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Game Notes: Griffins at Monsters - March 4, 2024

Mar 04, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (27-15-6-3) at Cleveland Monsters (32-16-3-3)

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

March 4, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

Game Day Preview - March 4 vs. Cleveland Monsters

Griffins Game #52 * Road Game #24 * AHL Game #848

Season Series: 1-0-2-2 Home Series: 1-0-2-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-2
All-Time Series:
72-38-8-13 All-Time Home Series: 41-18-4-3 All-Time Road Series: 31-20-4-10

Griffins at Monsters
Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse…Grand Rapids is 18-7-3-3 (.677) against Cleveland in the past three seasons and has points in 18 out of the last 22 games overall (12-4-3-3, .682)...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 20-9-3-3 (.657) against Cleveland and have outscored them 109-91. On foreign ice during that span, Grand Rapids is 9-6-0-2 (.588) against the Monsters with a +2 scoring margin (51-49)...Cleveland’s power play is tied for 12th in the AHL at 19.2% and its penalty kill is tied for 17th at 81.7%...Cleveland is 6-1-1-2 in its last 10 outings...The Griffins are 6-0-2-2 in their last 10 games and are on an 18-game point streak overall and a nine-game point streak on the road...At home, the Monsters are 16-10-1-0, while Grand Rapids is 10-9-2-2 on the road...Four of the first five meetings have been decided past regulation. Grand Rapids has overcome a third-period deficit to the tie the game in four of the five clashes...Right wing Trey Fix-Wolansky leads the Monsters against the Griffins with eight points (3-5—8) in five games this campaign. Fix-Wolansky ranks third in the AHL with 53 points (22-31—53) in 50 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 tied for the third-most frequent opponent of the Griffins, as this game marks the 132nd meeting between the two franchises (Milwaukee 217, Chicago 197, Rockford 132)...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
The Griffins' point streak extended to 18 games despite a chaotic third period, which led to a 5-4 overtime loss at the hands of the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena on Saturday. The Griffins are one game away from tying their franchise record of 19 straight games with a point, a feat that last came from Feb. 4-March 20, 2015. Grand Rapids exited its season-high six-game homestand with a 5-0-1-0 record. Jonatan Berggren's point streak carried on to five games (2-5—7) with his two helpers, which put the Swede at 27 points (11-16--27) in his last 23 contests. Carter Mazur's two points (1-1—2) extended his run to three games (3-3—6). Matt Luff's first goal of the season came as part of a two-point night (1-1—2) for the veteran. Sebastian Cossa stretched his point streak to 10 games (7-0-3).

This Date in Griffins History
2003: Following a February in which he tallied 13 points (4-9—13) and a team-high plus-10 rating in 11 games, Tomas Kopecky becomes the first Griffin honored with the AHL’s Rookie of the Month award.

Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Griffins are on an 18-game point streak (13-0-3-2) from Jan. 13-March 2, which is one game shy of tying a 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 13-game home point streak (9-0-3-1) is the second-longest run in the AHL this season and the team’s first since the they earned a point in 15 straight games at Van Andel Arena from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). Grand Rapids’ active nine-game road point streak (8-0-0-1) is 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 25 of their last 28 contests (19-3-4-2). The Griffins are 18-2-3-2 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 19 of its last 22 games (15-4-3-1) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 10 of its past 11 road appearances (8-1-1-1). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 17-6-4-1 mark, outscoring their opponents 88-67. Grand Rapids found its rhythm on the road, earning points in nine straight games to move above the .500 mark away from home (10-9-2-2).

Historic Bout
Last Sunday, 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 Griffins have not lost in regulation since a 2-0 setback on Jan. 12 against Rockford, while the Admirals’ defeat was their first since New Year’s Eve.

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 last Sunday, 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 a 10-game point streak (7-0-3) from Jan. 19-March 2. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 9-1-3 ledger with a 2.13 goals against average and a .921 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 13 games. Through 26 contests, Cossa is 13-7-6 with one shutout to go along with a 2.66 goals against average and a .908 save percentage. Cossa ranks seventh among rookie goaltenders in goals against average and eighth in save percentage.

Thou Shall Not Pass
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.36 goals per game from Dec. 27-March 2. 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 145 goals through 51 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and tied for seventh in the AHL. Grand Rapids is also 10th on the circuit with 2.84 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.46). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.66) and Michael Hutchinson (2.73) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Simon Edvinsson (+9), Antti Tuomisto (+9), Albert Johansson (+4), William Wallinder (+3) and Brogan Rafferty (+1) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

Clutch Hutch
Veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been solid for the Griffins this year, posting a 13-8-3 mark with one shutout in 25 games to go along with a 2.73 goals against average and a .900 save percentage. The 33-year-old is on an active seven-game point streak from Jan. 13-March 1 (5-0-2) and has a .892 save percentage and a 2.69 goals against average during the run. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Hutchinson has accumulated an 8-1-2 record with a .905 save percentage and a 2.46 goals against average. The Barrie, Ontario, native has an all-time AHL record of 119-79-23 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.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
is on an active five-game point streak (2-5—7) from Feb. 24-March 2 and has 21 points (10-11—21) in his last 18 games from Jan. 13-March 2. Berggren also has 27 points (11-16—27) in his last 23 outings and 30 points (13-17—30) in his last 26 contests from Dec. 15-March 2. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (18-27—45), assists (27) and goals (18) through 42 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 116 points (43-73—116) in 119 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).

Pucks on Net
The Griffins have done well when outshooting their opponents this season with a 14-2-3-3 (.773) record compared to a 12-12-3-0 (.500) mark when they are being outshot. Grand Rapids is 16-4-2-3 (.740) when producing at least 30 shots and 16-7-5-1 (.655) when it keeps its opponents between 20-29 shots. The Griffins rank 17th in the AHL with 29.6 shots per game, while they concede the sixth fewest in the league at 28.4. The Griffins are averaging 33.2 shots per game in their last 10 outings, while giving up an average of 28.6.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 27-15-6-3 record and 63 points, 20 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 21 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 18 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 21-9-3-1 (.676) with a plus-19 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Chicago (3-0-0-0) and Iowa (4-0-0-0). Chicago will all be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still five meetings against each franchise.

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 8-14-4-3 (.397). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 14 of its last 28 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 7-12-6-3 (.411) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 20-3-0-0 mark (.870) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 28 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 14 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Jonatan Berggren
—45 points are tied for 11th
Sebastian Cossa—2.66 GAA places seventh among rookie netminders, .908 save percentage ranks eighth 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 fourth among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Four goals are tied for ninth among rookie defensemen, one power-play goal is tied for seventh among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for second among rookie defensemen, plus-nine rating ranks seventh among rookie defensemen

On Saturday, Simon Edvinsson appeared in his 100th game as a Griffin and Antti Tuomisto skated in his 100th pro contest. Last Friday, Tim Gettinger suited up for his 300th game as a pro.
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin
Albert Johansson—Two games from 100 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—Two points from 150 as a pro

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins