Grand Rapids Griffins (17-19-2-3) vs. Rockford IceHogs (19-18-1-1)
Game Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena
Griffins Game #42 * Home Game #20 * AHL Game #605
Season Series: 2-2-0-2 Home Series: 1-0-0-2 Road Series: 1-2-0-0
All-Time Series: 45-34-7-10 All-Time Home Series: 30-11-3-4 All-Time Road Series: 15-23-4-6
Griffins vs. IceHogs
Seventh of 10 meetings overall, fourth of five at Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids is winless in the last four matchups (0-2-0-2) and Rockford has won the last two by 2-1 shootout margins…Matt Puempel (1-3—4 in 5 GP), Chris Terry (1-3—4 in 6 GP) and Joe Veleno (1-3—4 in 6 GP) lead the Griffins in scoring...As a member of the Griffins, Puempel has 19 points (8-11—19) in 21 GP against the IceHogs…Grand Rapids has killed off 14 consecutive penalties against the IceHogs and gone 20-for-21 on the PK in the series (95.2%)…Rockford’s lone PPG came during a 5-on-3 on Nov. 15…Since the 2016-17 season, the home team in the series has posted a 24-8-2-2 record (0.722)…Grand Rapids has points in 11 of the last 12 meetings at Van Andel Arena (7-1-2-2)…In the last 10 overall against Rockford, the Griffins are 2-4-2-2...Head coach Ben Simon served as an assistant in Rockford for two seasons (2011-13)…Rockford head coach Derek 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).
Last Time Out (Wednesday): IceHogs 2 at Griffins 1 SO - Recap
Signed to a professional tryout on Dec. 25, goaltender Kevin Poulin made his second Griffins appearance and first at Van Andel Arena…Poulin stopped 25 shots and earned his first AHL point since a member of the Stockton Heat on March 26, 2016...Joe Veleno scored his sixth goal of the season at 7:46 of the third period...Grand Rapids is 2-2-0-2 in the season series...The Griffins had only one power play opportunity for the third time this season...Grand Rapids played its seventh game of the season that was tied after regulation.
The Griffins have points in four straight (3-0-0-1) to match a season high (Oct. 23-30) and will continue their season-high eight-game homestand against Rockford tonight before taking on Belleville for the first time this season tomorrow.
The Griffins are 2-0-0-1 to start their eight-game homestand that lasts through Jan. 25. It is the team’s lengthiest since an eight-game stretch from Oct. 14-Nov. 4, 2006 (4-3-0-1 record). In fact, the only longer homestand Grand Rapids has enjoyed is nine games from Oct. 26-Nov. 18, 2004 (4-4-1-0 record). Chris Terry (8-10—18) and Matt Puempel (6-10—16) lead the team in scoring at Van Andel Arena this season. Calvin Pickard has turned aside 85 of 88 shots (0.966) in his last three home appearances. Since the 2016-17 season, Grand Rapids is 15-6-0-2 (0.696) in West Michigan in January.
Since the third period on Nov. 27 at Chicago, Grand Rapids has fended off 63 of its last 69 penalties (91.3%), including seven in a row. The Griffins have vaulted from 30th in the AHL in penalty killing on Nov. 28 to their current position of 15th.
Pickard Named Player of the Week
The AHL announced on Monday that Griffins goaltender Calvin Pickard has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending January 12, 2020. Pickard turned aside 82 of the 86 shots he faced in his three victories last week. Pickard is the first Griffins player to garner Player of the Week accolades since netminder Jared Coreau on Feb. 18, 2018. He was recalled by Detroit the day prior to earning the award.
Back Up, Terr
2020 AHL All-Star Classic selection Chris Terry had his four-game point streak snapped on Wednesday but still shows nine points (2-7—9) in his last seven outings. He ranks fifth in the AHL in points (39) while pacing the Griffins in goals (15), assists (24), multi-point games (13) and power play goals (9). He became the 43rd player in franchise history to score 100 points in a Griffins uniform following his three-point effort last Saturday and he tied Slava Butsayev (1999-01) as the seventh-fastest player to reach the century mark. In his 11th-year pro, Terry guided the Griffins with 61 points last season and the most recent player to lead GR in scoring in back-to-back seasons was Andy Miele in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Ford, Terry Heading to All-Star Classic
The AHL announced on Jan. 3 that Chris Terry has been selected to the 2020 AHL All-Star Classic, which will be held Jan. 26-27 in Ontario, Calif. Terry joins Matthew Ford on the all-star team, after the Griffins’ captain was named as one of the two playing captains on Dec. 18. Terry, in his 11th season as a pro and second in Grand Rapids, has earned his fourth straight AHL All-Star bid and fifth overall (2012). He becomes the sixth Griffin ever to be named an all-star in back-to-back years (Matt Lorito 2017-18, Xavier Ouellet 2015-16, Gustav Nyquist 2012-13, Niklas Kronwall 2004-05, Michel Picard 1997-98 in the IHL) and only the third Grand Rapids forward to earn consecutive AHL selections, joining Lorito and Nyquist. A SoCal native, Ford is in his third season as the Griffins’ captain, fourth in Grand Rapids and 12th in the AHL. He becomes the fourth Griffin to be chosen as a playing captain for an AHL All-Star Classic, joining Jeff Hoggan (2016, West), Kip Miller (2007, PlanetUSA) and Travis Richards (2004, PlanetUSA).
