Busy Week to Include Trio of Home Games, Seasons First Three-in-Three
This Weeks Games
Tue., Nov. 16 - Cincinnati Mighty Ducks at GRIFFINS - Noon - WTKG 1230 AM
Thu., Nov. 18 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/WHTC 1450 AM
Fri., Nov. 19 - GRIFFINS at Cleveland Barons - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/WHTC 1450 AM
Sat., Nov. 20 - Cleveland Barons at GRIFFINS - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM
Last Weeks Results
Fri., Nov. 12 - Houston Aeros 0 at GRIFFINS 1 - 6-3-1-0, 13 pts. (4th, West Division)
Sat., Nov. 13 - San Antonio Rampage 2 at GRIFFINS 3 - 7-3-1-0, 15 pts. (3rd)
The Griffins will host their fourth annual matinee game on Tuesday. Faceoff against the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks is set for noon, with 3,000 school children expected to be among those in attendance. With a theme of "Behind the Scenes of Michigan Government," the game will be preceded by a videotaped address from Governor Jennifer Granholm, and concourse tables will feature interactive displays with information about Michigan government. Rick Albin and Kristi Andersen from WOOD TV8 will provide a behind-the-scenes look at state government, while the Gerald R. Ford Museum will provide information about historical documents and the election process. Other topics include branches of government, how a bill becomes a law, symbols of government, systems of government and student senate procedures and policies.
Prior to Tuesdays game, the Griffins and Junior Achievement will host a high school Career Forum titled "Face Off On the Issues: The Politics of Business and the Business of Politics." The session, which will take place at 9:45 a.m. in the arena banquet room, will feature an interactive debate with State House Representatives Michael Sak and Glen Steil, Jr.
More Home Cookin:
After completing their record nine-game homestand against the Chicago Wolves on Thursday, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena on Saturday to face the Cleveland Barons. The theme of Saturdays contest is "Vegas Baby!," as the first 1,500 fans will receive a deck of Griffins playing cards and the concourse will be transformed into a Las Vegas-style casino with games and prizes, including a grand prize for the nights big winner. In addition, Airway Oxygen will provide 4,000 copies of that days new Grand Rapids Press to fans; one copy will contain an Airway Oxygen insert autographed by a Griffins player, which will win its holder an iPod mp3 player.
Cole on Cusp of Century:
Griffins coach Danton Cole, who earlier this season set franchise records for career wins and games coached, is poised to become the first bench boss in team history to earn his 100th regular season victory. His all-time record as Grand Rapids head coach currently stands at 99-53-17-2 (0.635).
Get to Work:
After playing four times in a span of 16 days and just 11 games over the seasons first month, the Griffins will get busy this week with four games in five days. Included in the stretch will be the first of 11 "three-in-threes" theyll play this season, starting Thursday against Chicago. Last season, Grand Rapids played three times in as many nights on nine occasions, compiling a solid 15-8-4-0 record (0.630).
Joey MacDonald made 23 saves in Fridays 1-0 win over Houston, setting a Griffins franchise record with his 11th career shutout. Remarkably, he did not register his first shutout until Jan. 17, 2003, and has collected all 11 in a span of just 61 games played. His standing atop the teams leaderboard is even more impressive considering those who stand beneath him - 11 goalies who went on to play in the NHL, including the likes of Patrick Lalime, Martin Prusek and Jani Hurme. MacDonald, who is the author of the last seven shutouts recorded by a Griffin, passed Ian Gordon into sole possession of third place in club history with Fridays win, his 42nd in a Grand Rapids uniform (he added number 43 on Saturday). MacDonald currently ranks among the AHLs leaders with seven wins (T1st), two shutouts (T2nd), a 1.59 GAA (4th) and a 0.943 save percentage (5th).
In four games against San Antonio this season, Joey MacDonald owns a 2.50 GAA (10 GA) and a 0.898 save percentage. In six games against the rest of the AHL, he owns a 0.99 GAA (6 GA) and a 0.967 save percentage.
Each of the Griffins last six outings and eight of their 11 games overall have been decided by a single goal, exhibiting the parity that exists in the AHL this season. The franchise record for most one-goal decisions is 43, set during a 1997-98 season that included a record 11 straight one-goal decisions from Feb. 28-Mar. 21, 1998 (3 W, 1 SOW, 2 L, 5 SOL).
Seven Down, Two to Go:
The Griffins have only two games remaining on their franchise record nine-game homestand that ends this Thursday. They currently stand at 3-3-1-0 during the run. The previous franchise record was a seven-game stand from Feb. 18-28, 1999, during which Grand Rapids compiled a 5-1-1 mark.
