11/16/2010 10:42 AM
This Week’s Games
Wed., Nov. 17 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Nov. 19 - Houston Aeros at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Nov. 20 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Nov. 10 - Milwaukee Admirals 1 at GRIFFINS 0 SO - 7-3-0-3, 17 pts. (T2nd, North Division)
Sat., Nov. 13 - GRIFFINS 1 at Hamilton Bulldogs 2 - 7-4-0-3, 17 pts. (5th)
Sun., Nov. 14 - GRIFFINS 2 at Hamilton Bulldogs 1 - 8-4-0-3, 19 pts. (T2nd)
Home for the Holidays: After completing a modest three-game road trip on Wednesday at Lake Erie, the Griffins will return home this weekend to begin a stretch in which they’ll play 16 of 22 games at Van Andel Arena between Nov. 19 and Jan. 5. During that span, Grand Rapids will stage homestands of four, three, three, two and two games, and its six one-game road stops will all be in regional destinations: Chicago (twice), Peoria (twice), Milwaukee and Toronto.
Fun at the Van: Fri. vs. Houston – The full slate of Friday night promotions returns, including Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last, College Night, and the D-Zone. Prior to the game, the first-ever Pennzoil RCR street performance Camaro will be parked on the arena plaza. During the first intermission, the car will be awarded to John Nidefski of Grand Rapids, who won it through Pennzoil’s “Get Your Key to Clean” promotion on Oct. 16 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. In addition, fans can visit the Griffins’ Ticket Central booth at the top of the arena’s main staircase to enter to win a Pennzoil race jacket or a Kevin Harvick autographed diecast collectable car. Winners will be drawn at the conclusion of the second intermission and announced during the third period. Sat. vs. Lake Erie – The first 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins fleece blanket, courtesy of Comerica. Fans can stick around for the Huntington Bank post-game autograph session with Griffins players, and they can bring their skates for the post-game open skate.
Good Timing: After signing a standard player’s contract with the Griffins last Tuesday, Brandon Straub netted his first AHL goal 7:11 into the third period on Sunday to lift Grand Rapids to a 2-1 win at Hamilton. The victory moved the Griffins into a three-way tie for second place in the North Division.
Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated goaltender Thomas McCollum for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he went 1-1-1 with one shutout, a 0.98 GAA and a 0.954 save percentage for the best three-game run of his career. He made 23 saves on Wednesday to record his first pro shutout in a bittersweet 1-0 shootout loss to Milwaukee, earning Second Star honors. After dropping a tough 2-1 decision at Hamilton on Saturday, he bounced back with a tremendous 21-save effort in Sunday’s 2-1 road win over the Bulldogs. McCollum, who has allowed two goals or less in five of his last six outings, ranks among the AHL’s leaders with one shutout (T4th) and a 2.57 GAA (16th).
Road Warriors: Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Hamilton stopped the Griffins’ five-game road winning streak two victories shy of the franchise record. After rebounding with Sunday’s victory, which broke the Bulldogs’ six-game run at home, Grand Rapids now boasts a 6-2 road mark this season.
Stingy Defense: As a team the Griffins allowed only four goals last week, their best performance over a three-game span since Feb. 9-13, 2010. Only three of those goals came during regulation or overtime, marking their best three-game run in that respect since allowing two goals from Oct. 25-30, 2009. Now sixth in the league in goals against at 2.60 per game, Grand Rapids is on pace to surrender just 208 goals this season, which would mark its lowest total since the 2004-05 campaign (200).
Very Special Teams: Grand Rapids ranks among the AHL’s top six teams in overall power play (23.4%, 2nd), home power play (23.3%, 6th), road power play (23.5%, 4th), overall penalty killing (89.0%, 5th), road penalty killing (96.1%, 1st) and shorthanded goals scored (three, T4th). The Griffins have surrendered only two power play goals in the 51 times they’ve been shorthanded as the visiting team.
Facts and Figures: Each of the Griffins’ seven losses this season (four in regulation, three in shootouts) has been by a single goal, and only four of the their 15 games have been decided by more than one goal…Grand Rapids is 8-2-0-1 when scoring the first goal and 0-2-0-2 when the opponent strikes first…The Griffins are 7-2-0-1 within the North Division and 1-2-0-2 against the West Division…Grand Rapids has surrendered just 26.20 shots per game, the fourth-fewest in the AHL. On the other end, the Griffins have averaged only 27.93 shots, ranking 24th in the league.
Who’s Hot?: Rookie Brendan Smith ranks second among all AHL defensemen with five goals, while his 12 points tie for fifth among both blueliners and rookies…Francis Pare has goals in two of the last four contests…Chris Minard has points in four of the last six games (1-4—5)…Tomas Tatar has points in four of the last six games (2-3—5) and in five of his last eight outings (2-4—6).
Milestones: Francis Pare needs three points to become the 21st player to reach 100 as a Griffin and six goals to become the 14th player to score 50…Jamie Johnson is six points shy of 200 in the AHL (64-130—194)…With his fighting major on Saturday, Greg Amadio now stands at 1,200 penalty minutes as a pro…With 90 career wins as a Griffin, Joey MacDonald (currently with Detroit) needs just one more to break a tie with Jimmy Howard for franchise supremacy…Derek Meech played in his 244th regular season game for Grand Rapids on Saturday, passing Tomas Kopecky (243) to take sole possession of 10th place on the franchise’s all-time list…Meanwhile, ninth-place Jamie Tardif shows 254 games played, eight shy of eighth-place Evan McGrath (262).
Wed., Nov. 17 at Lake Erie Monsters (6-7-1-2) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Nov. 20 vs. Lake Erie Monsters – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. (Wed.) and WOOD 1300 AM at 6:45 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 15-8-1-3 Overall, 6-4-1-3 Road, 9-4-0-0 Home. Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road, 0-0-0-0 Home. Second and third of eight meetings overall, second of four in Cleveland, first of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins claimed the season’s first meeting 4-3 in a shootout on Nov. 7 at Quicken Loans Arena…The Monsters have lost two in a row to fall into the North Division basement, but they are just four points behind second-place Grand Rapids…Lake Erie’s Jason Bacashihua stands 11th in the AHL with a 2.38 GAA…The Monsters are last in the league in power play (7.5%) but sixth in penalty killing (88.0%)…Lake Erie allows just 25.81 shots per game, the second-fewest on the circuit.
Fri., Nov. 19 vs. Houston Aeros (7-6-1-2) – 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 griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 33-26-6-3-6 Overall, 19-11-2-1-3 Home. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Mike Yeo (1st season). Notes: The Aeros are 5-3-0-2 on the road while the Griffins are 2-2-0-3 at home…Houston’s Anton Khudobin ranks sixth in the league with a 2.07 GAA…The Aeros have one win in four tries against the North Division (1-1-0-2)…Houston ranks second in the AHL in penalty killing (89.9%) and 25th on the power play (12.8%)…The Aeros have outscored their opposition 15-8 in the opening period but have been outgunned 19-10 in the third.