Griffins’ weekly press release: Monsters on tap

Here’s the Grand Rapids Griffins’ weekly press release, ahead of a three-game road trip to Cleveland this week:


This Week’s Games
GRIFFINS at Cleveland Monsters // Thu., Feb. 1 // 7 p.m. // Quicken Loans Arena
GRIFFINS at Cleveland Monsters // Fri., Feb. 2 // 7 p.m. // Quicken Loans Arena
GRIFFINS at Cleveland Monsters // Sun., Feb. 4 // 1 p.m. // Quicken Loans Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 12:35 p.m. on Sunday, SportsTime Ohio on Friday
Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Road, 3-1-0-0 Overall. Fifth, sixth and seventh of eight meetings overall, second, third and fourth of four at Quicken Loans Arena
All-Time Series: 19-14-3-7 Road, 47-28-4-9 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets
Noteworthy: For the first time in franchise history, Grand Rapids will play three consecutive regular season games on the road against the same team.

Last Week’s Results
Sat., Jan. 27    Rockford IceHogs 1 at GRIFFINS 4    22-18-1-4 (49 pts, 5th Central Division)

Opening Faceoff:  The Grand Rapids Griffins have won three straight games, 11 of their last 14 and have points in 13 of the last 16 (12-3-0-1). Grand Rapids places fifth in the Central Division and resumes play on Thursday at the Cleveland Monsters after the AHL all-star break. The Griffins face the Monsters, who rank last in the Western Conference, three times in four days this week.

Follow the Leaders:
Points: Matt Puempel (17-21—38)
Goals: Puempel, Matthew Ford (17)
Assists: Ben Street (26)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (75)
Plus-Minus: Filip Hronek (+13)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (16)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.68)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.908)

Last Week’s Notes:
Saturday vs. Rockford: The Griffins allowed 17 shots, a season-low for an opponent…Grand Rapids has won three straight games against Rockford after going 0-3-0-3 in the season’s first six meetings…Saturday’s capacity crowd of 10,834 was the 171st regular season sellout of Van Andel Arena and the third this season…Jared Coreau earned his 80th career victory as a Griffin…Matt Puempel and Matthew Ford both potted goals and tie for the team lead with 17…Defenseman Brian Lashoff tallied his third goal of the season and it was the game-winner…Evgeny Svechnikov lit the lamp for the sixth time this season…The Griffins scored a power play goal for the fourth straight game.

Deja Vu: The Griffins and Monsters will square off this week three times in just a 66-hour span, with all meetings coming at Quicken Loans Arena. For the first time in franchise history, Grand Rapids will play three consecutive regular season games on the road against the same team. Regardless of location, the Griffins will also be playing the same team three or more times in a row for the 10th time ever, with the last occurrence Nov. 25-30, 2016 against Cleveland (two home, one road).

Coming Up After the Break: In his six full seasons as an AHL head coach, Todd Nelson has led his teams to a winning record after every all-star break, totaling a 104-62-3-18 (0.612) record. Since joining the AHL in the 2001-02 season, the Griffins post a 268-196-22-24 (0.571) record in games played after the all-star break. Grand Rapids has tallied a 0.500 mark or better in each of the last seven seasons after the break, including a 39-24-0-3 (0.614) mark in the last two years.

Wins Leader: Already Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in goaltender games played, minutes and saves, Tom McCollum needs one more victory to surpass Joey MacDonald for the most in franchise history. McCollum has won three of his last four starts and shows a 2.24 GAA and a 0.929 save percentage in that span.



T1. Tom McCollum (2009-16; 17-pres.)


T1. Joey MacDonald (2002-07; 10-12)


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


4. Jared Coreau (2013-pres.)


5. Mike Fountain (1999-01)


All-Star Recap:Matt Lorito and Matt Puempel represented the Griffins and the Central Division at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Turning Stone Resort Casino the last two days. In last night’s All-Star Challenge, Lorito tied for the Central Division team lead with three points (2-1—3) in three games and Puempel logged a pair of goals in three contests. Lorito was playing in his second All-Star Classic in as many seasons in Grand Rapids while Puempel was making his first AHL All-Star appearance. The North Division defeated the Pacific Division by a 1-0 score in the championship game of the All-Star Challenge.

Griffins in the Olympics: Eight former Griffins will be a part of the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang: Dick Axelsson (2009-10), Sweden; Chad Billins (2012-13, 2013 Calder Cup champion), USA; Chris Chelios (2008-09), assistant coach USA; Chris Kelly (2001-02), Canada; Alexey Marchenko (2013-16), Olympic Athletes of Russia; Jan Mursak (2006-07; 08-13, 2013 Calder Cup champion), Slovenia; Jim Paek (assistant coach 2005-14, 2013 Calder Cup champion), head coach Korea; and Brock Radunske (2006-07), Korea.

They Went to Jared: In his last 12 appearances between the pipes, Jared Coreau sports a 9-2-1 record along with a 2.16 GAA and a 0.923 save percentage. His nine victories since Dec. 22 are the most in the AHL while his 16 overall wins on the season tie for sixth.

