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STARING DOWN THE HOME STRETCH


This Week’s Games
Wed., April 7 Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Fri., April 9 Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS 7 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sat., April 10 GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves 8 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sun., April 11 GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals 6 p.m. WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
END OF REGULAR SEASON

Last Week’s Results
Wed., March 31 Rochester Americans 3 at GRIFFINS 0 31-36-3-4, 69 pts. (7th, North Division) 

Fri., April 2 GRIFFINS 3 at Abbotsford Heat 4 31-37-3-4, 69 pts. (7th) 

Sat., April 3 GRIFFINS 1 at Abbotsford Heat 2 31-38-3-4, 69 pts. (7th) 

Grand Finale: The Griffins have a lot in store for fans this week as they close out their 2009-10 home schedule. Wed. vs. Rochester: For Library Night, fans who 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 can purchase a lower bowl ticket for just $10 - a savings of $7. Limit four tickets per card per person. Wednesday also marks the final Reading Goals redemption game of the season. Fri. vs. Lake Erie – 2009-10 Season Finale presented by Great Lakes Chrysler/Jeep: The ever-popular Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs promotion runs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), the first 2,000 fans will receive a Griffins tote bag courtesy of Great Lakes Dodge Dealers, and all fans can bring their skates for the post-game skate. Ticket deals include special Muskegon Hockey Night pricing, College Night, the D-Zone, and March Mayhem. In addition, the team’s Friday night jerseys will be signed and auctioned off in the Huntington Club following the game.

Lucky Seven?: The Griffins currently rank fourth out of 29 AHL teams in average attendance at 6,961. Should Friday’s home finale sell out (10,834), Grand Rapids would need to draw 4,648 for Wednesday’s game versus Rochester to finish with a plus-7,000 average for the second consecutive season.

March Madness: The Griffins posted a 6-3-1-2 record (0.625) during March, marking their second-best month this season after going 7-3-0-0 (0.700) in November. They had a winning home record in March (2-1-1-1) for the sixth straight season and the 10th time in the last 11 years, while their road record for the month (4-2-0-1) was their first winning mark in March since 2005-06.

Unfamiliar Territory: During Curt Fraser’s seven previous seasons as a head coach in either the AHL or the original IHL, never did his teams miss the playoffs, finish fewer than 12 games above 0.500, or finish lower than third place in their division. Entering the final week of the season, his current Griffins squad sits in seventh place (five points behind Lake Erie with a game in hand) and seven games under 0.500, having been eliminated from playoff contention with Friday’s 4-3 loss at Abbotsford. Grand Rapids will miss the postseason for the second time in three years but just the fourth time in the franchise’s 14 seasons (2010, 2008, 2005, 1999).

On the Plus Side: Francis Pare leads Grand Rapids with a plus-21 rating, a figure over twice that of the next-best Griffin (Tomas Tatar at plus-9). Pare, whose plus-23 rating last season was the highest for a Griffin since 2005-06, is on track to become the first player in franchise history to lead the team in plus/minus in two different seasons, much less consecutive campaigns. His career plus-44 rating currently places him ninth on the Griffins’ all-time list, just three behind eighth-place Ivan Ciernik (plus-47).

In Good Company: Tomas Tatar shows 16 goals and 31 points through 56 games, the exact totals that current Red Wing Darren Helm accumulated in 67 games during his rookie 2007-08 season. Tatar’s 16 goals are tied with Helm and Petr Schastlivy (1999-00) for the ninth-most ever by a Grand Rapids rookie.

Making Their Marks: The performances of several Griffins this season rank them among the team’s top 10 all-time single-season leaders. Among them is Logan Pyett, who is poised to join 12 players from Grand Rapids’ AHL era (2001-10) who appeared in all 80 regular season contests. The others include:

Cory Emmerton – Three unassisted goals (T8th)
Daniel Larsson – 51 games played (T7th), 2,781 minutes played (7th), 22 wins (T8th), 1,233 saves (8th)
Jan Mursak – Six first goals (T10th), 0.167 shooting percentage (T10th)
Jeremy Williams – 12 power play goals (T6th), seven first goals (T8th)

Who’s Hot?: Tomas Tatar netted a two-goal game for the first time in his pro career on Friday in Abbotsford…Brad May has goals in each of the last two games.

Youthful Enthusiasm: Defenseman Brian Lashoff, who totaled 10 points (2-8—10) in 14 combined regular season and playoff games for the Griffins as an 18 year old last season, earned an assist in his first game back with the club on Friday…Willie Coetzee and Brandon Wong made their pro debuts on Saturday in Abbotsford, with Wong picking up his first assist on Brad May’s third-period goal.

Playhouse Raffle Ends April 9: The winner of the season-long raffle for the Griffins/Van Andel Arena playhouse, a benefit for the Griffins Youth Foundation, will be drawn and announced during the second intermission of this Friday’s home finale. This spectacular custom-built playhouse, donated by Out on a Limb Playhouses of Grand Haven, includes amenities such as a 22” HD television, a Sony PlayStation 3 game system with EA Sports’ NHL 2010 video game, two stadium-style seats, a custom-made bench modeled after those in the Griffins' locker room, an “ice-rink” floor with dasher boards, a Griffins hanging scoreboard light, a built-in street hockey net and much more! The winner will also receive free delivery and site preparation/landscaping within 50 miles of Grand Rapids. Raffle tickets are available for $5 each or five for $20 and may be purchased at the playhouse display in the Van Andel Arena lobby before any Griffins game, on the concourse during intermission, or at griffinshockey.com/playhouse. Online sales will end at noon on Friday, while in-arena sales will end at the conclusion of the first intermission that night.

Scouting Report

Wed., April 7 vs. Rochester Americans (43-31-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 24-18-1-1-1 Overall, 13-7-1-0-1 Home. Season Series: 2-3-0-0 Overall, 0-2-0-0 Home. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Benoit Groulx (2nd season). Notes: Second-place Rochester has a four-point lead on Abbotsford in the race for home-ice advantage in the North Division Semifinals…Former Griffin Clay Wilson, named last week to the AHL Second All-Star Team, ranks second among league defensemen with 60 points (14-46—60)…The Americans rank fifth in scoring (3.17 per game) but are 19th in goals allowed (3.03).

Fri., April 9 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (33-36-1-7) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 13-8-1-3 Overall, 8-4-0-0 Home. Season Series: 3-3-0-1 Overall, 2-1-0-0 Home. Eighth and final meeting overall, fourth and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (1st season). Notes: Since losing 8-6 to the Griffins in their first meeting of the season on Nov. 8, the Monsters have earned points in six straight clashes with Grand Rapids…The Griffins have allowed five or more goals in five of their seven games against the Monsters this season, including a 6-5 shootout loss in their most recent meeting on Feb. 28 in Cleveland…Darren Haydar, the Griffins’ leading scorer last season, currently ranks second on Lake Erie with 61 points (22-39—61)…Three of the last six meetings have been decided in a shootout...The sixth-place Monsters will miss the playoffs for the third time in their three seasons.

Sat., April 10 at Chicago Wolves (47-23-1-6) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
TV: My50 WPWR (Chicago) at 8 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 45-33-2-3-2 Overall, 22-20-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 1-4-0-0 Overall, 0-2-0-0 Road. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Rosemont. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: Don Lever (1st season). Notes: The Wolves have won four straight meetings against the Griffins since Grand Rapids’ 5-4 win on Nov. 6, with the last three victories coming by a combined 15-5 margin…Since changing coaching staffs after their 1-5 start, Chicago is 46-18-1-6 (0.697)…A Wolves player ranks among the AHL’s top seven in goals (Brett Sterling, 34, 6th), assists (Jason Krog, 60, 2nd), points (Krog, 74, T7th), goals against average (Peter Mannino, 2.22, 4th) and save percentage (Mannino, 0.923, T2nd)…The West Division leaders are three points from clinching the division title.

Sun., April 11 at Milwaukee Admirals (39-28-2-7) – Bradley Center – 6 p.m.
Radio
: WOOD 1300 AM at 5:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 50-37-7-5-4 Overall, 20-21-5-4-3 Road. Season Series: 3-2-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (3rd season). Notes: With a victory, the Griffins would win a season series against the Admirals for the first time since 2005-06…Grand Rapids’ 3-2 win at the Bradley Center on March 25 broke its 0-7-1-0 skid in Suds City…The Griffins scored five third-period goals in their 6-3 win over the Ads at home on March 26, tying their season high for a single period…The Admirals currently occupy the fourth and final playoff spot in the West Division, three points ahead of Peoria…Milwaukee netminder Mark Dekanich ranks seventh in the AHL with a 2.40 GAA.

Griffins Game Rewinds

April 3 at ABB - 1-2 L
WOOD Radio Highlights: Heat goal   May goal
Official Game Report

April 2 at ABB - 3-4 L
AHLlive Video Highlights
WOOD Radio Highlights: Tatar goal 1   Tatar goal 2   Heat GW goal
Official Game Report

March 31 vs. RCH - 0-3 L
AHLlive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews: Vigilante   Fraser
Post-Game Sound Bites: Williams   Vigilante   Fraser
Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

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