Griffins Face Four Divisional Games

This Week’s Games
GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose // Mon., Jan. 8 // 8 p.m. EST // Bell MTS Place
GRIFFINS at Manitoba Moose // Wed., Jan. 10 // 8 p.m. EST // Bell MTS Place
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AMat 7:35 p.m. both nights
Watch: AHLLive.com    
Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Road, 1-2-0-0 Overall. First and second of four at Bell MTS Place, fourth and fifth of eight overall 
All-Time Series: 23-16-0-0-2 Road, 51-28-1-1-7 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Winnipeg Jets
Noteworthy: Since the Moose rejoined the AHL in 2015-16 following a four-year hiatus, the Griffins are 7-4 against their Central Division counterpart. 

Cleveland Monsters at GRIFFINS // Fri., Jan. 12 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Cleveland Monsters at GRIFFINS // Sat., Jan. 13 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. both nights
Watch: AHLLive.com
Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Home, 2-0-0-0 Overall. Second and third of four at Van Andel Arena, third and fourth of eight overall
All-Time Series: 27-13-1-2 Home, 46-27-4-9 Overall 
NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets
Noteworthy: Grand Rapids outscored Cleveland 10-5 during a two-game weekend sweep on Dec. 29-30.

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Jan. 3    GRIFFINS 4 at Milwaukee Admirals 2    15-15-1-4 (35 points, 6th Central Division)
Fri., Jan. 5    Rockford IceHogs 3 at GRIFFINS 5    16-15-1-4 (37 points, 6th)
Sat., Jan. 6    GRIFFINS 0 at Chicago Wolves 2    16-16-1-4 (37 points, 6th)

Opening Faceoff: The defending Calder Cup champion Griffins had their seven-game point streak and five-game winning streak snapped last Saturday at Chicago. Grand Rapids continues its three-game road trip tonight with its first visit of the season to Winnipeg to play the AHL-leading Manitoba Moose. The Griffins face two of the league’s hottest teams in back-to-back games as Chicago entered Saturday’s matchup on a 13-game point streak and Manitoba has points in 19 of its last 20 games (17-1-1-1). The Griffins conclude their trip on Wednesday at Manitoba and will return to Van Andel Arena for a Friday-Saturday set against the Cleveland Monsters.

Follow the Leaders:
Points: Matt Puempel (13-17—30)
Goals: Matthew Ford (14)
Assists: Ben Street (21)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (64)
Plus-Minus: Filip Hronek (+9)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (12)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.77)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.906) 

Last Week’s Notes: 
Wednesday at Milwaukee: The Griffins have points in six straight regular season matchups against Milwaukee (5-0-1-0)...While scoring the game-winning tally, Corey Elkins potted his 99th career pro goal...Matt Puempel extended his goal streak to four...Puempel has a team-high six points (3-3—6) against the Admirals this season...Grand Rapids has outshot Milwaukee in all five meetings this season...Jared Coreau made 27 saves to record his third straight victory. 
Friday vs. Rockford: Grand Rapids earned its first win of the season against Rockford (1-3-0-3)...The Griffins climbed above the 0.500 mark for the first time since Nov. 14…Ben Street tied a season high with three points (2-1—3) and notched his sixth multi-point game of the season...Rookie Filip Hronekrecorded his second multi-point outing of the year behind a pair of assists…Eric Tangradi scored his second three-point night in the last five games...Matt Lorito has goals in back-to-back games...Matt Puempel logged three assists, his second three-assist game as a Griffin, and pushed his point streak to five...Jared Coreau made 33 saves and earned his fourth straight win...In his last four starts, Coreau has stopped 114-of-124 shots (0.919)...Including the 2-for-4 effort against Rockford, the Griffins have scored two power play goals in three of the last four games...Rookie Dominik Shinescored at 2:03 of the second period and Street added another at 2:28, the fourth time this season Grand Rapids has produced consecutive goals in under 30 seconds. 
Saturday at Chicago: Grand Rapids had its five-game winning streak and seven-game point streak snapped...Kasimir Kaskisuo shut out the Griffins for the second time this season behind 32 saves...He also blanked Grand Rapids on Nov. 3 at Van Andel Arena with 33 saves...Jared Coreau stopped 27-of-28 shots but had his six-game point streak (5-0-1) come to a close...Todd Nelson coached in his 800th game as a head coach.   

