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Game Notes: Griffins at Monsters - Feb. 13, 2024

Feb 13, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (21-15-4-2) at Cleveland Monsters (26-15-2-1)

Game Time: 7 p.m. at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse

Griffins Game #43 * Road Game #22 * AHL Game #713

Season Series: 1-0-1-1 Home Series: 1-0-1-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-1
All-Time Series:
72-38-7-12 All-Time Home Series: 41-18-3-3 All-Time Road Series: 31-20-4-9

Griffins at Monsters
Fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse…Grand Rapids is 18-7-2-2 (.690) against Cleveland in the past three seasons and has points in 16 out of the last 20 games overall (12-4-2-2, .700)...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 20-9-2-2 (.667) against Cleveland and have outscored them 104-84. On foreign ice during that span, Grand Rapids is 9-6-0-1 (.594) against the Monsters with a +3 scoring margin (49-46)...Cleveland’s power play ranks 11th in the AHL at 20.0% and its penalty kill places 20th at 80.6%...Cleveland has lost five of its last six games since Jan. 26 and is 3-5-1-1 in its last 10...The Griffins are 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 games and are on a season-high seven-game road winning streak...At home, the Monsters are 13-9-1-0, while Grand Rapids is 9-9-2-1 on the road...Right wing Trey Fix-Wolanksy leads the Monsters against the Griffins with five points (1-4—5) in three games this campaign. Fix-Wolanksy is currently tied for sixth in the AHL with 42 points (13-29—42) in 40 outings...The Monsters are the third-most frequent opponent of the Griffins, as this game marks the 130th meeting between the two franchises (Milwaukee 216, Chicago 197)...Defenseman Wyatt Newpower played for Cleveland during the 2020-21 season and head coach Dan Watson suited up for the Cleveland Barons from 2002-04.

Last Time Out
In their third-straight game decided by a shootout, the Griffins' seven-game win streak was snapped by Kristian Reichel's lone goal in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Manitoba Moose on Saturday at Van Andel Arena. Despite the loss, the Griffins picked up a point in their ninth consecutive contest. Jonatan Berggren's first-period tally marked his 200th point as a pro, which gave the Swede 18 points in his last 14 games. Simon Edvinsson recorded two assists on the night, the first of which was his 50th point as a Griffin. Austin Czarnik's goal was not only his second of the weekend but also his fifth tally in his last seven games and his 15th point in his last 14 contests. Sebastian Cossa's point streak extended to five games (4-0-1), as the rookie improved to 7-2-2 in his last 11 outings (Dec. 15-Feb. 10). Grand Rapids last had three games be decided by shootout during a four-game stretch between March 24-30, 2018, where they sported a 3-0-0-1 record.

Roster Shake Up
- Jan. 31—D Brogan Rafferty recalled by Detroit
- Feb. 1—D Brogan Rafferty reassigned by Detroit
- Feb. 12—F Nolan Stevens recalled by Detroit for purpose of mutually terminating contract

This Date in Griffins History
2004: With a 4-0 win over Manitoba at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins set a franchise record of 11 consecutive home games without a loss (8-0-3-0). Joey MacDonald makes 22 saves for his second straight shutout at home.

Shoot Your Shot
The past three games for the Griffins have been decided by a shootout. The last time three straight Griffins games were decided by a shootout was during a four-game stretch from March 24-30, 2018. The Griffins came away with two of the three shootout victories from Feb. 2-10 and are now 2-2 this season. Amadeus Lombardi (1-for-2) and Tim Gettinger (1-for-2) pace the team with a 50% conversion rate, while Sebastian Cossa has stopped 75% (9-for-12) of opponents shootout attempts and Michael Hutchinson comes in at 80% (8-for-10). The Griffins have an all-time record of 117-125 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 of a 13-game run from Feb. 20-March 19, 2016. However with a shootout victory on Saturday, Grand Rapids extended its point streak to nine games (7-0-1-1, Jan. 13-Feb. 10). Grand Rapids is also on a season-best seven-game road winning streak (Dec. 27-Feb. 2), which is 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 16 of their last 19 contests (13-3-2-1) and are tied with Texas for second place in the Central Division. The Griffins are 12-2-1-1 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 12 of its last 16 games (10-4-1-1) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in eight of its past nine road appearances (7-1-1-0). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 12-6-2-1 mark, outscoring their opponents 65-50. Grand Rapids has started to find a rhythm on the road, earning seven straight victories to even its record away from home (9-9-2-1).

