This Week’s Games
Wed., April 4 - GRIFFINS at Syracuse Crunch - 7 p.m. - Comcast Local/WOOD/B2
Fri., April 6 - Toronto Marlies at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Sat., April 7 - GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves - 8 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Last Week’s Results
Wed., March 28 - Milwaukee Admirals 2 at GRIFFINS 3 SO - 34-26-6-5, 79 pts. (4th, North Division)
Fri., March 30 - GRIFFINS 1 at Hamilton Bulldogs 4 - 34-27-6-5, 79 pts. (4th)
Sat., March 31 - Chicago Wolves 1 at GRIFFINS 2 OT - 35-27-6-5, 81 pts. (4th)
Within Striking Distance: After earning points in 20 of their last 27 games (15-6-2-3), the Griffins enter the final two weeks of the regular season with a five-point lead over Peoria in the race for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Grand Rapids’ magic numbers for securing its ninth playoff berth in 11 seasons stand at two points over Toronto, three points over Syracuse, and 10 points over Peoria. The Griffins could clinch as early as this Saturday in Chicago.
West Michigan Salutes Steve Yzerman: The Griffins and their fans will have an opportunity to say thanks to Detroit Red Wings legend Steve Yzerman when he is honored in an on-ice ceremony prior to this Friday’s game against Toronto. Detroit’s former captain and current vice president will also take part in the ceremonial puck drop. Fans can purchase a Wendy’s Family Four Pack (four tickets, four Wendy’s single combo meals) for just $44. The game is also the final redemption night for both “Winning Wednesday” tickets from March 28 and Griff’s Reading Goals vouchers.
Friendly Confines: Grand Rapids, which owned a 7-9-2-2 record on home ice in late December, has won 11 of 14 (11-2-0-1) and 14 of its last 18 games (14-3-0-1) at Van Andel Arena. Fans have noticed, as seven of the last 14 home games have been witnessed by crowds in excess of 10,000, including five sellouts (bringing the season total to six). Based on pre-sale numbers for the final two home games, the franchise will realize both its largest overall attendance and its first increase in attendance since the 2002-03 season.
On the Tube: The Griffins’ March to the Playoffs on Comcast Local continues Wednesday in Syracuse. The game against the Crunch will be televised live at 7 p.m. to subscribers throughout Michigan and Northern Indiana, as Comcast Local provides the feed from Time Warner Sports 26.
Sudden Impact: Hobey Baker finalist Scott Parse has wasted no time in making his presence felt since signing an amateur tryout with the Griffins last Tuesday. The Portage native and former Nebraska-Omaha star earned an assist and scored in the shootout in his first pro game last Wednesday, a 3-2 win over Milwaukee, before scoring the tying goal and assisting on Kip Miller’s overtime tally in Saturday’s 2-1 triumph over Chicago.
Miller Time: Kip Miller’s overtime goal against Chicago on Saturday marked his 204th career point as a Griffin, moving him past Derek King (203) into sole possession of third place on the franchise’s all-time scoring list. Already second in team history with 75 goals, he needs just one assist to tie King (130) for third all time.
Exclusive Company: Jimmy Howard needs one win to join Joey MacDonald, Marc Lamothe and Mike Fountain as the only Griffins goalies to post back-to-back 20-win seasons. He is coming off two of his best performances of the season, having made 38 saves in Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win against Chicago and having tied his career high with 40 stops in Friday’s 4-1 loss at Hamilton.
To Err is (Finally) Human: With 1:48 left in the first period of Saturday’s game against the Wolves, Jeff Campbell’s remarkable run of penalty-free play ended when he was whistled off for tripping, his first penalty in 56 games as a Griffin this season.
Alumni Watch: Griffins defensemen Kyle Quincey (Detroit) and Danny Syvret (Edmonton) remain in the NHL following their recalls on Saturday. Quincey logged 14:52 in ice time and two shots in the Red Wings’ 4-1 win at Columbus on Sunday, while Syvret saw 7:06 of action in the Oilers’ 2-1 loss at Chicago.
Record Within Reach: If the Griffins win five of their final seven games they’ll record their eighth-consecutive 40-win season overall and their sixth straight as members of the AHL, tying the league record set by the Cleveland Barons from 1947-53.