This Week’s Promotions: Friday’s game against Cleveland is ‘80s Fauxback Night. What if the Griffins existed in the early 1980s? Take part in this fake throwback – “fauxback” – night as the Griffins will don special-edition jerseys that feature a 1980s-themed logo and will be auctioned off after the game. Also on Friday, fans can enjoy $2 hot dogs and $2 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Saturday against Cleveland is Superhero Night presented by Eikenhout. Additionally on Saturday, the first 2,500 fans will receive a Griffins Calder Cup champions scarf, courtesy of Eikenhout. Fans of all ages will receive a second-edition Griffins comic book, “It Should Have Been Me!” created by local artist Rob O’Neil upon exiting the arena after Saturday’s game. 

Lorito and Puempel Named 2018 AHL All-Stars: The AHL announced last Thursday that the Griffins’ two leading scorers, forwards Matt Lorito and Matt Puempel, have been selected to play for the Central Division All-Star Team at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino, to be held Jan. 28-29 in Utica, N.Y. Lorito, in his third year as a professional, has earned his second All-Star bid in as many seasons in Grand Rapids, joining Gustav Nyquist (2012-2013) as the only Griffins forwards to earn back-to-back AHL selections. The 27-year-old ranks* among the team’s leaders with 10 goals (3rd), 15 assists (2nd) and 91 shots (2nd), and his 25 points are the most by a player in a Griffins uniform this season. Puempel, 24, has tallied 27 points (13-14—27) in 27 AHL games this season, including 24 points (12-12—24) in 22 games with the Griffins since the Red Wings acquired him via trade from the New York Rangers on Oct. 21. He skated in five contests with the Hartford Wolf Pack prior to the trade and posted three points (1-2—3). The 6-foot-1, 205-pound forward’s 24 points and 12 goals are both the second-most by a Griffin this season while his 12 assists are third. Leaguewide, he ties for 17th with 13 goals. *All team and league rankings as of Jan. 4 (day of all-star announcement)

Coreau Recalled, Assigned: The Detroit Red Wings on Sunday recalled goaltender Jared Coreaufrom the Griffins. Coreau served as a backup and did not play in Detroit’s 5-2 loss against Tampa Bay at Little Caesars Arena later that night and then was assigned back to Grand Rapids. 

Team USA: Former Griffin and 2013 Calder Cup champion Chad Billins was named to the 2018 U.S. Olympic Men’s Ice Hockey Team on Jan. 1. Billins, 28, skated in 76 games with the Griffins as a rookie in 2012-13 – his lone season in Grand Rapids – and established a franchise record for most points by a first-year defenseman with 37 (10-27—37). Blueliner Robbie Russo broke Billins’ mark in 2015-16 with 39 points as a rookie. A native of Marysville, Mich., Billins played four seasons (2008-12) at Ferris State University.

Puemped Up: Matt Puempel had his season-high five-game point streak snapped in Saturday’s loss. Five games marked his longest point streak since a seven-game run from Dec. 26, 2015-Jan. 8, 2016 when he was with Binghamton. The fifth-year pro has points in nine of his last 11 games and accumulated 14 points in that span (7-7—14). 

Hot Street: Ben Street has racked up five points (2-3—5) in the last four games and 11 points (2-9—11) in the last nine contests. The eight-year pro’s team-high 21 assists tie for 10th in the league. 

Model Year: Captain Matthew Ford has 10 points (7-3—10) in his last 11 games. His three game-winning, eight power play and 14 overall goals all pace the team while he ties for third in the league in power play goals and 17th in overall tallies.  