Knuble Named Honorary Coach
USA Hockey announced last Tuesday that Mike Knuble will serve as one of two honorary head coaches for the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game on Jan. 20 at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Mich. Scott Gomez is the other coach. Knuble, a Kentwood, Mich., native is in his seventh season as an assistant coach for the Griffins and represented Team USA at the 2006 Winter Olympics as well as the 1995, 1999, 2001 and 2005 IIHF World Championships.
Kevin Poulin made his Griffins debut on Jan. 4 and became the fifth goaltender to log minutes for Grand Rapids this season, the team’s most since five suited up during the 2014-15 campaign (Pat Nagle, Jonas Gustavsson, Petr Mrazek, Jared Coreau, Tom McCollum). Including those five goalies, the Griffins have used 38 players already just past the halfway mark this season. Here is how the current usage stacks up to the final player counts in recent seasons: 2018-19 – 41 players, 2017-18 – 32, 2016-17 – 39, 2015-16 – 37 and 2014-15 – 39. Since the AHL’s season began on Oct. 4, the Red Wings have recalled or assigned a player from or to Grand Rapids a total of 64 times.
Red Wings Report
There have been 12 players who have played for both Detroit and Grand Rapids this season – Madison Bowey, Dennis Cholowski, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard (conditioning), Joe Hicketts, Taro Hirose, Brian Lashoff, Dylan McIlrath, Calvin Pickard, Givani Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov and Filip Zadina. Pickard, Smith and Zadina remain on recall.
Griffins in General
Grand Rapids is in the franchise’s 24th overall season of play, 19th as a member of the American Hockey League and 18th as the primary affiliate of the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings…Grand Rapids is 982-675-27-60-115 (0.583) in the regular season since 1996-97 to go along with 17 playoff appearances, seven division titles and two Calder Cups (2017, 2013)…The Griffins have earned 40 or more wins and accumulated 90 or more points in six of the last seven seasons…Grand Rapids has qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in a franchise-record seven consecutive seasons and advanced to at least the second round on five occasions…The Griffins’ 8-5 season-opening win at Chicago on Oct. 5 marked the club’s 750th win in the AHL…Grand Rapids’ 322 regular season wins since the 2012-13 campaign tie Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for second, behind only Toronto’s 338 while the Griffins’ 700 points in that span are third, trailing Providence (707) and Toronto (732)…Since the affiliation began in 2002-03, 92 Griffins have gone on to play for the Red Wings.
This Date in Griffins History
1999: Robert Petrovicky and Maxim Spiridonov represent the Griffins in the 25th IHL All-Star Game in Cincinnati. The East defeats the West 10-7, in large part due to the efforts of Spiridonov (2-1—3).
2000: Starters Kevin Miller and John Gruden, plus reserves Petr Schastlivy and Jani Hurme, represent Grand Rapids in the 2000 IHL All-Star Game at the Compaq Center in Houston.
2001: Grand Rapids sets a team record with its seventh-consecutive win at Van Andel Arena. The game against Manitoba is scoreless through 65 minutes of play, before the Griffins prevail 1-0 in a shootout. Mike Fountain’s 36 saves give the Griffins back-to-back home shutouts for the second time in franchise history.
2004: Kevin Miller’s team-record third overtime goal of the season gives Grand Rapids a 2-1 win over St. John’s. Jiri Hudler assists on the play to extend his point streak to 12 games, the longest in the AHL this season and second-longest in franchise history. The Griffins, who matched a team record by playing seven games in a span of only nine days, finish the test with an incredible 5-0-2-0 mark.
2013: Griffins defenseman Chad Billins, left wing Gustav Nyquist and goaltender Petr Mrazek are selected to play for the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team at the 2013 AHL All-Star Classic.
2014: Tom McCollum makes 35 saves in a 3-0 shutout of Abbotsford and his former mentor, Joey MacDonald. Heat defenseman Chad Billins, a member of the Griffins’ 2013 Calder Cup team, returns to GR for the first time and is presented with his championship ring before the game.
2018: Down 2-0 late in the second period, Milwaukee rallies with four unanswered goals before holding on to take a 4-3 win over the Griffins. It marks a rare regulation loss for Grand Rapids to its Central Division rivals, as the Griffins had earned at least a point in nine straight games (8-0-1-0) against Milwaukee, including the previous spring’s first-round playoff meeting.
Presented by White Claw Hard Seltzer
$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.
College Night presented by Michigan First Credit Union: Presented by Michigan First Credit Union, college students can buy online using their school .edu email address or 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 if purchasing in-person. Visit griffinshockey.com/college to sign up for College Night alerts.
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.
Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins