By Jeremy B.
The Griffins played back-to-back home games with the Texas Stars last Friday and Saturday. They lost the opener 3-1 with Thomas McCollum in net but won 3-2 on Saturday with Petr Mrazek notching win #7. Here's what we learned from this series:
1. Petr Mrazek MUST be the #1 goalie heading forward. Check out the numbers:
Mrazek: 7-1, 2.47 GAA, .912 SV%
McCollum: 4-3-1, 2.83 GAA, .896 SV%
2. Riley Sheahan could prove to be a very valuable piece if he's sober. Tinky Winky assisted on the Griffs' first two goals on Saturday and his size and skating ability adds another dimension to Grand Rapids. I've discussed this team's balance and depth before; a healthy Sheahan on the second or third line would be a boon to this team's success.
3. The Midwest Division will be a dogfight. The Griffs (24 points) fell into second in the division and seventh in the conference this weekend, as the Rockford IceHogs (the Blackhawks' affiliate with 25 points) took over first place. The Chicago Wolves (the Canucks' AHL affiliate, 21 points) have been inconsistent and sit in third, while the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville's AHL team, 20 points) occupy fourth place. The Peoria Rivermen (the Blues' AHL team, 16 points) are in last place, but they're only nine points out of first with over 50 games left on the schedule. The battle for the Midwest is on like Donkey Kong.
What's next? The Griffins take on the Rivermen Wednesday night at Van Andel Arena. The preview should be posted by Wednesday around lunchtime. Until then, follow me on twitter @jeremyberen for Griffins musings and other things.