Russian Influence: After totaling five points (2-3—5) in his first 27 games of the year, second-year pro Evgeny Svechnikov accumulated four points (3-1—4) during a three-game point streak that lasted Dec. 30-Jan. 3. 

Turg-ON: Second-year pro Dominic Turgeon has tallied 22 points (8-14—22) in 37 games this season and has already bettered his 2016-17 output (6-12—18 in 71 GP).

Whoa, Nelly: Todd Nelson coached in his 800th game as a head coach last Saturday at Chicago. His head coaching career is as follows:
Muskegon (UHL), 2003-06, 149-58-25
Oklahoma City (AHL), 2010-15, 176-111-12-34
Edmonton (NHL), 2014-15, 17-22-7
Grand Rapids (AHL), 2015-present, 107-69-3-10

Inside the Streak: During Grand Rapids’ season-high five-game winning streak from Dec. 29-Jan. 5, the Griffins averaged 4.6 goals for per game and 2.6 goals against, 30.6 shots for and 31.8 shots against, while converting on 6-of-19 power play opportunities (31.6%) and going 17-for-20 (85.0%) on the penalty kill. Matt Puempel led the team with nine points (4-5—9) during the stretch and rookie defenseman Filip Hronek had a team-best plus-seven rating. 

Milestones:
Ben Street: needs four games played to reach 100 as a Griffin
Eric Tangradi: needs eight points to reach 300 as a pro
Corey Elkins: needs one goal to reach 100 as a pro
Matthew Ford: needs two goals to reach 200 as a pro, four games played to reach 600 as a pro
Matt Puempel: needs one game played to reach 200 in the AHL

Wins Leader: Already Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in goaltender games played, minutes and saves, Tom McCollum is two wins shy of tying Joey MacDonald’s franchise record.

Goaltender

Wins

1. Joey MacDonald (2002-07; 10-12)

109

2. Tom McCollum (2009-16; 17-pres.)

107

3. Jimmy Howard (2005-09; 16-17)

93

4. Jared Coreau (2013-pres.)

76

5. Mike Fountain (1999-01)

55

Lashing Out: Ninth-year Griffin and two-time Calder Cup champion (2013, 2017) Brian Lashoffneeds one game played to tie Michel Picard for third on the franchise’s all-time games played list.

Player

Games Played

1. Travis Richards (1996-06)

655

2. Mitch Callahan (2011-17)

365

3. Michel Picard (1996-00; 02-04)

364

T4. Brian Lashoff (2008-13; 14-pres.)

363

T4. Francis Pare (2008-13)

363

6. Nathan Paetsch

359

Repeat Opponents: Starting Dec. 2 at Chicago and concluding Feb. 7 vs. Manitoba, the Griffins play 28 straight games against Central Division foes. Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 89-48-3-7 (0.639) against the Central and hold a +91 scoring margin in those 147 games. 

Manitoba Notes: Grand Rapids and Manitoba have met 88 times since 1996-97 when both were members of the International Hockey League...Since the Moose rejoined the AHL in 2015-16 following a four-year hiatus, the Griffins are 7-4 against their Central Division counterpart, including a 5-2 mark in games at Van Andel Arena…Axel Holmstrom made his AHL debut last April 4 at Manitoba...First-year Griffin Turner Elson scored a career-high four points (1-3—4) in the season opener on Oct. 6…Forward Eric Tangradi, who appeared in 91 games with the Winnipeg Jets between 2012-14, has skated in nine games against the Moose as a member of the Griffins and produced 16 points (7-9—16) and a plus-seven rating…The Moose tagged Grand Rapids for seven goals on Oct. 7 at Van Andel Arena, the most allowed by the Griffins on home ice since April 18, 2015...Manitoba hasn’t lost at home to a team from the Central Division since Oct. 13 vs. Cleveland...Michael Hutchinson was named the AHL Goaltender of the Month for December.  

