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Game Notes: Griffins at IceHogs - Feb. 17, 2024

Feb 17, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (21-15-5-3) at Rockford IceHogs (19-19-5-2)

Game Time: 8 p.m. at BMO Center

Griffins Game #45 * Road Game #23 * AHL Game #741

Season Series: 3-2-1-0 Home Series: 1-1-1-0 Road Series: 2-1-0-0
All-Time Series:
64-45-10-11 All-Time Home Series: 39-15-6-5 All-Time Road Series: 25-30-4-6

Griffins at IceHogs
Seventh of 12 meetings overall, fourth of six at the BMO Center…Dating back to the final meeting of the 2019-20 season, Grand Rapids now has points in 21 of the last 31 games (17-10-3-1, .613) against the IceHogs...The Griffins are 21-13-3-3 (.600) since the 2019-20 season against Rockford and have outscored the IceHogs 107-100. On the road since 2019-20, Grand Rapids is 11-9-0-0 (.550) against the IceHogs but has been outscored 57-54...Grand Rapids is 7-0-1-2 in its last 10 games and 9-9-2-2 on the road this season...The Griffins have earned points in eight straight road games (7-0-0-1)...The IceHogs are 10-10-3-1 at home and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10...Rockford is on a six-game point streak (3-0-2-1)...The IceHogs will finish a season-high nine-game homestand tonight that began on Jan. 27...Rockford has shut out the Griffins in two of the six meetings this season...Rockford’s power play ranks 20th at 17.7%, while its penalty kill comes in at 82.7% (13th)...Rockford ranks 29th in the league with 2.64 goals scored per game and tied for 17th with 3.13 goals against per contest...The Griffins’ power play ranks 12th in the AHL at 19.0%, while their penalty kill ranks 27th at 78.8%...Rockford is tied for Grand Rapids’ third-most frequent opponent (Milwaukee 216, Chicago 197, Cleveland 131), as tonight’s game marks the 131st meeting between the two franchises...Rockford’s Ethan Del Mastro ranks fourth among rookie defensemen with 25 points, fifth with 19 assists and tied for fourth with six goals.

Last Time Out
In their fifth straight game decided outside of regulation, the Griffins extended their point streak to 11 games but fell to the Cleveland Monsters 4-3 in overtime at Van Andel Arena on Friday. Grand Rapids' 11-game point streak (7-0-3-1) is the second-longest in the AHL this season and the team's longest since Jan. 19-Feb. 17, 2018 (9-0-0-2). Alongside their overall point streak, the Griffins pushed their home point streak to seven games (4-0-3-0), which is their longest since an eight-game run (5-0-2-1) on home ice from Dec. 4, 2021-Jan. 15, 2022. Jonatan Berggren extended his point streak to four games, which added to his run of 20 points (9-11--20) in his last 16 games. Sebastian Cossa stretched his point streak to six games (4-0-2). The Griffins' overtime loss matched the franchise record for consecutive games tied after the end of regulation at five contests, which last occurred between Jan. 19-20, 2009.

Roster Shake Up
- Feb. 12—F Nolan Stevens recalled by Detroit for purpose of mutually terminating contract
- Feb. 13—D Jared McIsaac reassigned to HC Ambri-Piotta (Switzerland) from Grand Rapids by Detroit

This Date in Griffins History
2007: Matt Ellis tallies his 20th goal of the season in a 4-2 win over San Antonio, becoming the fifth Griffin to ever record back-to-back 20 goal campaigns.

Shoot Your Shot
The past five games for the Griffins have been decided past regulation, which ties a franchise record set from Jan. 19-20, 2009. Last night was the first time in Griffins history that they lost on a penalty shot in overtime. The only other time they faced one was against the Monsters on Nov. 7, 2010 when Jordan Pearce stopped Lake Erie’s Brandon Rogers. The Griffins came away with two of the five victories from Feb. 2-16 and are now 4-8 this season in games decided after regulation. As a team, the Griffins are a combined 6-for-25 during a shootout (24%), as Tim Gettinger (2-for-3) paces the team with a 66.7% conversion rate. Sebastian Cossa has stopped 75% (9-for-12) of opponents shootout attempts and Michael Hutchinson comes in at 66.7% (8-for-12). The Griffins have an all-time record of 117-126 during a shootout.

Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Griffins saw their season-high seven-game win streak (Jan. 19-Feb. 9) come to an end last weekend, which was the longest win streak since the team rattled off a 13-game run from Feb. 20-March 19, 2016. However, Grand Rapids is still on an 11-game point streak (8-0-1-2, Jan. 13-Feb. 16), which is the second-longest run in the AHL this season and the team’s longest since Jan. 19-Feb. 17, 2018 (9-0-0-2). Grand Rapids saw its season-best seven-game road winning streak (Dec. 27-Feb. 2) come to an end on Tuesday, which was tied for the longest road winning streak in franchise history (Jan. 29-Feb. 28, 2015 and Oct. 16-Dec. 3, 2004). The Griffins have secured at least a point in 18 of their last 21 contests (13-3-3-2). The Griffins are 12-2-2-2 since Christmas and have a pair of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2015-16. Grand Rapids has points in 13 of its last 17 games (10-4-2-1) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in nine of its past 10 road appearances (7-1-1-1). Grand Rapids’ active eight-game road point streak (7-0-0-1) is the longest since an identical run from Jan. 8-Feb. 17, 2018. With a point tonight, it would mark the longest road point streak since an 11-game run (9-0-1-1) from Jan. 29-March 12, 2015. The Griffins have been solid at home with a 12-6-3-1 mark, outscoring their opponents 68-54. Grand Rapids has started to find a rhythm on the road, earning points in eight straight games to even its record away from home (9-9-2-2).

