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Game Notes: Griffins at Marlies - Dec. 5, 2023

Dec 05, 2023
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (7-9-1-1) at Toronto Marlies (8-7-3-1)

Game Time: 7 p.m. at Coca-Cola Coliseum

December 5, 2023  ·  2 Minutes

Game Day Preview - December 5 at Toronto Marlies

Griffins Game #19 * Road Game #9 * AHL Game #310

Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Home Series: 0-2-0-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-0
All-Time Series:
35-36-5-2 All-Time Home Series: 20-17-3-1 All-Time Road Series: 15-19-2-1

Griffins at Marlies
Third of four meetings overall, first of two at the Coca-Cola Coliseum…The Griffins are 4-6-2-0 (.417) against Toronto since the 2019-20 season and have been outscored 47-36...Grand Rapids is 2-2-0-0 (.500) against the Marlies in Toronto since 2019-20 and have been outscored 15-14...The Marlies enter the contest on a six-game losing skid (0-4-1-1) and are 3-5-1-1 in their last 10 outings...Grand Rapids has won three of its last five games and is 4-6-0-0 in its last 10...Toronto shows a 4-4-2-0 mark at home, while the Griffins are 1-6-0-1 on the road…Toronto’s power play ranks 29th in the league at 13.8% and its home power play places dead last in the AHL at 6.8% (3-for-44)...The Griffins’ power play is tied for 11th on the circuit at 19.7% and their road power play comes in at 13th at 21.7%...The Marlies’ penalty kill ranks 16th at 82.9%, while Grand Rapids places 25th at 79.1%...Toronto is just one of four active AHL teams (Bakersfield, Hartford & Ontario) that the Griffins have an all-time losing record against...Toronto’s Alex Steeves is tied for fifth in the AHL with 11 goals in 15 appearances, while goaltender Dennis Hildeby ranks first with a 1.63 GAA and third with a .935 save percentage through eight contests...Michael Hutchinson skated for the Marlies from 2018-22 and posted a 30-16-7 record (.698) to go along with a 2.84 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 57 games...Toronto’s goaltender Keith Petruzzelli and forward Robert Mastrosimone were both draft picks of the Detroit Red Wings...Marlies’ head coach John Gruden skated for the Griffins from 1999-2002.

Last Time Out
A three-goal third period sunk the Griffins’ hopes of remaining undefeated against the Milwaukee Admirals in a 4-2 loss on Saturday at Panther Arena. Elmer Soderblom and Carter Mazur both scored a goal in the contest. Jonatan Berggren, who collected his ninth assist of the season on Mazur’s goal, played in his fourth game in four nights in his fourth different city (New York, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee). Berggren extended his point streak to five games (3-4—7). The Griffins’ road struggles continued in the loss, as they dropped to 1-6-0-1 in foreign territory this season.

Roster Shake Up
- Nov. 19—G John Lethemon reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) from Grand Rapids by Detroit; F Austin Czarnik reassigned by Detroit
- Nov. 28—F Jonatan Berggren recalled by Detroit
- Dec. 1—F Jonatan Berggren reassigned by Detroit; D Antti Tuomisto reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) from Grand Rapids by Detroit

This Date in Griffins History
2008: At 46 years of age, Chris Chelios makes his Griffins debut during a conditioning assignment and becomes the oldest player in the 73-year history of the AHL, supplanting former Hershey Bears trainer William “Scotty” Alexander, who was thrown between the pipes in an emergency during the 1953-54 season at the tender age of 45.

Long Detour
The Griffins concluded their four-game homestand on Friday with a 3-1-0-0 record. Now, Grand Rapids will continue a five-game road trip that began on Saturday in Milwaukee. Grand Rapids will also play eight of its next 10 games on the road. The Griffins have not fared well in foreign territory this season, as they are 1-6-0-1 with a minus-14 scoring margin (31-17) compared to a 6-3-1-0 mark at Van Andel Arena and a plus-eight margin (33-25). The Griffins will also embark on their first three-in-three of the season, competing from Friday through Sunday against the North Division.