Sea Bass Fishing
Rookie netminder Sebastian Cossa won a team-high four straight games from Jan. 19-Feb. 2 and is currently on a five-game point streak (4-0-1) from Jan. 19-Feb. 10. The 6-foot-7 goaltender is 7-2-2 in his last 11 outings from Dec. 15-Feb. 10, showing a .914 save percentage and a 2.38 goals against average. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 6-1-1 ledger with a 1.87 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just twice in his past eight games. Through 21 contests, Cossa is 10-7-4 with a 2.70 goals against average and a .908 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 third on the roster with 22 points (7-15—22) in 42 outings. Since the holiday break, the 19-year-old has 14 points in 16 appearances, including three multi-point games. Kasper was selected with the eighth overall pick by Detroit in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Mazur is also tied for third on the team with 22 points (11-11—22) in 36 contests. The Jackson, Mich., native enjoyed a four-game goal streak from Dec. 20-31 and now has 13 points (7-6—13) in his last 17 games from Dec. 20-Feb. 10. 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. Both Kasper (1-1—2) and Mazur (0-2—2) are on a two-game point streak from Feb. 9-10.

Lock it Down
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.31 goals per game from Dec. 27-Feb. 10. 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 123 goals through 42 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and tied for sixth in the AHL. Grand Rapids also is tied for 12th on the circuit with 2.93 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.43). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.70) and Michael Hutchinson (2.88) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Albert Johansson (+8), Wyatt Newpower (+6), Antti Tuomisto (+4), Brogan Rafferty (+3), Simon Edvinsson (+3) and William Wallinder (+2) 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
enjoyed a season-high six-game point streak (5-5—10) from Jan. 13-27 and has 12 points (6-6—12) in his last nine games from Jan. 13-Feb. 10. Berggren also has 18 points (7-11—18) in his last 14 outings and 21 points (9-12—21) in his last 17 games from Dec. 15-Feb. 10. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (14-22—36), assists (22) and goals (14) through 33 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 107 points (39-68—107) in 110 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) and is now on a two-game goal streak from Feb. 9-10. Since returning to the Griffins from Detroit on Dec. 30, Czarnik has accumulated 15 points (5-10—15) in 14 games. The 31-year-old has made the most of his time in Grand Rapids, showing 22 points (8-14—22) in 23 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 66 career games with the Griffins. Czarnik has 284 points (103-181—284) in 293 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 tied for second place in the Central Division with a 21-15-4-2 record and 48 points, 11 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 30 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 (5). 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 5-14-3-2 (.313). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 10 of its last 19 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 6-12-4-2 (.375) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 15-3-0-0 mark (.833) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 19 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 10 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.70 GAA places seventh among rookie netminders, .908 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 10th among rookies, five power-play goals are tied for ninth among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Three goals are tied for 11th 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 11th among rookie defensemen

Jonatan Berggren
recorded his 200th point as a pro on Feb. 10 against Manitoba, while Simon Edvinsson registered his 50th point as a Griffin. On Jan. 26, Berggren bagged his 100th point as a Griffin in just his 106th game, marking the seventh-fastest player to reach 100 points in franchise history.
Zach Aston-Reese—Two games from 100 in the AHL
Josiah Didier—Four penalty minutes from 500 as a pro
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin

Photo by Mark Newman/Griffins