Game Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena
Rockford IceHogs (11-10-1-4) vs. GRIFFINS (14-9-1-2)
Griffins Game #27 * Home Game #14 * AHL Game #393
Season Series: 1-0-1-0 Home Series: 1-0-0-0 Road Series: 0-0-1-0
All-Time Series: 41-29-4-8 All-Time Home Series: 28-10-1-2 All-Time Road Series: 13-19-3-6
Griffins vs. IceHogs
Third of 10 meetings overall, second of five at Van Andel Arena…Former Griffin Derek King is the interim head coach of the IceHogs after Jeremy Colliton was brought up to coach the Blackhawks on Nov. 6…King played in Grand Rapids from 1999-01 and 2002-04 and is the franchise’s all-time leading playoff scorer (16-25—41) and ranks fifth in regular season points (73-130—203)…Rockford averages 2.27 goals per game, ranking last in the AHL…Grand Rapids has points in six straight against Rockford (5-0-1-0) after a seven-game winless streak (0-4-0-3 from April 1-Dec. 23, 2017)…In the last meeting at Van Andel Arena on Nov. 14 during Grand Rapids’ annual school day game, Filip Zadina scored twice and Patrik Rybar stopped 29 shots to help the Griffins to a 3-1 victory…In the most recent matchup last Friday in Illinois, Rockford scored the game-tying goal with 2:58 left in regulation and won with 37 seconds to play in overtime to snap Grand Rapids’ six-game winning streak…AHL firsts vs. RFD: Givani Smith first goal (Dec. 7, 2018 at RFD), Colin Campbell first goal (March 29, 2014 vs. RFD), Jake Chelios first point (April 18, 2014 at RFD), Vili Saarijarvi debut and first point (Oct. 28, 2017 at RFD) and Filip Hronek debut (March 24, 2017 vs. RFD)...Derek Hulak made his Griffins debut last Friday and potted a goal.
Last Game (Tuesday): Griffins 2 at Admirals 5 - Read the full recap here
The Griffins allowed three unanswered goals over the game’s final 23:24...Grand Rapids recorded a season-high 31 PIM...The Griffins’ seven-game regular season winning streak at Milwaukee came to a close as Grand Rapids lost in Wisconsin for the first time since March 19, 2017...Tom McCollum earned his first win against his former club in his third career appearance after stopping 26 of 28 shots...Turner Elson picked up a goal and an assist and Matt Puempel contributed a power play tally.
After a nine-game point streak (7-0-1-1), the Griffins are winless in their last three contests (0-2-1-0) and have dropped back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 13 and 17. Grand Rapids has still been on an impressive run the last 19 games, showing points in 15 of those (12-4-1-2) and currently sits in third place in the Central Division. The Griffins have the first two legs of their three-in-three weekend at home, hosting Rockford tonight and Milwaukee tomorrow before heading to Illinois to face the IceHogs on Sunday. This weekend marks the end of Grand Rapids playing 14 Central Division opponents in a row.
No Place Like Home
The Griffins have won each of the last five matchups against Rockford at Van Andel Arena and nine of the last 10 but are winless (0-3-1-3) in their last seven trips to the BMO Harris Bank Center. Since the 2012-13 campaign, Grand Rapids is 22-4-1-1 (0.821) against the ‘Hogs at the Van and 11-12-1-4 (0.482) at Rockford.
For the Holidays
Grand Rapids has suffered just two regulation losses at home in December since Dec. 10, 2014, going 17-2-2-3 (0.813) in its last 24 games on home ice during the last month on the calendar. The Griffins have notched an overall winning mark in December in eight consecutive seasons, showing a 61-31-8-7 (0.640) combined record since 2010-11.
The Griffins have points in 11 of their first 13 games at Van Andel Arena (9-2-0-2), including wins in four straight and points in six consecutive (5-0-0-1). Grand Rapids’ nine wins at home tie for the most in the AHL. Grand Rapids is a +12 in goal differential at home while averaging 3.69 goals, compared to –12 and 2.69 on enemy ice.
Second-year defenseman Filip Hronek picked up an assist on Tuesday at Milwaukee, the ninth time in the last 10 games he’s found the scoresheet. In that time, which dates to Nov. 23, the 21-year-old has amassed 13 points (4-9—13) to lead all league defensemen and tie for fourth among all AHL skaters. Hronek has made the team’s history books in recent weeks, as his eight-game assist streak from Nov. 23-Dec. 7 matched a franchise record, which was set by center Valtteri Filppula from March 26-Oct. 13, 2006, and his eight-game point streak tied with Bryan Helmer (Feb. 25-March 14, 2006) for the longest single-season point streak by a Griffins defenseman since 1999-2000. Last month, Hronek became the first player in franchise history to record an overtime goal in back-to-back games when he provided the theatrics in Nov. 24’s 4-3 win at Chicago and Nov. 26’s 3-2 victory at Iowa.
Back Up Terr
The AHL’s leading scorer from a season ago, Chris Terry is atop the league’s goal leaderboard with 16 and has lit the lamp four times in the last five games. His next goal will be his 200th in the AHL. The 10th-year pro also shows points in eight of the last nine contests, racking up 11 (5-6—11) in that span. Since Nov. 1, Terry has a league-high 13 goals and his 22 points in that period are fifth.
Sixth-year pro and second-year Griffin Turner Elson banked his team-leading ninth multi-point game of the season on Tuesday behind a goal and an assist. He has already bettered his output from 2017-18 when he secured 21 points (9-12—21) in 57 appearances. He is second on the team with 23 points and is on pace for 67, which would more than double his previous best of 30. Elson shows nine points (4-5—9) in the last seven games and 17 (7-10—17) in the last 14.
Points have come in bunches for second-year Griffin Matt Puempel as of the 12 games he has registered on the scoresheet, eight of those have been two-point outings. Puempel’s team-high 91 shots are second in the AHL.
Shots, Shots, Shots
Grand Rapids is one of only three teams (Bakersfield, Tucson) to rank in the top 10 in both shots for (31.23, T7th) and against (27.58, 6th). The Griffins have out shot 16 of 26 opponents and have eclipsed the 40-shot mark on three occasions (Dec. 7 at RFD, Nov. 23 vs. MIL, Nov. 10 at MB).
Goaltender Patrik Rybar (pronounced REE-bar) shows points in eight of 11 starts this season (6-3-2) and is 10th in the AHL with a 2.52 goals against average. The 25-year-old is in his first season in North America and led the Czech Extraliga in both GAA (1.73) and shutouts (7) in 36 games with Hradec Kralove last season.
A Harri Situation
Goalie Harri Sateri has points in five of his last six starts (4-1-1). During his previous six outings, the Finnish netminder owns a 2.79 goals against average and a 0.904 save percentage and has collected two wins in overtime.
This Date in Griffins History
2000: Goalie Mike Fountain, defenseman Travis Richards and center Todd White are chosen to play in the 2001 IHL All-Star Game. Former Griffins bench boss Guy Charron is promoted to head coach of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
2005: In the midst of a regular season in which they score a franchise-record 323 goals, the Griffins suffer their only shutout loss, 5-0 at Toronto.
2011: Landon Ferraro’s goal in the seventh round of the shootout lifts Grand Rapids to a 5-4 win over Rockford.
2013: A 5-0 win over Milwaukee marks the Griffins’ 17th win in their last 20 games and improves their record to 19-5-1-1, marking the best 26-game start in franchise history. Tom McCollum stops 31 shots to claim his first shutout of the season.
$2 Beers and $2 Hot Dogs: Fans can enjoy $2 domestic drafts and $2 hot dogs from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last.
Get in the D-ZONE presented by Coppercraft Distillery: Every Friday night is a Griffins D-Zone night. Avoid the concession lines and get your $2 beers and $2 hot dogs served to you in your seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/dzone today to purchase a package of four or more D-Zone tickets for any Friday night game.
Free Ride Friday on the Rapid: Ride the Rapid to and from any Friday game and enjoy complimentary fare by showing your ticket to the game. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps.
College Night presented by Michigan First Credit Union: College students can show their ID at every Friday game to purchase an Upper Level Faceoff ticket for $13 (or $12 in advance at The Zone) or an Upper Level Center Ice ticket for $16 (or $15 in advance at The Zone). Limit one ticket per ID.
Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins