappoint: Saturday’s crowd of 15,132 at Quicken Loans Arena was the largest to witness a Griffins game since March 19, 2005, when 15,342 fans at Chicago’s Allstate Arena watched Grand Rapids take a 4-3 win over the Wolves.
Oddity of the Week: Jimmy Howard and Bridgeport’s Joey MacDonald – the Griffins’ all-time leader with 88 wins – posted identical stat lines during their teams’ 3-2 road wins on Saturday. Each stopped 28 of 30 shots over 60 minutes of action, with MacDonald’s victory coming at Hartford’s expense.
Milestones: Saturday marked the 300th AHL game of Mark Cullen’s career. His goal and assist gave him 241 points (88-153—241) in his six years in the league…Jimmy Howard recorded his 50th pro victory (49-27-5 with Griffins, 1-2-0 with Red Wings)…Garrett Stafford’s next game will be the 300th of his AHL/pro career…Mark Hartigan needs three goals for 150 as a pro.
A Long Time Coming: After beginning the season with three straight road games, the Griffins will finally make their Van Andel Arena debut against the Rockford IceHogs next Saturday, Oct 20, marking the latest date for a home opener in franchise history. Grand Rapids will kick off the “It’s Showtime!” entertainment series and try to extend its perfect streak of home-opening sellouts to 12 seasons. Tickets for all 40 regular season home games can be purchased in person at The Zone at Van Andel Arena and all Star Tickets Plus locations (including Meijer stores), by phone through Star Tickets Plus at 800-585-3737, or via the web at griffinshockey.com. Full season tickets, five-, 10- and 20-game plans, and group ticket packages are available through the Griffins office at (800) 2-HOCKEY.
Thu., Oct. 11 at Manitoba Moose – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 13 at Manitoba Moose – MTS Centre – 8:30 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 8:10 p.m. each night. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: First and second of eight meetings overall, first and second of four in Winnipeg. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 32-17-1-0-7 Overall, 15-10-0-0-2 Road. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Scott Arniel (2nd season). Notes: Manitoba is the only AHL team without a game under its belt, as Thursday’s meeting with the Griffins will mark its season opener…The Moose have a pair of former Griffins in defenseman Danny Groulx (2002-05), who won the Calder Cup last season with Hamilton, and goalie Drew MacIntyre (2004-06), who led Manitoba to a 4-3 series win over Grand Rapids in last spring’s North Division Semifinals...The Griffins’ Adam Keefe was acquired in a trade with Manitoba late last season but did not play in the playoffs due to a severe hand laceration.