Seven points separate the Grand Rapids Griffins and Rockford IceHogs in the Western Conference standings as the teams prepare to face each other tonight in a 7:05 p.m. CST matchup.
• Grand Rapids Griffins: 20-10-1-2, 43 pts/33 GP — 103 GF, 88 GA, 7-2-0-1 in last ten games, 3rd in Western Conference
• Rockford IceHogs: 17-16-1-1, 36 pts/35 GP — 106 GF, 105 GA, 4-5-1-0 in last ten games, 11th in Western Conference
The Griffins have won seven of their last nine games but are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Milwaukee Admirals on January 6. They haven’t lost two consecutive games since suffering losses to Peoria and Toronto on December 14 and 16.
Leading the way for Grand Rapids is right wing Gustav Nyquist, who has 32 points (12-20) in 33 games. Nyquist is also tied for the team lead in plus/minus, with a plus-10. Riley Sheahan and Brennan Evans are also tied for the lead in that statistic.
Rockford looks to end a three-game losing streak tonight, having lost to Grand Rapids, Hamilton and Toronto dating back to December 31. The team’s last win came over Milwaukee on December 29 in a 4-1 victory.
Center Martin St. Pierre leads the IceHogs with 31 points (14-17) in 35 games. Left winger Brandon Bollig leads the team with 157 penalty minutes, while St. Pierre also leads the team in plus/minus.
Landon Ferraro’s three shorthanded goals are second-best in the league, behind only Derek Grant of the Binghamton Senators.
Tonight’s game is the fifth of eight between the teams this season, and the first of two back-to-back games. They’ll meet again in Rockford on Friday evening. Grand Rapids has won three of the matchups so far.
Rockford won the first matchup of the season, a 6-5 victory that saw the teams combine for 62 shots on goal. Kyle Beach, Marcus Kruger, Jimmy Hayes, Ben Smith, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Pirri all scored for Rockford. Grand Rapids’ goals came from Brendan Smith, Francis Pare, Gustav Nyquist, Trevor Parkes and Tomas Tatar.
Grand Rapids went on to win the next three matchups by scores of 5-3, 4-2 and 3-1 with the most recent victory coming on December 31.
Jimmy Hayes, Marcus Kruger and Andrew Shaw have two goals each in the season series for Rockford this season, while Brendan Smith leads the Griffins with four goals in the season series. Landon Ferraro and Tomas Tatar have three goals each in the series between the teams this season.
Coming up: After tonight, the teams return to action on Friday. They’ll meet again on January 19 and February 22, with all of those matchups coming in Rockford.