It’s Taco Time
Taro Hirose
is currently on a season-high six-game point streak (3-6—9) from Nov. 17-Dec. 1, which is the longest run of the campaign by a Griffin this campaign. Hirose, who has competed for the Griffins for the past five seasons, has also continued to climb the Griffins’ all-time leaderboard for assists and points. On Friday, Hirose claimed sole possession of third place on the Griffins’ all-time assists list with 136 and is 46 helpers from tying Travis Richards (2001-06) for second. The Calgary, Alberta, native also ranks eighth on the team’s all-time points list with 183 and is three points from tying Mitch Callahan (2011-17) for seventh place.

One-Two Punch
On Wednesday, goaltender Michael Hutchinson registered his first shutout of the season, making 32 saves in a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Wolves. This was Hutchinson’s first shutout since May 17, 2021, a 39-save performance for the Toronto Marlies in a 2-0 win at Laval, and his 16th overall shutout in the AHL. The following game, Sebastian Cossa made 35 saves on 36 shots in a 4-1 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals. Both Cossa (2.89 GAA, .908 SV%) and Hutchinson (2.98 GAA, .901 SV%) boast a goals against average below 3.00 and a save percentage in the .900s. Among rookie netminders, Cossa ranks seventh in both GAA and save percentage. Combined, Hutchinson (10 GP) and Cossa (8 GP) show a 2.94 GAA and a .905 save percentage.

Return of the Czar
Veteran and alternate captain Austin Czarnik was reassigned to the Griffins by Detroit on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Czarnik competed in a Griffins uniform for the first time since opening weekend from Oct. 13-14. The Washington Township, Michigan, native continued his stellar start to the AHL season, improving to six points (3-3—6) in six outings. Czarnik enjoyed a five-game point streak from Oct. 13-Nov. 29. In games that Czarnik has competed in, the Griffins are 5-1-0-0 (.833) compared to a 2-8-1-1 (.208) ledger without him.

Johnny Bravo
Last week, Swedish prospect Jonatan Berggren competed in four games in four days in four different cities between the Red Wings and Griffins (New York, Detroit, Grand Rapids and Milwaukee). In those four games, Berggren registered three assists, two penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. The Enkoping, Sweden, product is currently enjoying a five-game point streak in the AHL (3-4—7) from Nov. 18-Dec. 2, which included a team-high three-game goal run from Nov. 18-26. The 23-year-old is tied for second on the roster with 13 points (4-9—13) in as many outings and has a combined 84 points (29-55—84) in 90 career AHL appearances from 2021-24.

Simon Says
Defenseman Simon Edvinsson exploded for his first two-goal game in North America on Dec. 1 against the Milwaukee Admirals. In fact, Saturday's two-goal output was his third two-point contest in his last five appearances, recording two assists in consecutive games from Nov. 18-24. The 6-foot-6 defensive prospect is currently riding a five-game point streak (2-6—8) and is tied for second on the team with 13 points (5-8—13) in 17 games. Edvinsson is tied for second in the AHL among defensemen with five goals and his 13 points are tied for 13th among blueliners. The Onsala, Sweden, native, who was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, saw action in nine NHL games with the Red Wings last season and scored two goals.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Simon Edvinsson
—Five goals are tied for second among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for first among defensemen
Carter Mazur—24 penalty minutes rank seventh among rookies
Wyatt Newpower—33 penalty minutes rank 11th among defensemen

Last Friday, Taro Hirose claimed sole possession of third place on the Griffins’ all-time assists list with 136, while Jared McIsaac bagged his 50th pro point with a goal during his 150th game as a Griffin. On Nov. 29, Marco Kasper and Jared McIsaac skated in their 150th pro game.
Zach Aston-Reese—One point from 50 in the AHL
Austin Czarnik—Two goals from 100 in the AHL
Taro Hirose—Three points from tying Mitch Callahan for seventh on the team’s all-time point list
Michael Hutchinson—One win from 200 as a pro
Wyatt Newpower—Two games from 150 as a pro

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins