This Week’s Games
Tue., Nov. 29 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Dec. 2 - Toronto Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Dec. 3 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 23 - Hamilton Bulldogs 2 at GRIFFINS 5 - 7-9-1-0, 15 pts. (4th, North Division)
Fri., Nov. 25 - Oklahoma City Barons 5 at GRIFFINS 4 - 7-10-1-0, 15 pts. (4th)
Sun., Nov. 27 - Oklahoma City Barons 5 at GRIFFINS 4 - 7-11-1-0, 15 pts. (4th)
Thankful for Hockey: Griffins fans were treated to a Thanksgiving week full of hockey, as the Griffins finished off a season-high five-game homestand on Sunday versus Oklahoma City. The Griffins opened up the week with Wednesday’s 5-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs before losing 5-4 to league-leading Oklahoma City on both Friday and Sunday. The Griffins will close out the month of November on Tuesday in Toronto before returning home for back-to-back games against Toronto on Friday and Chicago on Saturday. All games start at 7 p.m.
Salute to Heroes and Scout Night: Fans who attend this Friday’s contest versus the Toronto Marlies can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last, and Free Ride Friday on The Rapid, with complimentary fare to and from the game by showing a ticket to that night’s game. Saturday’s game versus Chicago will feature Salute to Heroes and Scout Night. The Griffins will wear special jerseys as local heroes will be honored throughout the night. Firefighters, police and paramedics are encouraged to take advantage of special offers to attend. The first 2,500 fans in attendance will receive a free patriotic-themed rally towel, courtesy of Centennial Securities. In addition, all scout groups of 10 or more can take advantage of special ticket savings with $11 Upper Level tickets or $14 Lower Level Faceoff tickets (or $16 with a $3 concession voucher). Every scout in attendance will receive a jersey patch. Before the game, scouts can take part in the first-ever scout scavenger hunt. Post-game activities include a Huntington Bank Post-Game Autograph Session, as select players will sign autographs from the Griffins bench.
Home on the Road?: When they face off against the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday, the Griffins will be playing just their third road game in November, having played eight games at home this month after just two in October. The Griffins have a better winning percentage on the road (0.444) than at home (0.350) this season, which places them among 22 of 30 AHL teams that have a better winning percentage on the road this season. That’s good news for a Griffins team that will play six of its next nine games away from Van Andel Arena.
Scoring Touch: After averaging just two goals per game through the first eight games of the season, the Griffins’ offense has clicked recently, averaging 3.86 goals over the past seven games and scoring at least four goals on five occasions.
North Division Battle: The Griffins continue to be successful within their own division, posting a 5-2 record against North Division rivals while outscoring them 25-13. They will take on division-leading Toronto twice this week, having already defeated the Marlies 3-2 in their home opener on Oct. 14.
Déjà Vu: Oklahoma City has won 15 of 21 games this season, but the Griffins came close twice this weekend to beating the Barons, something only six teams (including Grand Rapids) have done this season. The Griffins, who previously beat the Barons 3-2 in a shootout on Oct. 22, lost to the Barons 5-4 on both Friday and Sunday. Friday’s game saw the Griffins attempt to rally from a 5-2 deficit with less than six minutes left in the game, when goals from Chris Conner and Jamie Johnson brought them within one goal. On Sunday, the Griffins outshot the Barons 36-21 but fell by the same score in a tightly-contested affair that never saw either team lead by more than one goal.
Quick Break: Captain Garnet Exelby will return to the Griffins’ lineup on Tuesday after sitting out Sunday’s game versus Oklahoma City due to a one-game suspension as a consequence of a spearing incident in Friday’s contest against the Barons.
Fabian Frenzy: Not many hockey players had a busier week than Fabian Brunnstrom. The 26-year-old left wing was assigned to Grand Rapids by Detroit last Tuesday and was recalled late Wednesday after picking up an assist in the Griffins’ 5-2 win over Hamilton. He was assigned again on Thursday and picked up another assist in Friday’s 5-4 loss versus Oklahoma City before being recalled on Saturday. He was assigned for a third time on Sunday morning and played in that day’s 5-4 loss versus the Barons before being recalled to Detroit again on Monday.
Trio to Toledo: The Griffins made several roster moves on Monday in addition to seeing Fabian Brunnstrom recalled by Detroit. The Red Wings reassigned forwards Andrej Nestrasil and Trevor Parkes and defenseman Gleason Fournier from the Griffins to the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Nestrasil tallied three points (2-1—3) in 11 games with Grand Rapids after being reassigned to the Griffins on Oct. 19. Parkes has spent the whole season with the team, recording one assist in 14 games. Fournier rejoined the Griffins after being recalled on Saturday and recorded his first AHL assist in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Oklahoma City Barons. Additionally, the Griffins recalled forward Adam Estoclet, who has 13 points (5-8—13) in 12 games since being assigned to Toledo on Oct. 31. He is tied for second in the ECHL with a plus-12 rating.
League Leaders: The Griffins have several players who sit near the top of AHL leaderboards. Chris Conner is tied for fourth in league scoring with 23 points (7-16—23) in 19 games. He is followed closely by linemate Gustav Nyquist, who is tied for 10th among all AHLers and second among rookies with 20 points (6-14—20) in 19 games. Center Jamie Johnson is tied for eighth in the AHL with 10 goals after recording 12 in 78 games during the 2010-11 season. Captain Garnet Exelby is second in the AHL with 89 penalty minutes, while rookie Mitch Callahan is third among rookies with 41. Defenseman Doug Janik is tied for 12th among the league’s blueliners with 11 points (3-8—11) in 19 games. Despite being out of the lineup since Nov. 5, goaltender Joey MacDonald is still among the AHL’s top goaltenders with a 2.17 goals against average (T5th) and a 0.930 save percentage (5th).
Who’s Hot?: The Griffins are starting to see offensive contributions all throughout the lineup. Francis Pare is currently riding a three-game point streak (1-2—3), with six points (2-4—6) in his past seven games...Doug Janik saw a four-game assist streak snapped on Sunday, but he had totaled nine points (2-7—9) in his previous seven games…Brendan Smith has assists in two straight games after returning from Detroit, giving him five assists in his last five games overall…Gustav Nyquist has points in four of the team’s last five games and 11 points (2-9—11) in his last eight games…Joakim Andersson has four goals in his past five games…Tomas Tatar is beginning to heat up with three multi-point games and seven points (1-6—7) overall during the Griffins’ five-game homestand…Jamie Johnson has nine goals and three assists in his last 11 games.
Secondary Scoring: Although the Griffins’ top three scorers in Chris Conner, Gustav Nyquist and Jamie Johnson were held off the scoresheet, the team was able to put up five goals on the Hamilton Bulldogs in a 5-2 win on Wednesday. After not scoring a goal in 37 games with the team last season, Brian Lashoff scored his second goal in four games with an unassisted, highlight-reel rush to open up the scoring. Grand Rapids won despite trailing heading into the third period for the first time this season, aided by captain Garnet Exelby’s first goal as a Griffin just 42 seconds into the third period. Landon Ferraro added his second professional goal to give the Griffins a 3-2 lead, Mitch Callahan provided the insurance with his first professional tally and Francis Pare sealed it with his second goal of the season.
Redemption Wednesday: All fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 5-2 win over the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Griffins’ next Wednesday contest, Dec. 14 versus Rockford. Tickets can be redeemed at The Zone during business hours (M-F 10-6; Sat. 10-12) and at the box office before the Dec. 14 game.
