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11/27/2006 3:07 PM - Rochester Carries 16-2-1-0 Record Into Weekend Set

This Week’s Games
Wed., Nov. 29    Hamilton Bulldogs at GRIFFINS    7 p.m.    WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks

Fri., Dec. 1    Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS    6:30 p.m.    WOOD/B2

Sat., Dec. 2    Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS    7 p.m.    WOOD/B2

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Nov. 24    Chicago Wolves 4 at GRIFFINS 6    7-9-2-1, 17 pts. (T3rd, North Division) 

Sat., Nov. 25    GRIFFINS 5 at San Antonio Rampage 3    8-9-2-1, 19 pts. (T3rd)   

Sun., Nov. 26    GRIFFINS 1 at Houston Aeros 6    8-10-2-1, 19 pts. (4th)   

Two Shots at the Top: Following Wednesday’s visit by the rising Hamilton Bulldogs, the Griffins will welcome the Rochester Americans to town for a pair of tilts this Friday and Saturday. One year after missing the playoffs, the Amerks own the best record in the AHL at 16-2-1-0 and possess a 12-point lead atop the North Division. Grand Rapids nearly toppled Rochester on Oct. 25 at Van Andel Arena, as the Griffins took a 3-2 lead into the final eight minutes. However, Rochester tied the score with 7:55 remaining and won it on a power play goal with just 11 seconds left. That heartbreaking loss broke the Griffins four-game winning streak and seven-game point streak against the Americans on home ice.

Much to Cheer About: Friday’s game against Rochester will feature the Griffins’ first-ever 6:30 p.m. start, to accommodate a doubleheader of AHL and college hockey action. At the conclusion of a post-game concert by Christian rock band The Effort, local rivals Calvin and Hope will faceoff in a renewal of their bitter feud. It’s another Student Night, as all college and high school students can purchase a lower bowl ticket for only $10 with a valid student ID. Finally, the Wendy’s Friday Family Four Pack offers four small single combos from Wendy’s and four Griffins tickets for $44. On Saturday, prior to the annual Scout Night, Drake Bell of Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh” show will make a special appearance, thanks to Krakus Foods. He will greet fans and sign autographs for one hour prior to the game and give a live on-ice performance during the first intermission.

Just Like Old Times: At the ripe young age of 37, Kip Miller is enjoying yet another stellar season in a Griffins uniform. After assisting Darryl Bootland’s game-winning goals on both Friday and Saturday and posting three points (2-1—3) against San Antonio, he is tied for 11th in the AHL scoring race with 23 points (10-13—23). Averaging 1.10 points per game – just above his team-record career average of 1.09 – Miller is on pace to enjoy an 87-point campaign, which would rank fifth on the Griffins’ single-season chart. He needs two assists for 700 as a pro and two goals for 400 as a pro, and needs just one assist to become just the fifth Griffin to reach 100.

Striking Oil: The Edmonton Oilers today recalled defenseman Danny Syvret from the Griffins, who also released defenseman Gerry Burke from his professional tryout. Syvret, 21, leads all Grand Rapids blueliners with three goals and nine points in 21 games. The Oilers’ third choice (81st overall) in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, he made his NHL debut with Edmonton last season, going scoreless with six penalty minutes in 10 games. Syvret will be available to play for Edmonton on Tuesday when the Anaheim Ducks visit Rexall Place at 9 p.m. EST. Should he make an appearance, he will become the 82nd Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL. The 24-year-old Burke returns to the ECHL’s Toledo Storm after making his Griffins debut in two games over the weekend.

A Real Winner: Darryl Bootland scored the game-winning goal in both victories this weekend, the 13th and 14th game-winners of his Griffins career. Saturday’s marker pushed him past Jiri Hudler and Kevin Miller into second on the franchise’s all-time list. Bootland now trails leader Michel Picard (26) by 12.

Whacking the Wolves: The Griffins’ four-goal second period on Friday against the Wolves was their most prolific frame this season…Jonathan Ericsson scored his first two North American goals in that second stanza for the first multi-point game of his pro career, which began in the Swedish Elite League in 2003-04…Grand Rapids notched six goals after being held to a total of six in its previous four home contests…The six goals tied the Griffins’ season-high (6-2 vs. PHI on Oct. 28), and their 5-1 lead in the third period marked their first four-goal cushion since Nov. 3…The Wolves suffered just their second regulation loss in a span of 12 games and only their second defeat in 12 road games this season…Chicago center Cory Larose was suspended for three games by the AHL for the match penalty he incurred for his brutal attack on Kyle Quincey at the final buzzer.

Reversal of Fortune: After totaling 11 goals during their seven-game losing streak (0-6-1-0 from Nov. 7-18), the Griffins scored 11 times in their weekend wins over Chicago (6-4 on Friday) and San Antonio (5-3 on Saturday).

Unfamiliar Territory: At 8-10-2-1 (0.452), the Griffins have a losing record 21 games into a season for the first time since the 1998-99 campaign, when they started 8-11-2…Grand Rapids’ recent seven-game skid (0-6-1-0) was its longest since a franchise-record nine-game slide (0-8-0-1) from Dec. 17, 2004-Jan. 8, 2005.

Special Situations: The Griffins’ three power play goals Friday versus Chicago were their most since the Oct. 6 season opener at San Antonio…Grand Rapids’ opponents have scored with the advantage in each of the last 11 games, going 18-for-76 (23.7%). The franchise record for consecutive games allowing a power play goal is 12, set from Feb. 4-March 5, 2005.

Bruin Happiness: Moments after Matt Hussey scored the Griffins’ first goal against Chicago on Friday, a cascade of 1,200 stuffed animals rained down onto the ice in the team’s annual Teddy Bear Toss. The toys have been donated to Hug-A-Bears of Kent County.

Scouting Report

Wed., Nov. 29 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (10-8-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: First of 10 meetings overall, first of five in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 12-8-1-0-1 Overall, 6-3-1-0-1 Home. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Don Lever (2nd season). Notes: Following a 2-6 start, the Bulldogs have posted an 8-2-0-1 mark during November…Netminder Jaroslav Halak leads the AHL in GAA (1.44), save percentage (0.952) and shutouts (3)…Former Griffins Eric Manlow (2004-06), Danny Groulx (2002-05) and Patrick Traverse (1996-97) play for Hamilton.

Fri., Dec. 1 vs. Rochester Americans (16-2-1-0) – Van Andel Arena – 6:30 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 2 vs. Rochester Americans – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:10 p.m. (Fri.) and 6:40 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Second and third of eight meetings overall, second and third of four in Grand Rapids. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 10-8-1-0-0 Overall, 6-3-1-0-0 Home. NHL Affiliations: Buffalo Sabres, Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Randy Cunneyworth (7th season). Notes: Both of the Amerks’ regulation losses were shutouts, giving them a 16-0-1-0 record when scoring a goal…No Rochester player has a minus rating this season…The Americans’ top scorer, Clarke MacArthur (9-12—21), is only tied for 19th in the league and their special teams have been average (11th PK, 16th PP), but they’ve allowed an AHL-low 46 goals behind highly ranked Craig Anderson (2.23 GAA – 3rd, 0.925% - 4th) and Adam Dennis (2.50 GAA – 11th, 0.929% - 2nd)…Of the eight meetings this season, the first four will take place in Grand Rapids and the last four in New York.

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