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10/16/2006 4:01 PM - Griffins Continue Eight-Game Homestand Friday and Saturday

This Week’s Games
Fri., Oct. 20 - Houston Aeros at GRIFFINS - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Sat., Oct. 21 - Houston Aeros at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results

Fri., Oct. 13 - GRIFFINS 4 at Toronto Marlies 2 - 2-0-1-0, 5 pts. (2nd, North Division)   

Sat., Oct. 14 - Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights 4 at GRIFFINS 3 - 2-1-1-0, 5 pts. (T2nd)   

Houston Twosome: One of the Griffins’ long-time rivals, the Houston Aeros, will invade Van Andel Arena this Friday and Saturday for their only two visits of the season. Friday’s game, which features a special start time of 8 p.m. due to a private event at the arena earlier in the day, marks the first Student Night of the season. All college and high school students can purchase a lower bowl ticket for only $10 with a valid student ID. Fans can also purchase the Wendy’s Family Four Pack, which includes four single combos from Wendy’s and four Griffins tickets for just $44. Saturday is P.O.D.S. Magnetic Schedule Night, when fans will find out what is inside the mystery P.O.D. located on the Van Andel Arena plaza. Fans can submit their guess through for a chance to win a weekend getaway for two at Grand Traverse Resort.

Settle In: The eight-game homestand that began Saturday is the second-longest in Grand Rapids history, trailing only a nine-game stand (4-4-1-0) from Oct. 26-Nov. 18, 2004.

Good Night: Saturday’s capacity crowd at Van Andel Arena marked the 11th opening night sellout for the Griffins in as many seasons, as well as the franchise’s 110th sellout all time. Of the 52 AHL games that have been played thus far - including home openers for 23 of the 27 teams – Grand Rapids’ crowd of 10,834 on Saturday stands as the second-largest in the league. Only Chicago's opener on Saturday drew a larger audience (12,128).

Bad Knight: The Griffins’ 4-3 defeat to Omaha on Saturday marked both their first regulation loss of the season and their first-ever loss to the Knights (4-1-0-0). It also broke their streak of three straight victories in home openers, dropping their all-time record in Van Andel Arena debuts to 7-4.

Road Life’s Not so Bad: With five of a possible six points already gained on foreign ice, Grand Rapids will not play another road game until Nov. 7 – Election Day – at Manitoba. Oddly, the Griffins’ impressive 2-0-1-0 mark only ties for the sixth-best road start in franchise history, as they started 3-0 on the road in both prior seasons and in five of the previous six campaigns (05-06, 04-05, 02-03, 01-02, 00-01). Last season, the Griffins fell one win short of the franchise record for road victories, posting a 25-14-0-1 mark in enemy territory.

Record for Filppula: In Friday’s win at Toronto, Valtteri Filppula registered an assist in his eighth straight regular season appearance with the Griffins, setting a franchise record for longest assist streak. He had ended the 2005-06 campaign on a seven-game assist run, tying the mark held by Bryan Helmer, Derek King and Michel Picard.

Nearly Perfect: Grand Rapids’ penalty killers began the season by denying their opponents’ first 20 power play opportunities before the Marlies’ Marc Moro converted his team’s third attempt last Friday. The Griffins currently rank second in the AHL in penalty killing at 93.5% (29-for-31).

Power Supply: After leading the AHL in power play goals (120) and percentage (21.8%) last year, the Griffins have capitalized on 6-of-25 chances this season, placing them eighth in the league at 24.0%. Grand Rapids has scored at least one goal with the advantage in all four games this season.

Streaky Play: Matt Ellis (2-1—3) and Dan Smith (0-3—3) both started the season with three-game point streaks, while Krys Kolanos (2-3—5) pushed his streak to four games with an assist in Saturday’s loss to Omaha. 

A First Time for Everything: Danny Syvret’s goal in Toronto on Friday was the first lamp-lighter of his two-year career, coming in his 65th AHL game and his 75th pro contest…Jonathan Ericsson’s assist against the Marlies marked his first point in his first game in North America.

Milestones for Miller: Kip Miller’s goal Friday at Toronto marked his 100th AHL goal in his 251st league contest. With 52 goals as a Griffin, he has passed Ed Patterson (51) into ninth place on the team’s all-time goals list, and his 139 points in a Grand Rapids uniform move him past Tomas Kopecky (138) for fifth all time. His 17 power play goals as a Griffin tie for eighth all time and put him within one of his brother Kevin (18) for seventh on the team’s list.

Moving Up: Jimmy Howard earned his first win of the season on Friday, denying 33 of 35 Marlies shots for the 4-2 victory. His 28 career wins tie Mathieu Chouinard for seventh on the Griffins’ list and place him one behind Jani Hurme’s 29.

Double Your Pleasure: Four Griffins have recorded multi-point games thus far, including Krys Kolanos (0-2—2 at SAN on 10/6), Matt Hussey (0-2—2 at TOR on 10/13), Josh Langfeld (1-1—2 at SAN on 10/6) and Brendan Brooks (1-1—2 at HOU on 10/7).

Get Your Programs: Of the 22 players to play for the Griffins so far in 2006-07, only eight were members of Grand Rapids’ 2005-06 AHL regular season champions.

Scouting Report

Fri., Oct. 20 vs. Houston Aeros (0-4-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 8 p.m.
Sat., Oct. 21 vs. Houston Aeros – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:59 p.m. (Fri.) and 7 p.m. (Sat.) Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Second and third of four meetings overall, first and second of two in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 28-21-6-1-5 Overall, 15-9-2-1-2 Home. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Rob Daum (2nd season). Notes: At 0-4-0-1, the Aeros are off to their worst start since they went 0-6 out of the gate in the 1995-96 IHL season…Grand Rapids took the first clash by a 3-1 count in Houston on Oct. 7…After meeting three times in the season’s first six games, the Griffins and Aeros will play just once more, Nov. 26 in Houston…Grand Rapids had a 0.500 or better record last season against every team except Houston (1-2-0-1)…The Aeros’ power play ranks next-to-last in the AHL at a paltry 6.5% (3-for-46).

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