Sellouts: With a capacity crowd of 10,834 last Saturday, it marked the 171st overall regular season sellout of Van Andel Arena and the third this season. Grand Rapids shows a 91-62-1-2-15 (0.585) all-time record in front of sold-out home crowds.

Special Teams: Grand Rapids is one of four teams to rank in the top 10 for both power play and penalty kill. Grand Rapids’ power play places third at 21.5% and has scored a goal in six of the last seven games, including four straight. The penalty kill ranks eighth at 85.1% and has gone 24-for-26 (92.3%) over the last nine outings.

Repeat Opponents: The Griffins are in the midst of playing 28 straight games against Central Division foes, a stretch that began Dec. 2 at Chicago and will conclude Feb. 7 at Manitoba. Twenty-four games into the spell, Grand Rapids is 14-8-1-1. Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 95-50-3-7 (0.645) against the Central and hold a +103 scoring margin in those 155 games.

Home Sweet Home: Grand Rapids has points in seven of its last nine home games (6-2-1-0), including two straight wins. After this week’s trip to Cleveland, the Griffins will play nine of their next 11 at Van Andel Arena.

On the Road: The Griffins have claimed three consecutive road contests and have points in six of the last seven (5-1-0-1). Axel Holmstrom (2-3—5), Matthew Ford (2-3—5) and Evgeny Svechnikov (0-4—4) all have points in each of the last three games on foreign ice.

Tangoal: Ninth-year pro Eric Tangradi extended his point streak to four games (4-2—6) following a two-assist performance in last Saturday’s victory. Tangradi has four goals in the last four games and five in the last six. In the month of January, Tangradi scored 12 points (7-5—12) to tie Matt Puempel for most on the team and his seven goals tied for fifth in the AHL.

Puemped Up: Following a power play goal in last Saturday’s win, Matt Puempel extended his point streak to a season-high six games (4-4—8), which also ties Matthew Ford for the Griffins’ longest this year. He has scored a goal in four of the last five games. The fifth-year pro has accumulated 17 points (8-9—17) during an 11-game home point streak, which is the longest single-season home streak in the AHL since Tobias Rieder’s 11-game stretch in the 2013-14 campaign. Acquired by the Red Wings via trade on Oct. 21, Puempel has not gone more than three consecutive games in a Griffins uniform without recording a point. He ties Ford for the team lead in goals with 17 and his 38 points tie for 13th in the AHL.

Model Year: Captain Matthew Ford scored his 17th goal of the season – which ties for the team lead – and 201st as a professional in last Saturday’s triumph against Rockford. The 10th-year pro is on pace to surpass his career high of 27 goals, which was set during the 2015-16 season with Bakersfield.

Championship Effects: Seven players from the 2017 Calder Cup championship team have played in the NHL this season: forwards Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit), Kyle Criscuolo (Buffalo), Martin Frk (Detroit), Tomas Nosek (Vegas) and Dominic Turgeon (Detroit), and defensemen Joe Hicketts (Detroit) and Brian Lashoff (Detroit).

Cleveland Notes: Grand Rapids has outscored Cleveland 15-9 this season…The Griffins have points in 27 of 39 games against the Monsters since the start of the 2014-15 season…Cleveland’s 2-1 victory at Van Andel Arena snapped Grand Rapids’ four-game regular season point streak (3-0-0-1) against the Monsters…Matt Puempel (3-2—5), Eric Tangradi (3-2—5) and Dominic Turgeon (3-2—5) lead the Griffins in the season series…The Monsters average a league-low 2.31 goals per game and is the only team in the AHL under 100 goals for the season…Grand Rapids recorded three goals in a 52-second span during the second period on Dec. 29, including Matthew Ford and Eric Tangradi scoring 12 seconds apart, 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…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.

Cleveland Connections: 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…Ben Street played in 44 games with the Monsters in 2014-15 and accumulated 39 points (9-30—39).

Super Bowl Sunday: The Griffins will be playing on Super Bowl Sunday for the second time in team history. The first occurrence came on Feb. 3, 2002 when Grand Rapids lost 2-1 at Chicago, the same day the New England Patriots beat the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Up and Down: With a 22-18-1-4 record through 45 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ 22 wins and 23 (including overtime and shootout) losses.







W (22)







L (23)







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:


L (incl. OT, SO)







First Night









Second Night









Third Night









Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye have points in four straight games and continue to lead the Central Division with a 28-12-2-2 record (60 points). Erik Bradford (10-24—34) leads the team in scoring, while Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski (13-16—29) ties for second. Griffins-contracted and 2018 ECHL All-Star Pat Nagle leads the league with 19 victories (19-4-3) while placing eighth with a 2.47 GAA and 12th with a 0.914 save percentage. Red Wings-contracted Matej Machovsky paces the ECHL with a 2.01 GAA and ranks third with a 0.929 save percentage while showing a 9-7-1 mark.

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.