New Feature! Griffins-Wolves Preview: November 23, 2012

Chris Note:  When a reader, Jeremy B., offered to contribute as our Griffins "correspondent" as the NOHS authors live across the country, we jumped.  It's a chance for some hockey updates, as, if you can't tell, it's been overly quiet here lately. Anyways, here's his first post, previewing the GR game tomorrow.   Hope you enjoy!

Wolves-Griffins Preview: November 23, 2012

Tomorrow night, the Griffins (8-4-1, 18 pts) will face off against the Chicago Wolves (8-5-2, 18 pts) in a Midwest Division showdown in Grand Rapids. The Griffins enter this game riding a 6-game winning streak. Even though it's early in the season, the stakes are still somewhat high; the winner of this game will take over sole possession of the division's top spot.

What the Griffins need to do to win:

1. Stop Brett Sterling. This should obviously be the top priority. The veteran winger and former 50-goal scorer (back in 2006-07 with these Wolves) lit up Milwaukee for two goals and an assist in a Wolves victory last night and currently leads the team in goals with 6 and scoring with 12 points. You take him out of the equation, you force some mixing and matching, and you put yourself in a good position.

2. Shoot early, shoot often. The Wolves are only 1-2-1 this season when trailing after the first, and are 0-2-2 when trailing after two. Chicago's goaltending isn't anything special (Eddie Lack is 7-3 with a 2.93 GAA and a .902 save percentage, and backup Matt Climie is 1-4), so the Griffins should bombard the net early and try to gain the upper hand.

3. Don't rely too much on Petr Mrazek. Mrazek is on some kind of a tear right now; he's won 5 in a row while posting a 2.34 GAA and a sparkling .921 save percentage. He's facing nearly 30 shots per game over his nice little run, but I wouldn't want the Wolves to pepper him in this one. Take control of the game early and lower Petr's stress level a bit.

4. Keep up the balanced scoring. The Griffins currently have 6 players in double-digits in points: they are (in order for highest-scoring to lowest-scoring) Nyquist, Billins, Tatar, Pare, Ferraro, and Andersson. This balanced effort has been crucial to the team's success thus far, and it'd be a good idea to keep it up tomorrow.

Check back with me following the game for the recap and some analysis. Happy Thanksgiving and Go Griffins!