Close Shaves: Seven of the Griffins’ last nine games have had a one-goal margin, with six of those contests decided after regulation time (one OTW, one SOW, one L, one OTL, and three SOLs).
Short Stories: The Griffins continue to lead the AHL with a franchise-record 22 shorthanded goals. Thirteen of those have been scored in the last 25 games alone, a number that matches or surpasses the season-long haul of 17 other teams. Strangely, over the last 23 games, the Griffins have scored as many shorthanded goals (12) as power play goals (12).
Working Overtime: With their 3-2 shootout win over Milwaukee on Wednesday, the Griffins broke a three-game losing streak in shootouts and a five-game skid in games decided after regulation time (0-0-2-3). Grand Rapids scored on all three shootout attempts (Jonathan Ericsson, Scott Parse and Jamie Tardif) and Stefan Liv denied all three Admirals chances, marking the Griffins’ second perfect shootout performance this season (Jan. 13 vs. WBS). The Griffins are now 7-5 this season and 56-56 all time in the skills display…The 2-1 overtime win on Saturday versus Chicago was the Griffins’ first this season during the five-minute session, raising their overtime record to 1-6. In 2005-06, the Griffins could do almost no wrong in O.T., winning their last five regular season decisions to finish 6-1, before going 3-0 in overtime during the playoffs.
Dog Days: With Friday’s 4-1 defeat at Hamilton, the Griffins have lost their last five visits to Copps Coliseum by a combined 20-6 score, with their last victory coming in 3-1 fashion on Nov. 6, 2005…Grand Rapids has scored only nine regulation-time goals in seven games against the Dogs this season.
Enough’s Enough: The Griffins’ 3-2 shootout win over Milwaukee on Wednesday broke the Admirals’ six-game winning streak at Van Andel Arena and was just their second win in their last 13 games (2-8-3-0) against their rival. The season series was very competitive, however, as five of the eight meetings were decided past regulation time.
Wed., April 4 at Syracuse Crunch (30-33-3-8) – Onondaga County War Memorial – 7 p.m.
TV: Comcast Local at 7 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Cast: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: 2-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Road. Fourth and final meeting overall, second and final in Syracuse. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 11-2-0-0-0 Overall, 5-1-0-0-0 Road. NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets. Head Coach: Ross Yates (1st season). Notes: The Griffins’ magic number for eliminating the Crunch from playoff contention is three points…Jamie Tardif scored a natural hat trick in the second period of the Griffins’ 5-3 loss at Syracuse on March 3, becoming just the third Griffin to score three goals in a single period…That defeat marked just the third time in franchise history that the Griffins lost in regulation despite getting a hat trick from one of their players…Syracuse’s win broke Grand Rapids’ 10-game series winning streak. It was the Crunch’s first-ever victory over the Griffins at the Onondaga County War Memorial, and their first series win since Jan. 10, 2003 at Van Andel Arena.
Fri., April 6 vs. Toronto Marlies (31-36-2-4) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: 3-3-0-0 Overall, 1-2-0-0 Home. Seventh of eight meetings overall, fourth and final in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 6-6-0-0-0 Overall, 3-3-0-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (1st season). Notes: The Griffins’ magic number for eliminating Toronto from playoff contention is two points…The home team has won the last two meetings between Toronto and Grand Rapids, following an eight-game winning streak by the visiting team…Toronto is well under 0.500 at home (14-20-2-1) but is 17-16-0-3 on the road…The Marlies’ 7-3 record ties for the best in the conference over the last 10 games.
Sat., April 7 at Chicago Wolves (42-24-3-6) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. Season Series: 2-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Road. Fourth and final meeting overall, second and final in Rosemont. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 40-25-2-2-2 Overall, 20-15-0-1-0 Road. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: John Anderson (10th season). Notes: In their 11 seasons, the Griffins have won more games at Allstate Arena – 24, including playoffs – than in any other road venue…Chicago’s road record (25-8-2-3) is the best in the AHL, but the Wolves are just 17-16-1-3 at home…On Saturday, the Griffins stifled the AHL’s top two scorers, Chicago’s Darren Haydar and Brett Sterling, keeping both of them off the scoresheet for just the sixth time in 65 games they’ve played together this season…Haydar’s 111 points (38-73—111) nearly match the combined output of the Griffins top two scorers, Kip Miller and Matt Ellis, who’ve registered 113 points (48-65—113) between them.