Milestone Watch: Francis Pare’s goal against the Hamilton Bulldogs on Wednesday was his 66th as a Griffin, moving him out of a tie with Jiri Hudler and into sole possession of seventh place in franchise history in goals. He is just three away from tying Matt Ellis for sixth. The fourth-year Griffin is also one assist from tying Ellis for eighth all-time with 84 assists and is four points away from tying Ellis for seventh in franchise history in that category…Garnet Exelby recorded his 600th AHL penalty minute on Friday versus Oklahoma City and is just two minutes away from 1,200 as a pro…Tomas Tatar recorded his 100th point as a Griffin with his three-point performance versus Oklahoma City on Sunday…Chris Conner is just three points shy of 200 in the AHL and five goals shy of 100 as a pro...Joakim Andersson's next game will be his 100th as a Griffin.
Tue., Nov. 29 at Toronto Marlies (12-5-2-1) – Ricoh Coliseum – 7 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 2 vs. Toronto Marlies – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. both Tuesday and Friday. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through ESPN961.com. All-Time Series: 23-18-1-1 Overall, 9-11-0-1 Road, 14-7-1-0 Home. Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road, 1-0-0-0 Home. Second and third of eight meetings overall, first of four in Toronto, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Dallas Eakins (3rd season). Notes: The Griffins defeated the Marlies in the teams’ first meeting this season, winning 3-2 in their home opener on Oct. 14…The Marlies are without two of their top four scorers in Joe Colborne (10-9—19 in 13 games) and Joey Crabb (7-8—15) in 9 games, as well as defenseman Keith Aulie and starting goaltender Ben Scrivens, who has a 4-1 record and 2.41 GAA. All are on recall to the Toronto Maple Leafs…In the absence of Scrivens, the Marlies have seen excellent goaltending from rookie Mark Owuya, who is second in the AHL with a 1.73 GAA and 0.937 save percentage…The Marlies are led in scoring by veteran Mike Zigomanis, who has 20 points (4-16—20) in 20 games to tie for 10th in AHL scoring…Toronto is one of the hottest teams in the AHL, currently on a six-game winning streak and seven-game point streak (6-0-0-1)…They are the only team in the AHL to be unbeaten during regulation at home, with a 6-0-1-0 record at Ricoh Coliseum…The Marlies have the AHL’s top penalty kill, with an 89.8% effectiveness on the season…Marlies forward Marcel Mueller is currently riding an AHL-best five-game assist streak, while Zigomanis has an AHL-best seven-game home point streak, with points in all of the Marlies’ home games this season…Griffins defenseman Brian Lashoff is the younger brother of Marlies blueliner Matt Lashoff…Marlies assistant coach Derek King played for the Griffins from 1999-01 and was a player/assistant coach from 2002-04.
Sat., Dec. 3 vs. Chicago Wolves (9-7-0-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m.. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through ESPN961.com. All-Time Series: 48-37-2-3-2 Overall, 24-15-2-2-2 Home. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Craig MacTavish (1st season). Notes: The Griffins split the 2010-11 season series with the Wolves, earning a 3-3 record that included the record-setting 10-8 win over the Wolves on Nov. 27, 2010…The Wolves are led in scoring by former Griffin Darren Haydar, who is tied for 10th in AHL scoring with 20 points (7-13—20) in 18 games. Haydar recorded 80 points (31-49—80) in 79 games for the Griffins in 2008-09…Chicago switched NHL affiliates from the Atlanta Thrashers to Vancouver Canucks in the offseason…Wolves head coach Craig MacTavish is the only AHL head coach to have more NHL head coaching experience than the Griffins’ Curt Fraser…MacTavish accumulated a 301-252-57-56 record as the head coach of the Edmonton Oilers from 2000-09…Wolves goaltender Matt Climie ranks among AHL leaders with a 2.34 GAA (12th) and 0.935 save percentage (3rd)…Chicago defenseman Kevin Cannauton is tied for first among AHL blueliners with six goals…Chicago has taken the second-fewest penalty minutes in the AHL with 233, behind only Milwaukee…The Wolves’’ penalty killing ranks fourth in the AHL at 86.5%...Chicago averages the third-fewest shots in the league (27.61) while allowing the fifth-most (33)…The Wolves are currently riding a five-game road winning streak.