This will be the third meeting of the season between the Ads and Griffins. Round I saw the Ads ruin the Griffins home opener and their Calder Cup Champions banner raising ceremony by winning 3-2. Round II took place just one week ago and the Ads won at home 2-1. Video highlights time!
In the game last week Magnus Hellberg was outstanding in net. The lone goal he conceded from 29 Griffins shots on goal only just squeaked past him on the near post. The Griffins play with tremendous speed and energy from start to finish. While the Ads defense stepped up with a great night in neutral ice slowing the Griffins attack down – it still took a great night by Hellberg to seal the victory.
Considering Hellberg played last night against the loss to the Abbotsford Heat.. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ads countered in the two-in-two with Scott Darling in net. Darling’s last outing was a 32-save shutout performance in Iowa. Should the Ads look to give him the nod in the second game of a doubleheader it would be interesting to see how he follows up his last outing.
Rather than continuing my praise of Griffins forward Gustav Nyquist in these Grand Rapids scouting reports (he still leads the team in points: 7 G, 14 A, 21 pts) let’s look at some numbers that could make a difference in this game.
Special teams numbers in this match up are high octane. The Griffins power-play is 15-79 (19%) overall. Yet, the Griffins power-play is much sharper at home than on the road: 6-18 (33.3%). Similarly, the Admirals have an overall power-play of 14-79 (17.7%). Yet, they find far more success on the power-play on the road going 9-43 (20.9%). Two of those power-play goals came from Anthony Bitetto in the first meeting between the Ads/Griffins in Grand Rapids. When these two get the chance of a man-advantage in a game like this the PK units will in for a long night.
Speaking of the penalty kill, the Griffins and Ads match up well here too. The Griffins overall kill rate is 81.9% and the Admirals is 83.6%. Griffins do appear to fair much worse on the PK at home, 73.9%, but have killed off 13 consecutive power-play chances at home – including two-straight home games without allowing a power-play goal.
Sissons leads the season match-up between the Ads/Griffins in points with two goals and an assist. He currently leads the Ads in points (13) and goals (7). He has also scored a goal ‘every other game’ since the finale on the road against the Texas Stars. That trend continued last night with him not scoring a goal. Perhaps he continues it and extends his scoring lead in this head-to-head.
Jurco is currently second on the Griffins in points (19) behind that Nyquist bloke. He has scored a team best 9 goals. His last two games he has scored a hat-trick against the IceHogs and posted a goal and an assist against the Wolves. Simply put: he’s so hot right now.
Who do you have winning this one? Can the Ads continue their winning ways over the Griffins this year? Who do you think will get the start in net for the Admirals? Who needs to step up? Who do you have scoring goals in this meeting?