Manitoba Connections: Defenseman Dylan McIlrath hails from Winnipeg...Chase De Leo, Nic Petan and Dominic Turgeon were teammates with Portland (WHL) from 2011-15 and helped the Winterhawks win the 2012-13 league championship...Eric Tangradi totaled 10 points (4-6—10) and 43 PIM in 91 games with the Winnipeg Jets from 2012-14. 

Cleveland Notes: The last two Calder Cup champions face off this weekend…Grand Rapids outscored Cleveland 10-5 during a two-game weekend sweep on Dec. 29-30…The Griffins have points in 26 of 37 games against the Monsters since the start of the 2014-15 season…Grand Rapids recorded three goals in a 52-second span during the second period on Dec. 29…Matthew Ford and Eric Tangradi scored 12 seconds apart in that period, the fastest consecutive goals by the Griffins this season…Colin Campbell recorded the fastest goal from the start of the game this season when he scored 31 seconds in on Dec. 30…Dominic Turgeon matched a career high with three points (2-1—3) and earned first start honors on Dec. 30…Cleveland has three wins in its last 19 games (3-13-1-2)…Carter Camper leads the Monsters with 22 points (7-15—22) in 33 games…Grand Rapids and Cleveland will meet three times over a four-day period Feb. 1-4.   

Cleveland Connections: A former Michigan Wolverine (1993-97), John Madden is in his second season as the Monsters’ head coach…Madden logged 898 games as a player in the NHL from 1998-2012 and won three Stanley Cups: New Jersey in 2000 and 2003 and Chicago in 2010…Nick Moutrey (2011-15) and Hayden Hodgson (2015-17) both played with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit…Terry Broadhurst and Axel Holmstrom were teammates with Skelleftea AIK in Sweden in 2015-16…Paul Bittner and Dominic Turgeon played together from 2012-16 with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks and helped Portland win the 2012-13 league championship…John Ramage and Ben Street played together at the University of Wisconsin during the 2009-10 season...Head coach Todd Nelson played one season (1992-93) on the shores of Lake Erie for the IHL’s Lumberjacks, totaling 42 points (7-35—42) and 115 penalty minutes in 76 games...Assistant coach Ben Simon is a native of Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb...Captain Matthew Ford spent most of his first three pro seasons (2008-11) with the Monsters, totaling 69 points (39-30—69) in 126 appearances...Street played in 44 games with the Monsters in 2014-15 and accumulated 39 points (9-30—39).  

Up and Down: With a 16-16-1-4 record through 37 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ 16 wins and 21 (including overtime and shootout) losses.

 

GF

GA

PP%

PK%

SF

SA

W (16)

4.88

2.50

31.51%

88.57%

33.13

30.69

L (21)

1.71

3.81

12.35%

81.19%

33.05

30.48

Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive nights:

 

W

L (incl. OT, SO)

GF

GA

PP%

PK%

SF

SA

First Night

5

7

3.67

3.50

25.00%

82.00%

31.17

30.25

Second Night

4

8

2.50

3.42

18.42%

83.93%

30.92

32.08

Third Night

1

2

2.33

2.67

27.27%

85.71%

38.67

31.33

Championship Effects: Since 2001-02, the year Grand Rapids joined the AHL, nine Calder Cup champions have gone on to qualify for the postseason in the following season, including the Griffins, who reached the conference semifinals in 2014 after winning the franchise’s first championship in 2013. Only one team in this 16-year span repeated as champions (Hershey in 2009 and 2010). 

Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye continue to lead the Central Division with a 21-10-2-1 (45 points) record. Erik Bradford (9-17—26) and Christian Hilbrich (13-12—25) lead the team in scoring, while Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski (12-12—24) ties for third. Griffins-contracted Pat Nagle has earned his first all-star selection and will represent Toledo at the 2018 ECHL All-Star Game in Indianapolis on Jan. 15. Nagle leads the league with 16 victories (16-3-2) and ties for 14th with a 2.63 GAA and ties for 19th with a 0.909 save percentage. Red Wings-contracted Matej Machovsky places fourth in the ECHL with a 2.28 GAA and seventh with a 0.921 save percentage while showing a 5-6-1 record.

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