It seems like it's been forever since the Grand Rapids Griffins have played a game on the home ice at Van Andel Arena.

The truth is, it's been twenty days, and the Griffins are hoping that playing in front of their fans will lead to a berth in the Calder Cup Finals. 

The Griffins will have three straight games at Van Andel this weekend, beginning with game three of the American Hockey League Western Conference Finals against the Utica Comets tonight at 7pm.

So far, the friendly confines of the Van have been very comforting for the Griffs, who are undefeated in the playoffs at home. If that trend continues, they could clinch the series on Sunday night and roll into the Calder Cup Finals against the Manchester Monarchs, who have already won the Eastern Conference title.

The Griffins have been buoyed by the performance of rookie Dylan Larkin. Larkin, who played his college hockey down the road in Ann Arbor for the University of Michigan, notched two goals in Monday's 4-2 road win at Utica to tie the best-of-7 series at a game apiece, giving the Griffs home ice advantage for the time being.

Larkin passed the credit along to his teammates when talking about his big outing in game two.

Teemu Pulkkinen has maintained his red hot regular season scoring pace into the playoffs, notching 14 goals in twelve games to lead the AHL in playoff goals. He trails Manchester's Jordan Weal in total playoff scoring by one point.

Grand Rapids Griffins
Grand Rapids Griffins

The Griffins big four goal output in Monday's game means they may finally be figuring out Comet goalie Jacob Markstrom, who has been stingy in the playoffs with a 1.97 goals per game average.

Tickets are still available for all the home games at Van Andel this weekend, which will be tonight, Friday night and Sunday afternoon at 5pm.






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