GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Here's the playoff scenario for the Griffins. They get a point tonight or have Iowa give up a point and they're in the postseason. With two games left to go, there's a good chance it's going to happen, but here's thing: Going into tonight's game with Manitoba, they're not exactly playing their best hockey of the season.
Even though they are in the driver's seat, Grand Rapids is feeling the pressure of making it to the postseason.
“I think we've tightened up over the last couple games, trying to get that last victory to get us over the top and into the playoffs,” said defenseman Joe Hicketts.
Victories have certainly been tough to come by for the Griffins, who have dropped seven straight going into tonight’s match-up with the Moose. With the team in a bad slump, head coach Ben Simon decided to give his team an important reminder.
"The message is bear down, be ready to play but at the same time they have to play loose and have fun," said Simon
Simple enough, but it won’t be easy this evening. See, Manitoba is also involved in the Central Division playoff race. The Moose have their backs to the wall but Simon knows they’re not about to give up.
"They are playing well. At Christmas this team was in dead last place. They were dead in the water and all of sudden they've done a tremendous job of fighting back to get in a position they've been in, "said Simon. "Again they have a tough road ahead of them. They will be playing desperate and at the end of the day although we are sitting in second place, we have to be playing desperate because we're not a shoe in either.
Home cooking will be on the Griffins side tonight and they intend to make the most of it.
"These fans have been supportive throughout the whole year and there would be nothing better than to clinch second place on home ice tonight," said left winger Chris Terry.
Opening face off set for shortly after 7pm tonight.