The Afternoon Shift – March 29

Cheer them now, boo them later/Photo by Mark Newman

Currently in fifth place in the North Division, the Griffins find themselves in the curious position of hoping that they fall into sole possession of sixth by the end of play on Wednesday night.

Tonight and tomorrow, Abbotsford plays a two-game set in Hamilton that is crucial to the Griffins’ postseason aspirations. The third-place Bulldogs, who for now possess the final guaranteed playoff spot in the North Division, own a three-point cushion over Grand Rapids, which in turn leads the sixth-place Heat by a pair. (Fourth-place Toronto sits one point ahead of the Griffins.)

With only six games and 12 potential points remaining for the Griffins, their playoff hopes would suffer a severe blow if Hamilton were to increase its advantage to five or seven points with a split or sweep against Abbotsford. Falling two points behind the Heat would be the greatly prefered alternative, as the Bulldogs would then remain only three points ahead of the Griffins, well within striking distance.

More importantly, though, all three of Grand Rapids’ remaining divisional games are against Abbotsford, beginning with this Friday’s and Saturday’s clashes in British Columbia. The Griffins will need to win virtually all of their meetings with the Heat to stay in the playoff chase anyway, and in doing so they would leapfrog right back over Abbotsford in the standings.

So, just as hard as Griffins fans will be rooting for Abbotsford to lose a pair this weekend, they should be cheering for the Heat to win these next two nights…in regulation, of course. Three-point games between North Division rivals will do the Griffins no favors.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL/opponent links:

Alumni news and notes:

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