02/18/2008 1:00 PM
Last Week’s Results
Crank it Up: Grand Rapids, which will conclude a five-game home stand this week with contests on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, continues to reside in fifth place in the North Division race, eight points in back of Syracuse and nine behind Hamilton in the chase for the third (and most likely final) playoff spot in the division. The Griffins began February with six straight games against teams with losing records, but last Saturday’s 6-4 loss to Milwaukee started a month-ending stretch of seven consecutive games against foes with winning ledgers. This week’s four opponents boast a combined 0.571 winning percentage.
Family Reunion: The Griffins will welcome five former members of their organization back to Van Andel Arena on Tuesday when the San Antonio Rampage pay their only visit of the season. The Rampage are coached by Greg Ireland, who led Grand Rapids to a 109-65-8-10 mark from Feb. 2005 through the 2006-07 campaign. In addition, San Antonio has four former Griffins on its roster, including Nate DiCasmirro (2005-06), Bryan Helmer (2004-06), Adam Keefe (2006-08) and Peter Vandermeer (2004-05), who will miss the contest due to an AHL suspension. Fans can visit griffinshockey.com to print a coupon redeemable at the box office for up to four tickets to Tuesday’s game for only $5 (upper bowl) or $10 (lower bowl) each.
Moose Tracks: Friday’s game against Manitoba will feature a visit from the Zooperstars and the return of Dollar Dogs, Dollar Beers. From 6-8 p.m. that night, fans can visit Van Andel Arena concession stands to purchase $1 hot dogs and $1 beers (21 oz. domestic drafts, with ID). A host of ticket promotions include the Wendy’s Family Four Pack, Bono’s Pit BBQ Student Night, Library Night and the popular web coupon. Visit griffinshockey.com for complete details. For Saturday’s rematch, Cody Linley – a.k.a. Jake Ryan from Hannah Montana – will meet fans and sign autographs before the game, thanks to Lake Michigan Credit Union. Fans can bring their skates and take to the ice after the game for the O’Charley’s Post-Game O’pen Skate.
On the Tube: Saturday’s game against Manitoba will be televised live throughout Michigan at 7 p.m. on Comcast Local. The telecast marks the fourth of six Griffins contests scheduled for a Comcast network this season, with remaining broadcasts set for March 29 vs. Rochester and April 11 vs. Manitoba.
Hurray for Howard: Making his first NHL start since Dec. 13, 2005, Jimmy Howard stopped 30-of-31 shots and earned 3rd Star honors in Detroit’s 1-0 loss at Dallas on Sunday. The AHL All-Star played in his first three games of the season with the Red Wings last week, posting a spectacular 1.31 GAA and a 0.950 save percentage.
It’s Been Such a Long Time: The 10 goals tallied by the Griffins in their two weekend contests were the most they’ve scored in consecutive games since earning back-to-back 5-3 wins on Oct. 24 at Hamilton and Oct. 27 at Peoria. The output also marked their highest total for consecutive home games in more than a year, dating to a 6-3 victory over Toronto on Jan. 27, 2007 and a subsequent 4-3 triumph over Syracuse on Feb. 7.
Kudos: Mark Hartigan has points in five of the last six games (3-3—6)…Cleve Kinley notched his first AHL points with two assists during Friday’s 6-3 win over the Monsters…Mark Cullen (3-3—6) and Darren Helm (1-3—4) each have points in four of the last six outings.
If I Could Turn Back Time: Excluding a 10-game winless stretch (0-8-0-2) from Oct. 28-Nov. 23, Grand Rapids has posted a 21-18-2-3 mark (0.534) in its other 44 contests.
Attendance on the Rise: Saturday’s sellout crowd of 10,834 was the Griffins’ first since their Oct. 20 home opener. Combined with Friday’s throng of 10,062 and a crowd of 9,802 on Jan. 26, Grand Rapids has welcomed more than 10,000 fans in back-to-back home games and at least 9,000 fans in three straight home contests for the first time since concluding the 2006-07 season with three straight sellouts at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins’ attendance of 163,526 through 26 home games (6,289 avg., eighth in AHL) represents a year-to-date increase of 8.1 percent over 2006-07, when the Griffins eventually finished with their largest attendance in four years. Last season, Grand Rapids welcomed 151,318 fans through its first 26 home games.
For a Good Cause: During last Saturday’s game, the Griffins wore special jerseys with a stylized “G” crest that were auctioned off afterwards, raising $8,225 for the Griffins Youth Foundation. Darren McCarty’s jersey garnered a high bid of $1,075.
Hockey Day in Michigan Recap: In celebration of last Saturday’s Hockey Day in Michigan, the Griffins hosted the inaugural Cross-Ice Hockey Jamboree at Van Andel Arena. Approximately 250 players and 34 teams from nine West Michigan youth hockey associations played nearly 70 cross-ice games throughout the afternoon, making it the largest Hockey Day in Michigan event according to USA Hockey.
Red Wings Jersey Auction: Twenty-three autographed, game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys are being made available for public bidding throughout the 2007-08 season through exclusive auctions that begin at griffinshockey.com and conclude after select Griffins home games. Online bidding, which begins at $250 per jersey, will establish the starting bids for silent auctions that will take place on the arena concourse during Griffins games. Subsequently, the highest bids from the silent auctions will serve as the starting bids for live post-game auctions. Online right now are the Kris Draper and Jiri Hudler jerseys, with silent and live auctions set for this Friday. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Tue., Feb. 19 vs. San Antonio Rampage (29-15-3-7) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Fri., Feb. 22 vs. Manitoba Moose (28-22-2-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 24 at Quad City Flames (26-21-2-6) – I Wireless Center – 6:05 p.m.
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