GRAND RAPIDS, MI- The Griffins are coming off of their holiday break getting ready for another three-in-three weekend. Grand Rapids enter the week having split three out of six possible points. Here’s everything you need to know from the week that was going into the new week.
A Look Back
They blew a three-goal lead to the Chicago Wolves on Thursday afternoon, losing the contest 5-4. The defending champs came back Saturday night to beat the Iowa Wild in a shootout, 3-2 and then earned a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Rockford IceHogs. Captain Matt Ford played hero twice as he scored the game-tying goal against both Iowa and Rockford. The goal against the Hogs came with 1.7 seconds remaining the in the final period. Grand Rapids will be hosting the Cleveland Monsters on Friday night before making their first trip of the season to Cleveland on Saturday night. The Monsters currently hold a record of 9-13-5 and sit in last place in the Central Division just below the Griffins who are 11-15-5 and are holding the sixth spot in the Division. The Griffins will return home Sunday evening for their annual New Year’s Eve game and will do battle with the Milwaukee Admirals. Milwaukee beat the Griffins on December 16th in overtime 2-1.
Another three-in-three Weekend
The Griffins are getting ready for their third three-in-three series in the month of December. Their first set, taking place Dec. 8-10, did not fare so well as the Griffins could not muster up much offense. Rockford came into Grand Rapids and beat the Griffins 4-1 and then the Hogs hammered the Griffins the following night, 7-2 in Rockford. On Sunday, Dec.10, the Griffins fell to the Wild 2-1. This previous three-game set fared a little bit better for the defending champs as they were able to come away with three points. This weekend coming up with marks the first time that the Griffins and Cleveland Monsters have played each other this season. The Griffins will have one more three-in-three series this season taking place March 23-25.
Captain Matt Ford now leads the Griffins in goals with 12. His game-tying goal on Saturday in Rockford extended his point streak to five consecutive games and pushed his goal streak to four games. Ben Street is finally starting to find his groove after a cold start to the season. Street has collected eight points in his previous six games. Street now leads the team in helpers with 17. Street and Matt Lorito are tied for the most points on the team for the month of December with nine.
Evgeny Svechnikov is still struggling to find his way this season. The second-year pro was expected to put up good numbers this season after coming off of a solid rookie campaign. Through 26 games this season, Svechnikov has five points (2-3-5) and 29 penalty minutes.
The Griffins are getting to take on the Cleveland Monsters for the first time this season putting the previous two Calder Cup Champs against each other. The Monsters will make the trip to West Michigan tomorrow night for a 7 P.M. puck drop. Grand Rapids will travel to Cleveland for Saturday night rematch against the Monsters. Both teams have struggled so far this season. The Griffins are currently in sixth place in the seven-team Central Division while the Monsters are sitting dead last in the Division. On Sunday evening, the Griffins will conclude their three-in-three weekend slate when they host the Milwaukee Admirals for their New Year’s Eve game. The Griffins have played Milwaukee pretty well this season so far holding a record of 2-0-1 against their longtime Division rival. The Admirals currently have a record of 15-12-3 and are in fourth place in the Central Division.
Reinforcements may be on the way
Turner Elson and Matt Puempel were a major part of the Griffins offense earlier this season. Puempel has missed the previous seven games while Elson has missed the last nine games. Elson has 14 points on the season (8-6-14) while Puempel remains second on the team with 21 (9-12-21). Both are expected to be back this weekend.
Bertuzzi in Detroit
Tyler Bertuzzi played in his third game of the season last night for the Detroit Red Wings. He is getting quite a bit of ice time averaging just over 13 minutes per game. The forward collected his first NHL point while assisting on a goal from Justin Abdelkader.