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Game Notes: Griffins at Admirals - March 9, 2024

Mar 09, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (27-16-6-4) at Milwaukee Admirals (36-14-1-0)

Game Time: 7 p.m. at Panther Arena

March 9, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

Game Day Preview - March 9 at Milwaukee Admirals

Griffins Game #54 * Road Game #25 * AHL Game #878

Season Series: 3-2-0-0 Home Series: 2-1-0-0 Road Series: 1-1-0-0
All-Time Series:
112-82-7-8-8 All-Time Home Series: 60-39-2-3-3 All-Time Road Series: 52-43-5-5-5

Griffins at Admirals
Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Panther Arena…In their last meeting on Feb. 25, the Griffins halted Milwaukee’s historic 19-game winning streak, which was the second-longest run in AHL history...Grand Rapids is 14-18-1-0 (.439) against Milwaukee since the 2019-20 campaign...Dating back to the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 7-9-0-0 (.438) against the Admirals in Milwaukee with a minus-15 scoring margin (48-33)...The Admirals are 6-4-0-0 in their last 10 games and have dropped four straight contests since their 19-game winning streak...The Griffins are 6-1-2-1 in their last 10 games and have points in 19 of the last 20 games overall (13-1-3-3) and nine of the last 10 road contests (8-1-0-1)...Milwaukee is 20-7-0-0 at home this season, while Grand Rapids is 10-10-2-2 on the road...Milwaukee’s penalty kill places 16th at 82.0% while its power play ranks 15th at 18.8%...The Griffins’ power play ranks 21st at 17.7% and their penalty kill comes in at 81.6% (17th)...Admirals’ goaltender Yaroslav Askarov ranks fourth in the AHL with a 2.24 GAA and tied for ninth with a .917 save percentage...Grand Rapids has faced Milwaukee more than any other opponent – 218th meeting tonight – and the Griffins’ 112 victories against the Admirals are the most against any foe…Matt Luff logged 31 points (14-17—31) in 30 games with Milwaukee during the 2021-22 season.

Last Time Out
The Griffins were halted by Adam Scheel's 34-save performance, which guided the Chicago Wolves to a 2-1 shootout victory at Van Andel Arena on Friday. The Griffins extended their home point streak to 14 games (currently 9-0-3-2 since Jan. 13), their longest since a 15-game run from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). Sebastian Cossa posted a .958 save percentage in the loss while he extended his point streak to 11 games (7-0-4). Matt Luff pushed his run of points to three games (2-2--4).

This Date in Griffins History
2013: A 2-1 win over Lake Erie pushes the Griffins to 15 games over the .500 mark (34-19-2-2) for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, when they made their most recent Calder Cup Playoff appearance.

Roster Shakeup
- March 8—D Radim Simek assigned by Detroit

Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Griffins saw their 18-game point streak (13-0-3-2 from Jan. 13-March 2) come to an end on Monday, which was one game shy of tying the franchise record of 19 contests (Feb. 4-March 20, 2015 15-0-3-1) and is the second-longest run in the AHL this season. The Griffins’ active 14-game home point streak (9-0-3-2) is the second-longest run in the AHL this season and the team’s first since it earned a point in 15 straight games at Van Andel Arena from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). Grand Rapids’ nine-game road point streak (8-0-0-1) from Dec. 27-Feb. 17 was their longest since an 11-game run (9-0-1-1) from Jan. 29-March 12, 2015 and is tied for the second longest in the AHL this season. The Griffins have secured at least a point in 26 of their last 30 contests (19-4-4-3). The Griffins are 18-3-3-3 since Christmas and have had a trio of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2013-14. Grand Rapids has points in 20 of its last 23 games (15-4-3-2) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 10 of its past 12 road appearances (8-2-1-1). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 17-6-4-2 mark, outscoring their opponents 89-69. Grand Rapids found its rhythm on the road, earning points in nine of its last 10 games to move to .500 away from home (10-10-2-2).

Historic Bout
On Feb. 25, the Griffins and Milwaukee Admirals made AHL history, as it was the first meeting between two teams riding point streaks of 14 games or more. Grand Rapids entered the night with points in 14 straight games and Milwaukee was on a 19-game winning streak, which was the second-longest run in AHL history. The Griffins came away victorious in a 4-2 win to extend their point streak to 15 outings (11-0-2-2), snapping the Admirals’ historic run. Sebastian Cossa finished with 37 saves and Marco Kasper was credited with the game-winner. The Admirals have since gone on to drop the next three games and are on a four-game losing skid, while the Griffins saw their 18-game point streak end on Monday.

Young Guns
Rookie forwards Marco Kasper and Carter Mazur have had promising starts to their professional careers. Mazur has six points in his last five games (3-3—6) and ranks second on the team with 29 points (14-15—29) in 46 contests. The Jackson, Michigan, native’s six power-play goals are tied for fifth among AHL rookies, as he enjoyed a three-game goal streak from Feb. 28-March 2 and now has 11 points (4-7—11) in his last 15 games from Jan. 26-March 8. Mazur was taken with the 70th overall pick by Detroit in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft and competed for Team USA at the 2023 World Championship this past summer. Kasper, who was named the AHL Player of the Week on Jan. 22, has three goals in his last five outings and is tied for sixth on the roster with 25 points (10-15—25) in 52 outings. Since Jan. 19, the 19-year-old has 11 points (7-4—11) in 18 appearances. Kasper was selected with the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut as an 18-year-old last season.

