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Filppula honored for 11-point week

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League announced today that Grand Rapids Griffins left wing Valtteri Filppula has been named the CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending November 20, 2005. In four games, Filppula erupted for 11 points (five goals, six assists) and a plus-9 rating as the Griffins took over sole possession of first place in the North Division in dramatic fashion.

Filppula, who had seven points in his first 13 games entering the week, was at the heart of four come-from-behind Griffins victories last week, as nine of his 11 points came in the third period. With Grand Rapids down 4-2 in the third on Tuesday, Filppula recorded a goal and an assist before scoring the deciding goal in the shootout for a 5-4 win over Manitoba, then the Griffins’ co-leader in the North.

Facing a 3-2 deficit in the third period on Friday, Filppula scored twice and set up the game-winner to lead Grand Rapids to a 6-3 win over Cleveland.

On Saturday, he had a goal and two assists as the Griffins scored five times in the final frame to earn a 5-3 win at Cleveland.

And Sunday, Filppula capped the memorable week with a goal and two more assists as Grand Rapids posted a 3-1 win in Toronto.

In recognition of his achievement, Filppula will be presented with an etched crystal award prior to an upcoming Griffins home game.

A native of Vantaa, Finland, the 21-year-old Filppula is now third on the Griffins in scoring with nine goals and nine assists for 18 points in 17 games. Filppula, in his first North American season after playing the last two years for Jokerit Helsinki in the Finnish elite league, was Detroit’s third-round pick in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft.

Other nominees for CCM Vector/AHL Player of the Week include Albany right wing Aleksander Suglobov, Binghamton goaltender Kelly Guard, Bridgeport left wing Matt Koalska, Chicago center Jared Ross, Hartford left wing Alexandre Giroux, Hershey right wing Boyd Kane, Houston center Petr Taticek, Iowa center Junior Lessard, Lowell center Keith Aucoin, Manchester center Noah Clarke, Manitoba defenseman Sven Butenschon, Peoria left wing Peter Sejna, Philadelphia right wing Pat Kavanagh, Portland center Zenon Konopka, Providence right wing Eric Healey, Springfield center Ryan Vesce, Syracuse defenseman Aaron Johnson, Toronto center John Pohl and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton defenseman Chris Kelleher.