Everything's Bigger in Texas
This Week’s Games
GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals // Tue., Jan. 31 // 8 p.m. EST // Panther Arena
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:45 p.m. EST
Season Series: 1-3-0-0 Overall, 0-2-0-0 Road. Fifth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Panther Arena
All-Time Series: 108-77-7-8-8 Overall, 50-41-5-5-5 Road
NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators
Noteworthy: Cole Schneider has been the driving force for the Admirals against the Griffins this season, as he has six points (2-4—6) in four outings against Grand Rapids.
GRIFFINS at Texas Stars // Fri., Feb. 3 // 8 p.m. EST // H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
GRIFFINS at Texas Stars // Sat., Feb. 4 // 8 p.m. EST // H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:45 p.m. EST on Friday and Saturday
Watch: AHLTV on Friday and Saturday
Season Series: 2-3-0-1 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Seventh and eighth of eight meetings overall, third and fourth of four at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
All-Time Series: 37-25-4-5 Overall, 17-14-3-1 Road
NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars
Noteworthy: Former Griffin Riley Barber has 20 goals in 40 games for the Stars this season, which is tied for sixth in the AHL. Against Grand Rapids this campaign, Barber has five points (2-3—5) in six appearances.
Last Week’s Results
Sat., Jan. 28 // GRIFFINS 2 at Milwaukee 4 // 15-20-2-2 (34 pts., 0.436, T6th Central)
Sun., Jan. 29 // GRIFFINS 5 at Chicago 3 // 16-20-2-2 (36 pts., 0.450, 6th Central)
Last Week’s Notes
Saturday at Milwaukee (2-4 L) - A late surge from the Griffins fell short in a 4-2 loss against the Admirals at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. Matt Luff returned to the lineup for Grand Rapids, tallying an assist in his first game since sustaining an injury with the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 8 and the first contest with the Griffins since Oct. 23. Simon Edvinsson lit the lamp in the third period, his second goal in a Grand Rapids uniform and his third point in the last four games. In his second game as a Griffin, Jasper Weatherby got on the scoresheet with a goal in the final stanza. Austin Czarnik’s assist on Edvinsson’s goal was his 300th pro point. Recap | Highlights
Sunday at Chicago (5-3 W) - The Griffins extended their win streak against the Wolves to three with a 5-3 victory at Allstate Arena. Elmer Soderblom (2-1–3) and Simon Edvinsson (1-1–2) starred in the win, with one of the two Swedes either providing a goal or an assist on all five scores by Grand Rapids. Edvinsson has recorded a point in his last three games and has five in as many contests, while Soderblom’s points were his first in a Griffin uniform. Jakub Vrana (1-1–2), Austin Czarnik (0-2–2) and Joel L’Esperance (1-1–2) also pitched in two-point outings. Victor Brattstrom got the start in net and collected 24 saves on 27 shots. The last time the Griffins had a three-game win streak against Chicago was from Oct. 20-Nov. 28, 2018. Vrana skated in his 100th AHL game, adding a goal and assist to reach the 300-point milestone as a pro. Recap | Highlights
Back With Authority: Matt Luff returned to the lineup this past weekend for Grand Rapids, tallying an assist on Jan. 28 at Milwaukee in his first game since sustaining an injury with the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 8 and his first contest with the Griffins since Oct. 23. Luff returned the following night with a helper against the Chicago Wolves. The Windsor, Ontario, native has been held off the scoresheet just once with the Griffins and has nine points (3-6—9) in seven appearances.
Blossoming Swedes: Last Saturday against Chicago, Simon Edvinsson and Elmer Soderblom combined for five points (3-2—5) with one of the two Swedes either providing a goal or an assist on all five scores by Grand Rapids. Edvinsson, a 6-foot-6 defenseman, is on a three-game point streak (2-2—4) and has five points (2-3—5) in his last five appearances. The 6-foot-8 Soderblom was held off the scoresheet in his first six AHL games but exploded for three points (2-1—3) in his last appearance against the Wolves.
