Calder Cup Champions - 2013 & 2017
AHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings
Hero Image

Game Notes: Griffins at Monsters - March 12, 2024

Mar 12, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (27-17-6-4) at Cleveland Monsters (33-18-3-3)

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

March 12, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

Game Day Preview - March 12 @ Cleveland Monsters

Griffins Game #55 * Road Game #26 * AHL Game #897

Season Series: 1-1-2-2 Home Series: 1-0-2-0 Road Series: 0-1-0-2
All-Time Series:
72-39-8-13 All-Time Home Series: 41-18-4-3 All-Time Road Series: 31-21-4-10

Griffins at Monsters
Seventh of eight meetings overall, fourth of four at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse…Grand Rapids is 18-8-3-3 (.656) against Cleveland in the past three seasons and has points in 18 out of the last 23 games overall (12-5-3-3, .652)...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 20-10-3-3 (.639) against Cleveland and have outscored them 112-96. On foreign ice during that span, Grand Rapids is 9-7-0-2 (.556) against the Monsters with an even scoring margin (54-54)...Cleveland’s power play is tied for 13th in the AHL at 19.3% and its penalty kill is tied for 20th at 81.2%...Cleveland is 5-3-1-1 in its last 10 outings and has dropped two straight games...The Griffins are 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games and are on a four-game losing skid (0-2-1-1)...At home, the Monsters are 17-10-1-0, while Grand Rapids is 10-11-2-2 on the road...Four of the first six meetings have been decided past regulation. Grand Rapids has overcome a third-period deficit to the tie the game in four of the six clashes...Right wing Trey Fix-Wolansky leads the Monsters against the Griffins with nine points (4-5—9) in six games this campaign. Fix-Wolansky is tied third in the AHL with 54 points (23-31—54) in 51 outings...Monsters’ goaltender Jet Greaves has an all-time record of 7-2-1 against the Griffins with a 2.36 GAA since 2021-22. Greaves’ 25 wins this season rank first on the circuit...The Monsters are the third-most frequent opponent of the Griffins, as this game marks the 133rd meeting between the two franchises (Milwaukee 218, Chicago 198)...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...Tim Gettinger is a native of Cleveland.

Last Time Out
In a match up of the top two teams in the Central Division, the Griffins failed to collect a second straight win over the Milwaukee Admirals and fell 4-2 at Panther Arena on Saturday. Carter Mazur put together a two-point night (1-1--2) in the loss, which put the Jackson, Michigan native at eight points (4-4--8) in his last six outings. Tim Gettinger, who netted his 12th goal of the year, has accrued four points (1-3--4) in his last seven games. Michael Hutchinson stopped 29-of-32 shots, as he earned himself a .906 save percentage versus the Admirals. The defeat marked a four-game skid for the Griffins (0-2-1-1).

This Date in Griffins History
1999: Kory Karlander nets his fourth shorthanded goal of the season, setting a new club record with a total that would tie for the league lead at season’s end.

Roster Shakeup
- March 8—D Radim Simek assigned by Detroit
- March 9—F Jonatan Berggren recalled by Detroit
- March 11—F Tim Gettinger re-signed to a one-year contract extension by Detroit

No Need for Extra Bodies
Last season, the Griffins used a franchise-record 49 players, which included a franchise-record eight goaltenders. The 49 players last campaign beat out the previous record of 48 set during the 2021-22 season. However, it has been much different this season, as the Griffins have not had a single skater compete on a professional tryout. Grand Rapids has used just four goaltenders this season, with two of them suiting up for just one game (John Lethemon & Ville Husso). The team has also used just 28 skaters throughout the season, a drastic change from the 49 and 48 players used in the past two seasons, respectively.

Let’s Not Get Too Down on Ourselves
The Griffins saw their 18-game point streak (13-0-3-2 from Jan. 13-March 2) come to an end last Monday in Cleveland, 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. After the weekend’s games, the Griffins have now dropped four straight (0-2-1-1), one shy of tying the season-high losing skid of five from Oct. 20-Nov. 1. 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 31 contests (19-5-4-3). The Griffins are 18-4-3-3 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 13 road appearances (8-3-1-1). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 17-6-4-2 mark, outscoring their opponents 89-69. Grand Rapids has battled on the road this season, earning points in nine of its last 11 games to move to one game below the .500 mark away from home (10-11-2-2).

