By: JOE OBRYCKI, STAFF REPORTER
The Grand Rapids Griffins had a week full of splits. Tuesday night brought most of the Griffins across the state to Plymouth, MI to split up and play for either Team Red or Team White for a free scrimmage game put on by the Detroit Red Wings at Compuware Arena.
Wednesday and Thursday nights saw Grand Rapids travel to Charlotte to take on the Checkers for back-to-back games, each team taking one game for a split.
Tuesday nights Red vs. White scrimmage with the big league club was a free event for fans that saw not an empty seat in Compuware Arena. Griffins’ players suited up with both sides and had a big impact on the game.
Four different current Grand Rapids players scored goals in the scrimmage; Trevor Parkes, Jeff Hoggan, Louis-Marc Aubry, and Nathan Paetsch each netted a goal. The fans were also treated to a shootout after the game and defenseman Brendan Smith, recently recalled to the Red Wings, scored to help Team White win the shootout 3-0.
The Griffins were back to work the next night as they traveled to Charlotte to take on the Checkers. Wednesday night’s game saw the Checkers edge the Griffins 1-0, even though they were outshot 28-17 by Grand Rapids.
Luke Pither of Charlotte dropped in the only goal of the game, and his first of the year, almost halfway through the first period. Checkers goalie, Justin Peters, shutout the Griffins stopping all twenty-eight shots he faced.
Grand Rapids bounced back against Charlotte the very next night scoring five goals on forty-one shots. The Griffins defense did give up three goals on only seventeen shots by the Checkers. Charlotte took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Griffins offense was too strong on Thursday night scoring four goals in the last two periods, three of the four in the third period.
Saturday night saw a bench clearing brawl and even a goaltender fight broke out in an 11-6 Griffins win over the Rockford IceHogs. This week brings a long road trip to an end as the Griffins have three games at Van Andel Arena against two teams, the Oklahoma City Barons and two games with the Houston Aeros.
Grand Rapids still sits six points ahead of Rockford for the division lead with 48 points.
Three Griffins were selected to the Western Conference AHL All-Star Team. Defenseman Chad Billins, left wing Gustav Nyquist, and goaltender Petr Mrazek will suit up for the All-Star team on Monday, January 28 in Providence.