Valuable Experience
Sixth-year pro Tim Gettinger and veterans Zach Aston-Reese and Joel L’Esperance have ramped up production on the offensive side of the ice. Gettinger has three points in his last six games (0-3—3), L’Esperance has four points in six games (1-3—4), and Aston-Reese has five points (3-2—5) in six games. Gettinger (73-84—157 in 287 GP) and L’Esperance (118-88—206 in 296 GP) are no strangers to the AHL, as they have combined competed in 583 contests and registered 363 points. Aston-Reese has spent the majority of his career in the NHL with 80 points (42-38—80) in 308 outings from 2017-24. Aston-Reese has already set a new career high with 48 AHL games played this season, beating out his previous record of 41 during his rookie campaign in 2017-18.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
is on an active six-game point streak (3-5—8) from Feb. 24-March 4 and has 22 points (11-11—22) in his last 19 games from Jan. 13-March 4. Berggren also has 28 points (12-16—28) in his last 24 outings and 31 points (14-17—31) in his last 27 contests from Dec. 15-March 4. The 23-year-old is now tied for 12th in the AHL with 46 points (19-27—46) and also leads the roster in points (19-27—46), assists (27) and goals (19) through 43 appearances this season. The Enkoping, Sweden, product became the seventh-fastest player to reach 100 points as a Griffin, doing so in just his 106th game on Jan. 26 against Belleville. Berggren has a combined 117 points (44-73—117) in 120 career AHL appearances from 2021-24, collecting an assist during his 100th game as a Griffin on Jan. 10 against Milwaukee. During his rookie season with the Griffins in 2021-22, Berggren broke Grand Rapids’ rookie single-season scoring record with 64 points (21-43—64) in 70 games, five more points than the previous record held by Teemu Pulkkinen (2013-14). 

Sea Bass Fishing
Sebastian Cossa
was named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week last Monday when he posted a 2-0-0 record with one shutout to go along with a 1.00 GAA and a .970 save percentage from Feb. 21-25. On Feb. 21, the 21-year-old collected his first AHL shutout with 28 saves in a 1-0 victory over the Texas Stars, lifting Grand Rapids past Texas into second place in the Central Division and becoming just the third Griffins rookie to record a shutout over the last nine seasons. Cossa went on to stop 37 shots on Feb. 25, including 14 in the third period, to help the Griffins snap Milwaukee’s 19-game winning streak and extend Grand Rapids’ point streak to 15 games (11-0-2-2). Cossa won a team-high four straight games from Jan. 19-Feb. 2 and is currently on an 11-game point streak (7-0-4) from Jan. 19-March 8. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 9-1-4 ledger with a 2.04 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just four times in his past 14 games. Through 27 contests, Cossa is 13-7-6 with one shutout to go along with a 2.59 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. Cossa ranks seventh among rookie goaltenders in goals against average and sixth in save percentage.

Clutch Hutch
Veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been solid for the Griffins this year, posting a 13-9-3 mark with one shutout in 26 games to go along with a 2.78 goals against average and a .898 save percentage. The 33-year-old enjoyed a seven-game point streak from Jan. 13-March 1 (5-0-2). Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Hutchinson has accumulated an 8-2-2 record with a .901 save percentage and a 2.58 goals against average. The Barrie, Ontario, native has an all-time AHL record of 119-80-23 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. Hutchinson has also appeared in 154 NHL contests, showing a 2.94 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

Thou Shall Not Pass
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.44 goals per game from Dec. 27-March 8. Prior to the holiday break, Grand Rapids allowed 3.31 goals per game from Oct. 13-Dec. 20. The Griffins have allowed a total of 152 goals through 53 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and ties for eighth in the AHL. Grand Rapids is also tied for 10th on the circuit with 2.87 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.51). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.59) and Michael Hutchinson (2.78) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Antti Tuomisto (+6), Albert Johansson (+4), Radim Simek (+4), Simon Edvinsson (+4), William Wallinder (+4), Brogan Rafferty (+1) and Eemil Viro (+1) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 27-16-6-4 record and 64 points, 19 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 19 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 17 times, with its only games outside of the division coming against Cleveland (2). The Griffins have done well against their division rivals, as they are 21-9-3-2 (.671) with a plus-18 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Iowa (4-0-0-0). Chicago, Iowa and Rockford will all be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still four meetings remaining against each franchise.

Pucks on Net
The Griffins have done well when outshooting their opponents this season with a 14-3-3-4 (.729) record compared to a 12-12-3-0 (.500) mark when they are being outshot. Grand Rapids is 16-5-2-4 (.704) when producing at least 30 shots and 16-8-5-2 (.629) when it keeps its opponents between 20-29 shots. The Griffins rank 16th in the AHL with 29.9 shots per game, while they concede the sixth fewest in the league at 28.3. The Griffins are averaging 34.2 shots per game in their last 12 outings, while giving up an average of 28.5.

Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 19-1-2-0 (.909). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 8-15-4-4 (.387). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 14 of its last 30 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 7-13-6-3 (.397) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 20-3-0-1 mark (.854) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 30 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 15 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Jonatan Berggren
—46 points are tied for 12th
Sebastian Cossa—2.59 GAA places seventh among rookie netminders, .910 save percentage ranks sixth among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Eight goals are tied for 10th among defensemen, three game-winners are tied for fourth among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Six power-play goals are tied for fifth among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Four goals are tied for 10th among rookie defensemen, one power-play goal is tied for eighth among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for second among rookie defensemen, plus-six rating is tied for 10th among rookie defensemen

Last night, Albert Johansson suited up for his 100th game as a Griffin. On Saturday, Simon Edvinsson appeared in his 100th game as a Griffin and Antti Tuomisto skated in his 100th pro contest.
Taro Hirose—Two goals from 50 as a Griffin
Elmer Soderblom—Two goals from 50 as a pro
Tyler Spezia—One assist from 50 as a Griffin
Dan Watson—One win from 300 as a head coach
Zach Aston-Reese—One point from 150 as a pro

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins