This Week’s Games
Wed., Dec 19 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Dec. 21 - Abbotsford Heat at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Dec. 22 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Dec. 14 - Peoria Rivermen 3 at GRIFFINS 0 - 13-8-1-1, 28 pts. (T1st, Midwest Division)
Sun., Dec. 16 - GRIFFINS 0 at Toronto Marlies 5 - 13-9-1-1, 28 pts. (T1st)
Power Outage: The Griffins remain tied for first place in the Midwest Division this week despite dropping both of their games last week. Friday’s contest versus the Peoria Rivermen was scoreless for the first 50 minutes and 59 seconds, before Adam Cracknell got the visitors on the board midway through the third period. Peoria got an insurance goal from Tyler Shattock and eventually an empty netter from Jaden Schwartz, while the Griffins were unable to solve Jake Allen on 33 shots and fell 3-0. On Sunday afternoon, Grand Rapids came out strong while looking to tie a franchise record with their seventh straight road win by outshooting the Toronto Marlies 11-9 in the first period. However, five penalties to the Griffins during the middle frame paved the way for the Marlies to take a 3-0 lead en route to blanking the Griffins 5-0. Friday’s contest marked the first shutout on Grand Rapids this season, and Sunday’s loss represented the first time the Griffins were blanked on consecutive outings since Nov. 17-19, 2010 (3-0 L at Lake Erie and 5-0 L vs. Houston).
Holiday Homestand: This week marks the beginning of the Griffins’ longest homestand of the season, in addition to being the busiest stretch of the busiest home month. Grand Rapids had just two games last week – Friday versus Peoria and Sunday at Toronto – which kicked off a stretch of five games in nine days (Dec. 14-22). Sunday’s game marked the final road contest of 2012, as the team will open up a season-high seven-game homestand (Dec. 19-Jan. 4) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. versus Rochester. The Griffins will also host Abbotsford on Friday and Chicago on Saturday (both games at 7 p.m.) before beginning the holiday break. Grand Rapids plays 10 home games during December as part of a 15-game stretch comprised of 13 home games (Nov. 24-Jan. 4).
End of the Road: Grand Rapids saw its AHL-best road winning streak (Nov. 3-Dec. 7) end at six games after falling 5-0 to Toronto on Sunday. It marked the team’s first road loss in over a month, since falling 3-2 to San Antonio on Nov. 2. The run serves as the second longest in the AHL this season, behind a nine-game winning streak by Syracuse (Oct. 19-Nov. 25), in addition to being the second longest in franchise history, outdone by only a seven-game road winning streak from Oct. 16-Dec. 3, 2004. The Griffins are still one of the best teams away from home in the AHL, as their 8-3 record gives them the fourth-best road winning percentage (0.727), behind only Springfield (9-2-1-0, 0.792), Charlotte (10-2-0-2, 0.786) and Syracuse (11-3-0-2, 0.750). Additionally, the club is tied with Springfield for the fewest losses away from home this season (3). Grand Rapids won’t have a chance to improve on that mark until Jan. 5 at Chicago, as it plays seven straight games at home to start 2013.
Tight Squeeze: The Griffins still sit atop the Midwest Division, even with Rockford at 28 points and holding three games in hand, despite dropping both games last week. The IceHogs weren’t able to break the tie for the top spot, having gone winless in their last four games (0-3-0-1). Despite that, the clubs are facing heat from the rest of the division, as all five teams are separated by just two points. Trailing the Griffins by one point are Chicago, which has won three straight, and Milwaukee, which has taken six of its last nine contests. Catching up quickly is a Peoria club that has won four straight games and sits two points out of first place. The Rivermen recently posted a 4-1 record during a five-game road trip, including two victories in Grand Rapids (Dec. 5 and Dec. 14).
Winning Wednesday: If the Griffins beat the Rochester Americans on Amway Winning Wednesday, all fans in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game, Jan. 23 vs. Oklahoma City. The box office will be open following the game for redemptions. Fans may also redeem their stubs at The Zone during business hours (M-F 10-6; Sat. 10-2) and at the box office the night of Jan. 23. Additionally, the first 300 fans to visit the Amway table in Section A will receive a gift. Wednesday’s Hockey Night specials will also be in effect at Arena District restaurants before and after the game. For every Wednesday home game from December through March, show your Griffins ticket at 17 Arena District restaurants and bars -- including Peppino's Sports Grille, home of the Griffins' Wednesday post-game parties with the players -- to enjoy Happy Hour specials before the game and Hockey Night specials afterward. Visit griffinshockey.com/hockeynight for a list of participating establishments. Fans can also take advantage of a buy-one, get-one-free deal on a 16 oz. Pepsi all game long, and enjoy Library Night specials ($7 off the price of a Lower Level Faceoff ticket when fans present their Grand Rapids Public Library card or Kent District Library card at the box office or The Zone). Finally, children with Griff’s Reading Goals bookmarks who have completed the required three hours of reading can redeem their bookmark for two free upper level tickets to the game.
Weekend Promos: Friday’s contest versus Abbotsford includes several fan-favorite promotions, including Dollar Beers and Hot Dogs and College Night, which allows college students to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden’s. Every Friday night is also a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night, where fans can have $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served directly to their seats, and Free Ride Friday, permitting any fan to enjoy complimentary fare on the Rapid busses by showing their ticket to that night’s game. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/dzone to order D-Zone tickets, and visit ridetherapid.org for information on bus schedules, routes and maps. The first 2,500 fans through the turnstiles of Saturday’s game against Chicago will receive a Griffins Knit Hat, courtesy of Centennial Securities. Fans can also bring their skates to the rink and take to the ice after the game for the post-game open skate, presented by J&H Family Stores, while Chad Billins, Luke Glendening and Max Nicastro will sign autographs following the game from the team’s bench, presented by Huntington Bank. Children with Griff’s Reading Goals bookmarks who have completed the required three hours of reading can redeem their bookmark for two free upper level tickets to the game.
Grand Debut: The Griffins on Monday recalled forward Luke Glendening from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. The East Grand Rapids native is slated to make his Griffins debut this Wednesday at 7 p.m. against the Rochester Americans at Van Andel Arena, which would make him the first player from Greater Grand Rapids to ever play for the team. The 23-year-old Glendening, who signed a one-year contract with Grand Rapids on June 19, stands third on Toledo with 21 points (14-7—21) in 27 games. A former captain at the University of Michigan, he leads the Walleye and is tied for eighth in the ECHL in both goals (14) and plus minus (+13). Glendening made his AHL debut last season by playing three games with the Providence Bruins.
Shuffle the Deck: In addition to Grand Rapids adding forward Luke Glendening on Monday, the Red Wings reassigned defenseman Gleason Fournier and forward Andrej Nestrasil to the Griffins from the Toledo Walleye. Fournier has skated in three games with the Griffins this season and nine games with Toledo, registering a plus-four rating and four penalty minutes with the Walleye. Nestrasil ranks second on Toledo in scoring with 24 points (7-17—24) in 27 contests, which includes an active eight-game scoring streak that has seen him rack up 11 points (1-10—11).
League Leaders: Petr Mrazek is tied for 10th in the AHL with a 2.39 goals against average and ranks 17th with a 0.915 save percentage. He’s also tied for the league lead with a 1.000 shootout save percentage…Tomas Tatar leads the Griffins with 11 goals, which ties him for 16th in the AHL, while Chad Billins leads the Griffins with 15 assists, which also ties for 16th in the circuit. Both players have also made contributions on the power play, as Tatar’s five power play goals are ties for sixth in the AHL and Billins’ eight power play assists tie for 12th…Landon Ferraro is the lone AHL skater with four shorthanded points and is one of 12 players (along with teammate Riley Sheahan) with multiple shorthanded goals.
All-Time Griffins: Several Griffins players have climbed several spots on the franchise’s all-time leaderboards this season…Tom McCollum tied Daniel Larsson for fifth-place among Griffins goaltenders with 93 games played, having already passed his former teammate in minutes (4992:07) and saves (2,224). McCollum now ranks fourth all time with 5141:01 minutes played and 2,237 saves, trailing only Joey MacDonald, Jimmy Howard and Marc Lamothe in those categories…Tomas Tatar is tied with Kip Miller at 75 goals and can move into fourth place in Griffins history with his next tally. Tatar also ranks seventh with 93 assists and 168 points, is tied for fifth with 12 game-winning goals and places seventh with 558 shots, having passed Darryl Bootland (550) in that department last week. Francis Pare is the Griffins’ active leading scorer after passing Miller (208) in points this month. He ranks among the team’s all-time leaders with 319 games played (3rd), 89 goals (2nd), 120 assists (5th), 209 points (4th), 12 game-winning goals (T5th) and 750 shots (5th).
Milestones: Tomas Tatar is six points from 200 as a pro, six assists from 100 in the AHL, one goal from passing Kip Miller for fourth-place all time and three goals from tying Jamie Tardif for third place…Joakim Andersson is three goals from 50 as a pro and five games from 300 in his pro career…Brennan Evans sits nine penalty minutes shy of 1,400 in his professional career...Tom McCollum is two wins shy of tying Pokey Reddick for seventh in franchise history with 35 victories.
Walleye Watch: The Griffins raided Toledo’s cupboard this week, recalling three of the five players with Griffins connections who were skating with the Walleye. Andrej Nestrasil was reassigned to Grand Rapids by Detroit after racking up points in eight straight games, ranking second on the team with 24 points (7-17—24) in 27 games. Luke Glendening was recalled by the Griffins, having tallied points in six of his last seven games. The East Grand Rapids, Mich., native was scoreless in his first four games with the Walleye this season before tallying 14 goals in a 20-game span (Oct. 27-Dec. 8). Gleason Fournier, who has a plus-four rating and four penalty minutes in nine games with the Walleye, was also reassigned to the Griffins by the Red Wings. Still in Toledo are Willie Coetzee, who is riding a five-game point streak (6-2—8) and leads Toledo with 26 points (14-12—26) in 27 games, and Jordan Pearce, who ranks among the top goaltenders in the ECHL with a 2.40 goals against average (T5th), a 0.909 save percentage (10th) and eight wins (T14th). The Walleye currently hold a three-point lead on the Cincinnati Cyclones for the top spot in the North Division and are in action this week with back-to-back games against the Greenville Road Warriors on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.
Wed., Dec. 19 vs. Rochester Americans (12-9-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 32-22-1-1-3 Overall, 19-7-1-0-2 Home. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Second of two meetings overall, only meeting in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Buffalo Sabres. Head Coach: Ron Rolston (2nd season). Notes: Marcus Foligno leads Rochester in scoring with 24 points (8-16—24) in 24 games, which ties for 13th in the AHL…Amerks forward Brian Flynn is tied for 11th in rookie scoring with 17 points (9-8—17) in 22 games…Rochester’s T.J. Brennan is tied for fourth among the league’s defensemen with 20 points (9-11—20) in 24 games…The Americans are tied for third in the AHL with four shorthanded goals…Rochester has one of the best offenses in the AHL, averaging 3.42 goals per game, but they allow the sixth-most in the league at 3.17…Rochester forward Frederick Roy is the son of Hockey Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy…Amerks forward Evan Rankin had a goal and an assist for Grand Rapids in 2010-11 and ranks sixth on Rochester in scoring with 13 points (5-8—13) in 19 games…Griffins defenseman Nathan Paetsch was a member of the Americans from 2003-06 and briefly in 2010-11, having been a member of Buffalo’s organization from 2003-10…Grand Rapids forward Triston Grant also played for Rochester in 2010-11, recording 13 points (7-6—13) and 144 penalty minutes in 56 games…Rochester forward Evan Rankin had two points (1-1—2) in 10 games for Grand Rapids in 2010-11.
Fri., Dec. 21 vs. Abbotsford Heat (15-5-3-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 4-6-1-1 Overall, 2-2-1-1 Home. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Calgary Flames. Head Coach: Troy G. Ward (2nd season). Notes: Abbotsford currently ranks first in the Western Conference with 36 points (15-5-3-3), but it has cooled after a fast start with a 4-3-2-1 record in its past 10 games…The Heat currently have two of the top goalies in the AHL, as Barry Brust and Danny Taylor rank first and second in the AHL in goals against average, with Brust sporting a 1.17 GAA and Taylor trailing with a 1.81 GAA. Brust, who set the AHL’s shutout record this season after going 268:17 between goals against, also leads the AHL with a 0.953 save percentage, while Taylor ranks fourth with a 0.929 save percentage…Abbotsford boats the league’s best penalty killing unit at 91 percent, and it ranks eighth in power play at 18 percent…Ben Street leads the Heat in scoring with 19 points (6-13—19) in 26 games and a league-leading 103 shots on goal…Heat forward Krys Kolanos has 12 points (6-6—12) in 17 games for the Griffins in 2006-07 and has nine points (5-4—9) in 14 games this season.
Sat., Dec. 22 vs. Chicago Wolves (12-9-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast Network 100 (Chicago) and ESPN America at 7 p.m. Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 52-39-2-4-2 Overall, 26-16-2-2-2 Home. Season Series: 3-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Home. Fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Scott Arniel (1st season). Notes: The Wolves have won three straight games after falling to .500 and are one point out of first place in the Midwest Division…Grand Rapids has beaten Chicago in all three meetings this season, most recently a 3-0 shutout victory by Tom McCollum…Brett Sterling leads Chicago in scoring with 16 points (8-8—16) in 20 games…The Wolves have struggled on special teams this season, ranking 28th in the AHL with an 11.1 percent power play efficiency and 29th with a 79.4 percent penalty kill, but they are the only team in the AHL that hasn’t given up a shorthanded goal this season…Former Griffin Darren Haydar is the second-highest active AHL scorer (behind Toronto’s Keith Aucoin) and led the Griffins with 80 points (31-49—80) in 2008-09.