Young Guns
Rookie forwards Marco Kasper and Carter Mazur have had promising starts to their professional careers. Mazur has eight points in his last six games (4-4—8) and ranks second on the team with 31 points (15-16—31) in 47 contests. The Jackson, Michigan, native’s 15 goals are tied for eighth among first-year players in the AHL and his six power-play goals are tied for sixth. Mazur enjoyed a three-game goal streak from Feb. 28-March 2 and now has 13 points (5-8—13) in his last 16 games from Jan. 26-March 9. 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 and four points in his last six outings and is tied for fourth on the roster with 26 points (10-16—26) in 53 outings. Since Jan. 19, the 19-year-old has 12 points (7-5—12) in 19 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.

New Kid on the Block
Last Friday at the NHL Trade Deadline, the Detroit Red Wings acquired defenseman Radim Simek and a seventh-round pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for left wing Klim Kostin. Simek was then assigned to the Griffins later that afternoon. Simek, who was the captain of the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda, has 16 points (4-12—16), 29 penalty minutes and a plus-four rating in 40 games this season. The 6-foot, 200-pound defenseman has spent just three campaigns in the AHL with the Barracuda (2017-18, 2019-20, 2023-24), amassing 45 points (11-34—45), 49 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating in 109 contests. Simek has spent five campaigns in the NHL with San Jose from 2018-23 and has suited up for 209 contests with 29 points (7-22—29) and 74 penalty minutes.

Matty Ice
On Feb. 21, Matt Luff made his season debut after rehabbing an injury suffered in training camp that kept him sidelined for the first 45 games of the season. After being held scoreless in his first five outings, Luff went on to record a point in three straight games from March 2-8 and now has four points (2-2—4) in his last four contests. Last season, the 26-year-old posted 25 points (8-17—25) and six penalty minutes in 28 games with the Griffins on top of producing four points (2-2—4) in 19 outings with the Detroit Red Wings. The Windsor, Ontario, native has 149 points (59-90—149) in 206 career AHL outings from 2016-24.

Sea Bass Fishing
Sebastian Cossa
was named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week on Feb. 26 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 13-10-3 mark with one shutout in 27 games to go along with a 2.79 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 8-3-2 record with a .902 save percentage and a 2.62 goals against average. The Barrie, Ontario, native has an all-time AHL record of 119-81-23 with a 2.61 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 2.50 goals per game from Dec. 27-March 9. 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 156 goals through 54 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and ninth in the AHL. Grand Rapids also ranks 11th on the circuit with 2.89 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.58). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.59) and Michael Hutchinson (2.79) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Antti Tuomisto (+5), Albert Johansson (+5), Radim Simek (+4), Simon Edvinsson (+4), William Wallinder (+4), Brogan Rafferty (+1) and Eemil Viro (+1) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

Crunch Time
The Griffins have excelled during the third period of games this season, as they have outscored their opponents 67-47 in the final frame and outshot their opponents 513-481. Grand Rapids has six wins when trailing after the second period, which is tied for second in the AHL. The Griffins also have a 34-18 shot advantage in overtime this campaign. However, Grand Rapids is just 5-10 in games decided past regulation (3-6 in OT, 2-4 in SO).

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 18th 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). Berggren was recalled by Detroit last Saturday.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 27-17-6-4 record and 64 points, 17 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 18 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 16 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 21-10-3-2 (.653) with a plus-16 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 12-13-3-0 (.482) 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 17th in the AHL with 29.8 shots per game, while they concede the sixth fewest in the league at 28.5. The Griffins are averaging 33.2 shots per game in their last 13 outings, while giving up an average of 28.8.

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 8-16-4-4 (.375). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 14 of its last 31 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 7-14-6-3 (.383) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 20-3-0-1 mark (.854) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 31 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 16 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
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 11th among defensemen, three game-winners are tied for fourth among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Six power-play goals are tied for sixth among rookies, 15 goals are tied for eighth 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-five rating is tied for 12th among rookie defensemen
William Wallinder—Three goals are tied for 15th among rookie defensemen, 10 assists are tied for 18th among rookie defensemen

Albert Johansson
suited up for his 100th game as a Griffin last Saturday.
Zach Aston-Reese—One point from 150 as a pro
Taro Hirose—Two goals from 50 as a Griffin
Albert Johansson—Three games from 250 as a pro
Joel L’Esperance—Three games from 300 in the AHL
Matt Luff—One point from 150 in the AHL
Elmer Soderblom—Two goals from 50 as a pro, three games from 200 as a pro
Tyler Spezia—One assist from 50 as a Griffin
Dan Watson—One win from 300 as a head coach

Photo by Cleveland Monsters