03/18/2013 2:59 PM
This Week’s Games
Tue., March 19 - GRIFFINS at Peoria Rivermen - 8:05 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., March 22 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., March 23 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., March 13 - Chicago Wolves 2 at GRIFFINS 3 OT - 36-19-2-2, 76 pts. (1st, Midwest Division)
Sat., March 16 - GRIFFINS 1 at Milwaukee Admirals 3 - 36-20-2-2, 76 pts. (1st)
Sun., March 17 - GRIFFINS 2 at Peoria Rivermen 3 OT - 36-20-3-2, 77 pts. (1st)
Rivalry Week: The Griffins entered last week with a four-game winning streak and were able to extend that run to an AHL-best five games with a 3-2 overtime win against Chicago on Wednesday. Landon Ferraro scored a goal in regulation and added the overtime winner and Tomas Tatar scored in his return to Grand Rapids after a month-long stint in the NHL, as the Griffins improved to 6-0 this season against the Wolves to extend their Midwest Division lead. The contest was just one of two home games the Griffins will have in a 13-game stretch (March 10-April 6), as the Griffins began a three-game road trip with a 3-1 loss to Milwaukee on Friday, with Andrej Nestrasil tallying the team’s lone goal. Grand Rapids picked up a point in the second game of the stretch on Sunday after Tatar and Louis-Marc Aubry scored, but the Griffins fell 3-2 to Peoria in overtime, marking their fifth straight loss to the Rivermen.
Double Headers: This week, Grand Rapids will end a double-header against Peoria before a home-and-home set against Lake Erie. After falling 3-2 in overtime to the Rivermen on Sunday, the Griffins will stay in Illinois for a rematch at Carver Arena on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. EDT. The Griffins will return home to host the Monsters on Friday at 7 p.m. before making a visit to Cleveland on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s contest against Lake Erie marks the first of seven consecutive road games for the Griffins, which is the longest road trip of the season.
No Vacation: The Griffins are in the middle of a stretch of 10 of 11 games (March 16-April 6) on the road, as this Friday’s contest versus Lake Erie is their only home game in that stretch. The team will finish up the first part of that stretch on Tuesday, as the Griffins’ rematch against the Peoria Rivermen marks their third straight road game. Following Friday’s home game, Grand Rapids will take on the Monsters in Cleveland on Saturday, beginning a season-high seven-game road trip. The team will return to Grand Rapids following that game, but each of the following six games will be against South Division opponents. The Griffins will take on San Antonio, Houston and Texas over three consecutive days (March 28-30) and return to Houston on April 2, before concluding the trip with back-to-back games in Abbotsford on April 5-6. The team’s next home game is April 10 versus Chicago, the first of four straight at Van Andel Arena to wrap up the regular season home slate.
In the Mix: After earning points in eight of their last 10 games (7-2-1-0), the Griffins now hold an AHL-high 10-point lead on Chicago for first place in the Midwest Division and sit second in the Western Conference. Grand Rapids nearly caught top-seeded Texas after the Stars’ five-game winless streak (0-3-0-2) from Feb. 26-March 8, pulling within two points after their 3-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday. Texas (81 points) pushed its lead back to four points by picking up three of a possible four points over the weekend, while the Griffins (77 points) picked up just one point following a loss to Milwaukee on Saturday and an overtime loss to Peoria on Sunday. Grand Rapids, which still holds one game in hand on Texas, is currently tied for fifth overall in the AHL, also trailing the Eastern Conference’s Syracuse (82 points), Providence (81 points) and Binghamton (80 points). Charlotte and Springfield also stand at 77 points.
Nyquist Returns: The Griffins were without the services of Gustav Nyquist for all three of their games last week, but the skilled sophomore was assigned to Grand Rapids on Monday and returns to find himself still leading the AHL in scoring with 60 points (23-37—60) in 57 games. Nyquist is two points up on Syracuse’s Tyler Johnson (32-26—58), who spent the weekend the parent Tampa Bay Lightning, and Hershey’s Jeff Taffe (18-40—58). The Halmstad, Sweden, native is tied for fourth in the league with 37 assists and for third with 25 power play points. He appeared in two games with the Red Wings in his most recent call-up, picking up an assist on Wednesday at Calgary to give him eight points (1-7—8) in 22 career NHL games.
Friday Promotions: Friday’s game versus Lake Erie is ‘90s Night. Fans can relive the 1990s throughout the night in their best ‘90s attire, as in-game music, contests and videos from the decade will be featured all night long. The Griffins will wear special throwback jerseys that replicate the organization’s original sweater worn from 1996-2002. The jerseys will be autographed and auctioned to the public in the Fifth Third Bank Vault restaurant after the game, benefitting PennyBen and the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge. Other popular promotions on Friday include $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last, and complimentary fare on the Rapid busses to and from the game by presenting your ticket. Visit ridetherapid.org for schedule information, routes and maps. The game is also another College Night, presented by H&R Block. College students can show their ID to purchase an upper bowl ticket for $13 (or $11 in advance at The Zone) and stop by the McFadden’s concourse table to receive a free pass to the post-game party at McFadden's. Finally, every Friday night is a Griffins WGRD D-Zone night. Fans can avoid the concession lines and have $1 beers and $1 hot dogs served to their seats. Call (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit griffinshockey.com/dzone to get tickets today.
Redemption Wednesday: All fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ 3-2 overtime win over the Chicago Wolves last Wednesday can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the final Wednesday game of the season, April 10 versus Chicago. Tickets can be redeemed at The Zone during business hours (M-F 10-6; Sat. 10-2) and at the box office the night of April 10. The Griffins have now won four straight Amway Winning Wednesday games.
Home Cooking: The Griffins’ 3-2 overtime victory over Chicago on Wednesday improved the team to 8-1 at home since Feb. 2, their best stretch at Van Andel Arena since the 2009-10 season. That season, Grand Rapids started the year 8-0 at home (Oct. 23-Nov. 13, 2009) before suffering its first home loss on Nov. 14 and improving to 9-1 with a victory on Nov. 20. The Griffins’ 20 home wins are third in the AHL only to Toronto’s 23 and Providence’s 21.
Top of the Pack: Grand Rapids currently holds a 10-point lead in the Midwest Division, which is the largest division lead in the AHL. However, the 16 points that separate the first-place Griffins from the fifth-place Peoria Rivermen make the Midwest Division the tightest in the league. The Griffins were able to extend their division lead over Chicago last week, as the Wolves sit 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 games to bring them to 67 points. However, both Milwaukee and Rockford have mounted a late push to overtake Chicago, both sitting at 66 points (and identical 7-3-0-0 records over their last 10 games), with Milwaukee riding a four-game winning streak. The Rivermen, who have defeated the Griffins in five straight meetings, are still alive with 61 points.
Blink of an Eye: Landon Ferraro’s goal just 18 seconds into the overtime session in the Griffins’ 3-2 win over Chicago on Wednesday was the fastest overtime goal in franchise history. The previous mark of 22 seconds was set by Petr Schastlivy on Dec. 12, 2001 at Utah, and it also tied the record for fastest overtime goal in a game involving the Griffins, set by Chicago’s Bill Sweatt on Feb. 15, 2012. Additionally, Ferraro became just the ninth player in franchise history to score more than one overtime goal in a career, joining Brian Lashoff, Rob Collins, Brian Helmer, Doug Janik, Donald MacLean, Kip Miller, and the only two players to have more than two overtime goals: Kevin Miller (3) and Jiri Hudler (4). Ferraro’s first overtime tally came on Nov. 29, 2011 at Toronto.
OT Thrillers: After playing a league-high six overtime games in the first 14 games of the season and another four during an eight-game stretch from Dec. 22-Jan. 9, the Griffins went 18 straight games without playing past regulation from Jan. 23-March 13. The streak ended with Wednesday’s 3-2 overtime win against Chicago, but extra session was short-lived, as Landon Ferraro tipped Brett Skinner’s shot past Matt Climie just 18 seconds into overtime. The 18-game regulation-only stretch was the team’s longest since a 29-game run from Jan. 18-March 26, 2008. Grand Rapids has been strong in extra time this season, as its 0.643 post-regulation winning percentage (9-0-3-2) is tied for fifth in the league. Only Wilkes-Barre Scranton (0.786), Rockford (0.778), Norfolk (0.688) and Providence (0.667) have been better after 60 minutes of play. The Griffins also hold the highest shootout percentage in the league (0.405) and the fourth-best shootout save percentage (0.771).
More League Leaders: Gustav Nyquist has an AHL-leading 60 points (23-37—60) in 57 games, tying for third in the league with 37 assists and for second with 25 power play points…Landon Ferraro leads the circuit with six shorthanded points (3-3—6)…Petr Mrazek ranks among the league’s top goaltenders with a 2.26 goals against average (T7th), a 0.919 save percentage (T12th), 21 wins (T7th) and three shootout victories (T7th)…Riley Sheahan is tied for 11th among AHL rookies with 35 points (16-19—35) in 59 contests and is tied for fifth among first-year players with a plus-15 rating…Chad Billins is tied for 16th among rookies and for 10th among defensemen 32 points (7-24—32) in 61 games. He’s also the only player in the league to have a perfect three-for-three conversion in shootouts.
Motown Update: Joakim Andersson has seven points (3-4—7) in 19 games with Detroit and is tied for fourth on the team with a plus-six rating…Brian Lashoff has four points and an average ice time of 17:58 in 24 games with the Red Wings…Assigned by Detroit on Monday, Gustav Nyquist has eight points (1-7—8) in 22 career games with the Red Wings after recording an assist with the team on Wednesday at Calgary. Detroit is in action this week at home versus Minnesota on Wednesday and on the road against Anaheim on Friday and Sunday.