Keep Chugging Along: The Griffins enjoyed a season-high four-game point streak (2-0-1-1) from Jan. 14-21. The run was halted by the Milwaukee Admirals last night in a 4-2 defeat. Since the new year, Grand Rapids has lost in regulation just three times through 11 games (5-3-1-2, 0.591). The Griffins jumped into sixth in the Central Division but are still 10 points out of a playoff spot with 32 games left.
The Last Czar: Veteran forward Austin Czarnik has been a major boost to the Griffins lineup, totaling 29 points (12-17—29) in 27 games. Czarnik has at least one point in 17 of the 27 contests and at least two points in seven outings. Last weekend, he totaled three assists in two games and now has seven points (3-4—7) in his last five games. He has also spent a decent amount of time with the Detroit Red Wings, amassing three points (2-1—3) in 12 appearances. The Washington Township, Mich., native was named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week on Oct. 17 when he registered five points (3-2—5) in two games and became the first Griffins forward to win the award since Matt Lorito on Nov. 20, 2016.
Vroom Vroom Vrana: After being held off the scoresheet in the first four games of his Griffins career, Jakub Vrana is starting to find the back of the net. He earned his first AHL point of the season on an assist against the Texas Stars on Jan. 6. Vrana had goals in consecutive games from Jan. 18-21 and posted his first two-point outing (1-1—2) last game against Chicago on Jan. 29. The veteran has totaled five points (3-2—5) in 12 outings for Grand Rapids.
Power Struggle: After beginning the season with a 29.3% power-play conversion rate in the first nine games of the year, the Griffins have struggled as of late. Grand Rapids is 6-for-66 (9.1%) on the man-advantage in its last 19 outings and have just nine power-play goals in its last 24 contests (9-for-94, 9.6%). Grand Rapids was held off the scoresheet on the power play in seven straight games (0-for-21) from Jan. 7-21 but stopped that stretch when it tallied a power-play goal at Milwaukee on Jan. 28. The Griffins rank 29th in the AHL on the power play with a conversion rate of 16.6%.
On the Road Again: The Griffins wrapped up their season-high seven-game homestand that spanned from Dec. 31-Jan. 14. Grand Rapids finished with a 3-3-0-1 mark and are now 8-9-2-1 in West Michigan this season. The Griffins are now in the midst of a stretch of seven out of their next eight games on the road, which began on Jan. 16. Grand Rapids played its only home contest during the run on Jan. 21 against Springfield, a 3-2 overtime defeat. Grand Rapids holds an 8-11-0-1 ledger on foreign ice this season and are just three wins away from 500 on the road in franchise history (497-412-12-34-60).
Just Keep it Close: The Griffins have had an up-and-down start to the season, but they have excelled at winning close games. In fact, Grand Rapids is 8-0-2-2 (0.833) in games decided by one goal and 4-0-2-0 (0.833) in overtime contests. In comparison, the Griffins are just 8-20-0-0 (0.286) in games decided by two or more tallies. In the 2021-22 season, the Griffins finished with a 13-7-6-2 (0.607) mark in games decided by one goal.
AHL Leaderboard Tracker:
Pontus Andreasson—Four power-play goals are tied for 11th among rookies
Austin Czarnik—Five game-winning goals are tied for second, three short-handed goals are tied for first
Simon Edvinsson—14 assists are tied for sixth among rookie defensemen, 17 points are tied for sixth among rookie defensemen
Taro Hirose—13 power-play assists are tied for 12th
Joel L’Esperance—Eight power-play goals are tied for seventh, 131 shots are tied for sixth
Jakub Vrana skated in his 100th AHL game on Jan. 29 at Chicago and bagged his 300th pro point in the process (151-149—300). Austin Czarnik recorded his 300th pro point with an assist on Jan. 28 at Milwaukee.
Simon Edvinsson—Four points from 50 as a pro
Brian Lashoff—Two games from 750 as a pro
Joel L’Esperance—One goal from 100 as a pro
Chase Pearson—Two assists from 50 as a pro, in the AHL and as a Griffin
Dominik Shine—One assist from 50 as a pro, as a Griffin and in the AHL
Jakub Vrana—One assist from 150 as a pro
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins