12/08/2015 2:59 PM
12/08/2015 2:59 PM -
This Week’s Games
Against the Best: Grand Rapids’ eight-game run has come at the expense of top Western Conference opponents as seven of those wins have come against teams with winning records, including six against teams in front of the Griffins in the Central Division. Consider this: the six unique teams Grand Rapids has beaten during its streak have combined for a current overall record of 91-63-7-14 (0.659). During their recent stretch, the Griffins have also shown to be streak busters, defeating Rockford (9-3-1-1) on Nov. 18 to halt the IceHogs’ 10-game point streak and blanking Central-leading Milwaukee (12-4-1-0) 6-0 on Nov. 27 to end the Admirals’ 11-game point run and franchise-record 10-game winning streak.
Inside the Streak: Over the past eight games, 11 different Griffins have scored a goal and 15 have registered an assist, while Eric Tangradi leads in both categories with seven and 11, respectively…Andreas Athanasiou and Mitch Callahan are tied for second with five goals each in the last eight games…Robbie Russo, Mark Zengerle, Xavier Ouellet and Andy Miele have distributed six assists apiece during the streak…In win number two of the streak, Grand Rapids enjoyed its biggest offensive performance of the season in a 7-4 win over San Diego (9-4-0-1) on Nov. 20, setting a season-best for goals scored…The Griffins recorded their first shutout of the season in win number five, beating Central-leading Milwaukee (12-4-1-0) 6-0 on Nov. 27.
Home Cooking: In addition to the eight-game overall win streak, Grand Rapids has racked up seven straight victories inside Van Andel Arena’s friendly confines, the second-longest home streak in the league this season (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 10 games, Oct. 17-Nov. 28). The Griffins have outscored their visitors by a 30-13 tally during their run.
Stone Wall: Goaltenders Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau have had equal say in the team’s run, as both have posted four-game individual streaks. McCollum stopped a season-high 41 shots in back-to-back appearances (Nov. 28 vs. Lake Erie, Dec. 5 vs. Lake Erie) and has turned away 137 of 142 shots (0.965) during his last four games. Coreau posted the first shutout of the season, executing 22 saves in a 6-0 win over Milwaukee on Nov. 27, and has stopped 117 of 124 shots (0.944) faced over his last four games. Grand Rapids’ defense has stifled opponents, surrendering just six goals over its last six games.
Movin’ On Up: When Nov. 18 dawned, Grand Rapids stood in 15th place and last in the Western Conference with a 0.227 winning percentage. Since that date, which marked the beginning of the Griffins’ current eight-game winning streak, Grand Rapids (0.553) has jumped into the No. 8 spot in the conference, edging out ninth-place San Diego (0.548).
Griffins Leaders: Eric Tangradi (10-6—16) and Andy Miele (4-12—16) continue to pace Grand Rapids in scoring, just ahead of Andreas Athanasiou (6-5—11), Mitch Callahan (6-4—10) and Ryan Sproul (2-8—10).
Making the Grade: Eric Tangradi has accumulated points in seven of the last eight outings (7-4—11), including the last four in a row. His team-leading 10 goals are buoyed by his fourth career hat trick recorded Saturday against Lake Erie and the second posted by a Griffin this season (Tomas Jurco, Nov. 20 vs. San Diego).
Doubling Up: Andreas Athanasiou, known as “Double A,” has been on a tear since the Red Wings reassigned him to the Griffins on Nov. 19. He has registered points in six of seven games in his return (5-4—9). After having totaled just one goal and one assist in his first eight games with Grand Rapids this season, he eclipsed his previous point total in one night with Nov. 20’s three-point outburst (1-2—3) against San Diego, before accounting for both of the Griffins’ goals in their 2-1 win at Chicago on Nov. 21. Athanasiou is on a two-game goal streak after scoring against Chicago and Lake Erie last weekend.
Flying High: Anthony Mantha has tallied five points over his last four games (0-5—5)…Andy Miele and Mark Zengerle each recorded three assists against the Wild on Nov. 25, setting a Griffins season high….Zengerle has registered points in five of the last six games (2-6—8), while Miele has points in four of the last five (2-6—8)…Xavier Ouellet is responsible for four assists the last three games (0-4—4).
Magic Numbers: The Griffins are a perfect 9-0-0-0 when scoring three or more goals and 7-1-0-0 when striking first…Grand Rapids is 5-0-0-0 when leading after one period and 9-1-0-0 when leading after two.
Climbing the Charts: Mitch Callahan and Louis-Marc Aubry became the 16th and 17th players, respectively, in the franchise’s 20 seasons to record 250 regular season games in a Griffins uniform. Callahan reached the plateau in the Nov. 20 contest against San Diego and now stands at 256 games while Aubry reached the milestone Saturday against Lake Erie…Nathan Paetsch’s assist on Friday against Chicago gave him 90 as a Griffin, tying him for ninth place on the all-time assist chart with Gustav Nyquist…Matching a season-best with 41 saves against Lake Erie on Dec. 5, Tom McCollum earned his 92nd win as a Griffin, which ranks second in franchise history behind only Joey MacDonald (109). McCollum, who needs four more appearances to equal MacDonald’s mark of 210, has broken the 5,000-save barrier this season and, with 5,113 stops, stands behind only MacDonald (5,362) in club archives.
November to Remember: After a slow start to this year’s campaign that saw the Griffins finish 1-6-0-0 in October, Grand Rapids bounced back in November with a 7-2-0-1 record, marking its second-most successful November over the last 10 years. The Griffins’ November winning percentage of 0.750 under Todd Nelson was eclipsed in the last decade by only Jeff Blashill’s 0.833 mark (10-2-0-0) during his second month at Grand Rapids’ helm in 2012. Correlating with the team’s recent run has been an increase in offensive production. Posting just 10 goals in seven games in the month of October and getting outscored 24-10, the Griffins lit the lamp 35 times in 10 November games and outscored their foes 35-24.
Paterson Up and Down: The Detroit Red Wings reassigned goaltender Jake Paterson from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye to the Grand Rapids Griffins late Sunday night and reassigned him back to Toledo Tuesday afternoon. Detroit’s second choice (80th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Paterson has appeared in 10 games with the Walleye during his first professional season. The Mississauga, Ontario, native posts a 5-3-1-1 record between the pipes for the division-leading Walleye to go along with 0.922 save percentage and a 2.48 goals against average.
Walleye World: Thanks to a recent 7-0-1-2 run, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye now find themselves atop the standings in the North Division with an 11-5-1-3 record (26 points), ahead of second place Wheeling (11-9-1-1, 24 points). Grand Rapids-contracted Alden Hirschfeld (8-10—18), Red Wings prospect Marek Tvrdon (8-10—18), and former Griffin Shane Berschbach (5-11—16) continue to do the heavy lifting on offense. Rookie netminder Jake Paterson, Detroit’s second pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, shows a 5-3-1-1 record with a 2.48 GAA and 0.922 save percentage as an understudy to former Michigan State Spartan Jeff Lerg (6-2-0-2, 2.04 GAA, 0.924%).
Wednesday, Dec. 9 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (15-6-1-0) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
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