Milestone Tracker: Tom McCollum’s next win will be his 42nd in a Griffins uniform, breaking a tie with Ian Gordon and giving him sole possession of sixth place all time…Brett Skinner’s next game will be his 350th AHL contest…Brennan Evans is three games shy of 700 in the AHL…Gustav Nyquist is three goals shy of 50 as a pro…Adam Almquist is two assists away from 50 as a pro…Nathan Paetsch is two points from 200 as a pro…Francis Pare, who will skate in his 350th game as a Griffin with his next appearance, is two goals shy of becoming the second Griffin to reach 100 goals. His assist on Sunday at Peoria gave him 130 as a Griffin, which tied Derek King for fourth place all time.
Walleye Watch: The Toledo Walleye will play four games in five nights for the second consecutive week as the ECHL enters the last two weeks of the regular season. With just three seeds clinched in the Western Conference, the Walleye hold a six-point lead on the eighth and final playoff spot with a 33-24-5-4 record, sitting just four points out of fourth place…Willie Coetzee has points in nine of the team’s last 13 games and leads Toledo with 58 points (24-34—58) in 58 games…Trevor Parkes continues to flourish at the ECHL level, sitting 13th on the Walleye after just 13 games with 22 points (11-11—22)…Gleason Fournier has a goal and a plus-seven rating in 14 games with the Walleye…Jordan Pearce sports a 15-10-2-1 record with a 2.71 goals against average, a 0.901 save percentage and two shutouts in 29 appearances for Toledo this season…Toledo hosts Evansville on Wednesday, visits Kalamazoo on Friday and hosts Reading for back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.
Tue., March 19 at Peoria Rivermen (27-28-4-3) – Carver Arena – 8:05 p.m. EDT
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 20-25-4-2 Overall, 13-11-1-1 Road. Season Series: 2-3-2-0 Overall, 2-1-1-0 Road. Eighth of 10 meetings overall, fifth of five in Peoria. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Dave Allison (1st season). Notes: The Griffins have lost five straight games (0-3-2-0) to the Rivermen (Dec. 5-March 17)…T.J. Hensick leads Peoria with 54 points (16-38—54) in 62 games, which ranks ninth in the league…Rivermen forward Derek Nesbitt is fourth in the AHL with 198 shots…Peoria’s Mike McKenna is tied for 18th in the AHL with a 2.48 goals against average and 14th with a 0.917 save percentage…The Rivermen average 14.11 penalty minutes per game, the seventh-lowest total in the AHL…Peoria will play 10 of its final 14 games at home, where it is 15-9-1-3…The Rivermen have struggled on the power play, sitting 27th in the league at 11.6 percent…Peoria has allowed 10 shorthanded goals, tying for the second-highest total in the AHL…The Rivermen average 2.44 goals per game, the fifth-lowest number in the league…Peoria head coach Dave Allison was the first-ever Griffins head coach, sporting a 70-55-19 record from 1996-98…Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans spent the past two seasons with Peoria, registering 21 points (5-16—21) and 238 penalty minutes.
Fri., March 22 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (27-27-2-7) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., March 23 at Lake Erie Monsters – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
TV: MY 43 The Block WUAB (Cleveland) at 7:30 p.m. (Sat.) Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:10 p.m. (Sat.) Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 24-13-2-4 Overall, 16-6-0-0 Home, 8-7-2-4 Road. Season Series: 3-0-0-0 Overall, 2-0-0-0 Home, 1-0-0-0 Road. Fourth and fifth of six meetings overall, third of three in Grand Rapids, second of three in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Dean Chynoweth (1st season). Notes: Lake Erie has lost four straight and has won just three of its last 18 games (3-10-0-5), dating back to Feb. 1…The Monsters haven’t won on the road since Jan. 19, going 0-4-0-3 in that stretch…Lake Erie’s top two scorers are Andrew Agozzino (16-27—43 in 63 games played) and Mike Sgarbossa (17-25—42 in 46 games played), who rank fourth and fifth in AHL rookie scoring, respectively…Sgarbossa has the AHL’s second-best shooting percentage at 23.6 percent…All four goalies who have suited up for the Monsters this season (Calvin Pickard, Sami Aittokallio, Kent Patterson and Kieran Millan) are AHL rookies…Pickard ranks 20th in the AHL with a 2.55 goals against average and is tied for 19th with a 0.916 save percentage…Lake Erie’s top scoring defensemen, Thomas Pock (10-19—29 in 57 games played) and Tyson Barrie (7-22—29 in 38 games played), are tied for 14th in the league among blueliners…The Monsters own the league’s 10th-best power play at 18.1 percent…Griffins defenseman Brett Skinner had 28 points (3-25—28) in 73 games with Lake Erie in 2009-10.