Niklas Kronwall places among the AHLs top defensemen with four goals (T1st) and 11 points (3rd), totals which place third and second, respectively, on the club. In addition, his 0.154 shooting percentage ranks fourth among league blueliners
Eric Himelfarbs seven points (2-5-7) tie for 14th among rookies.
Cold Blooded Killers:
The Griffins stand third in the AHL in penalty killing, having escaped 57-of-63 shorthanded situations unscathed (90.5%). After the Griffins had allowed just one power play goal over a span of 35 shorthanded situations, the Rampage converted consecutive opportunities on Saturday night. Still, the Griffins have allowed only three power play goal over their last seven contests (29-32, 96.3%) and have killed off 35 of their opponents last 38 advantages (92.1%), dating back to Oct. 24 at San Antonio.
Eric Manlows power play goal on Saturday against San Antonio broke Griffins droughts of 0-for-16 and 1-for-30 with the advantage. Grand Rapids now ranks 13th in the AHL on the power play, at 15.4% (10-for-65).
By the Numbers:
Where the Griffins rank among the AHLs 28 teams in various statistical categories:
- Power Play: 10-for-65, 15.4% (13th)
- Penalty Killing: 57-for-63, 90.5% (3rd)
- Penalty Minutes: 20.18 avg. (26th)
- Goals For: 2.73 avg. (13th)
- Goals Against: 1.82 avg. (3rd)
- Shots For: 29.00 avg. (T20th)
- Shots Against: 29.91 avg. (11th)
- Attendance: 5,901 avg. (10th)
This Weeks Scouting Report
Tue., Nov. 16 vs. Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (5-7-0-0) - Van Andel Arena - Noon
TV: None. Radio: WTKG 1230 AM at 11:40 a.m. Season Series: First of 10 meetings overall, first of five in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series: 16-6-2-0 Overall, 8-2-2-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Head Coach: Brad Shaw (3rd season). Just Ducky: Former NHLer Dan Bylsma, a native of Grand Haven, Mich., is an assistant coach with Cincinnati
Top prospect Ilya Bryzgalov is 4-4 with a 2.59 GAA and a 0.914 save percentage
Familiar faces on the Ducks roster include former Griffins defenseman Sheldon Brookbank and former Ferris State standout Chris Kunitz
Joel Perrault has a team-high four goals for Cincy, which ranks 22nd in AHL scoring (2.25 goals per game)
Five straight losses have cooled-off the Ducks 5-2 start.
Thu., Nov. 18 vs. Chicago Wolves (4-5-1-1) - Van Andel Arena - 7 p.m.
TV: None locally. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM/WHTC 1450 AM at 6:40 p.m. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Third of 10 meetings overall, second of five in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series: 32-19-4-1 Overall, 16-7-4-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: John Anderson (8th season). Wolf Tracks: Chicago enters the week on a 0-3-0-1 slide
The Wolves only road win this season (1-3-1-1) came at the Griffins expense, 2-1 on Oct. 29
Steve Maltais leads the pack with eight goals and 13 points, while top prospect Kari Lehtonen is 4-6-1 with a 2.96 GAA and a 0.909 save percentage
Chicagos normally deadly power play ranks just 23rd in the AHL at 12.3%, and the Wolves are tied for 25th on the circuit in goals allowed (3.18).
Fri., Nov. 19 at Cleveland Barons (6-6-1-1) - Gund Arena - 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 20 vs. Cleveland Barons - Van Andel Arena - 7:30 p.m.
TV: None. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM/WHTC 1450 AM at 6:40 p.m. (Fri.); WOOD 1300 AM at 7:10 p.m. (Sat.). 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 Cleveland, second of four in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series: 9-6-0-0 Overall, 3-4-0-0 Road, 6-2-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: San Jose Sharks. Head Coach: Roy Sommer (4th season). Spy Glass: The home team won all four games during last seasons series, and the Griffins kicked off the 2004-05 season with a 3-2 shootout win over the Barons at Van Andel Arena on Oct. 15
Winners of two straight, the Barons are 5-3-0-1 on the road but just 1-3-1-0 at home
Marcel Goc paces the offense with seven goals and 14 points, while Dimitri Patzold (4-2-1, 2.25 GAA, 0.929%) has been a force between the pipes
Cleveland winger Nick Bootland is the older brother of Griffins forward Darryl Bootland.