Sea Bass Fishing 
Rookie netminder Sebastian Cossa won a team-high four straight games from Jan. 19-Feb. 2 and is currently on a six-game point streak (4-0-2) from Jan. 19-Feb. 13. The 6-foot-7 goaltender is 7-2-3 in his last 12 outings from Dec. 15-Feb. 16. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 6-1-2 ledger with a 2.11 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just three times in his past nine games. Through 22 contests, Cossa is 10-7-5 with a 2.76 goals against average and a .905 save percentage. The 21-year-old ranks seventh among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage.

I Can See the Future
Rookie forwards Marco Kasper and Carter Mazur have had promising starts to their professional careers. Kasper, who was named the AHL Player of the Week on Jan. 22, is tied for fourth on the roster with 22 points (7-15—22) in 44 outings. Since the holiday break, the 19-year-old has 14 points in 18 appearances, including three multi-point games. Kasper was selected with the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and is the only Griffin to appear in all 44 games this year. Mazur ranks third on the team with 23 points (11-12—23) in 38 contests. The Jackson, Mich., native enjoyed a four-game goal streak from Dec. 20-31 and now has 14 points (7-7—14) in his last 19 games from Dec. 20-Feb. 16. 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 (1-1—2) saw his two-game point streak end on Tuesday, while Mazur’s (0-3—3) three-game assist streak ended last night.

Lock it Down
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.44 goals per game from Dec. 27-Feb. 16. 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 130 goals through 44 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and eighth in the AHL. Grand Rapids also ranks 12th on the circuit with 2.95 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.42). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.76) and Michael Hutchinson (2.83) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Albert Johansson (+8), Wyatt Newpower (+6), William Wallinder (+4), Antti Tuomisto (+3), Simon Edvinsson (+3) and Brogan Rafferty (+3) all have a positive plus-minus rating. Last season, none of the Griffins’ blueliners finished with a positive plus-minus rating.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
is on a four-game point streak (3-1—4) and has 14 points (8-6—14) in his last 11 games from Jan. 13-Feb. 16. Berggren also has 20 points (9-11—20) in his last 16 outings and 23 points (11-12—23) in his last 19 games from Dec. 15-Feb. 16. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (16-22—38), assists (22) and goals (16) through 35 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 109 points (41-68—109) in 112 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). The prospect has appeared in 76 games with the Red Wings throughout two seasons and has 33 points (17-16—33), including five points (2-3—5) in nine contests this campaign. Berggren participated in the 2024 AHL All-Star Classic presented by Tech CU.

The Last Czar
Austin Czarnik
enjoyed a season-high six-game point streak from Jan. 13-27 (3-5—8). Since returning to the Griffins from Detroit on Dec. 30, Czarnik has accumulated 15 points (5-10—15) in 16 games. The 31-year-old has made the most of his time in Grand Rapids, showing 22 points (8-14—22) in 25 appearances. Czarnik posted three assists on Dec. 31 against the Cleveland Monsters and logged five assists in three games from Dec. 9-Jan. 5. The Washington Township, Michigan, native signed a two-year deal with the Red Wings on July 7, 2022 and has since gone on to register 59 points (22-37—59) in 68 career games with the Griffins. Czarnik has 284 points (103-181—284) in 295 AHL games from 2014-18 and 2019-24, scoring his 100th AHL goal on Jan. 24 against Rockford. He has also suited up for 18 games with Detroit this season and has one assist, six penalty minutes and a minus-three rating. In total, Czarnik has 51 points (18-33—51) in 189 career NHL outings.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in third place in the Central Division with a 21-15-5-3 record and 50 points, 13 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 28 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 25 times, with its only games outside of the division coming against Cleveland (3). The Griffins have done well against their division rivals, as they are 15-9-2-1 (.611) with a plus-11 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Chicago (3-0-0-0) and Iowa (2-0-0-0), while it has collected just one win against Texas (1-4-1-0). Iowa and Rockford will be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still six meetings against both franchises. Grand Rapids will also see a lot of Chicago (5) as the season progresses.

Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 16-1-1-0 (.917). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 5-14-4-3 (.327). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 10 of its last 21 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 6-12-5-3 (.385) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 15-3-0-0 mark (.833) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 21 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 12 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.76 GAA places seventh among rookie netminders, .905 save percentage ranks seventh among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Two power-play goals are tied for 13th among defensemen, two game-winners are tied for fifth among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Two game-winners are tied for 11th among rookies, five power-play goals are tied for ninth among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Four goals are tied for seventh among rookie defensemen, one power-play goal is tied for sixth among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for fifth among defensemen
William Wallinder—Three goals are tied for 12th among rookie defensemen

Zach Aston-Reese
competed in his 100th game in the AHL last night. On Tuesday, Josiah Didier collected his 500th penalty minute as a pro. Jonatan Berggren recorded his 200th point as a pro on Feb. 10 against Manitoba, while Simon Edvinsson registered his 50th point as a Griffin.
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin

Photo by Rockford IceHogs