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Game Notes: Griffins at Senators - Dec. 8, 2023

Dec 08, 2023
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (7-9-2-1) at Belleville Senators (9-8-1-2)

Game Time: 7 p.m. at CAA Arena

December 8, 2023  ·  2 Minutes

Game Day Preview - December 8 at Belleville senators

Griffins Game #20 * Road Game #10 * AHL Game #316

Season Series: 0-0-0-0 Home Series: 0-0-0-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-0
All-Time Series:
2-1-0-2 All-Time Home Series: 1-0-0-2 All-Time Road Series: 1-1-0-0

Griffins at Senators
First of four meetings overall, first of two at CAA Arena…This is the first meeting between the two franchises since Jan. 18, 2020, a 4-3 Belleville victory at Van Andel Arena...Grand Rapids is making its first trip to Belleville since Oct. 27, 2018 when it defeated the Senators, 3-1…Belleville is 5-4-0-2 at home this season and is 4-4-1-1 in its last 10 games...The Griffins have points in four of their last six games (3-2-1-0) and are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10...Grand Rapids has lost four straight on the road and eight of its last 10, and is 1-6-1-1 on foreign ice this season...The Senators’ power play is tied for 26th at 14.6% and their penalty kill is tied for 28th at 77.2%...Grand Rapids’ power play is tied for ninth at 20.3%, while its penalty kill is tied for 22nd at 80.0%...Belleville’s goaltender Mads Sogaard ranks 11th in the AHL with a 2.36 GAA and eighth with a .923 save percentage...Former Griffin Donovan Sebrango (2020-23) joined the Senators’ organization this past offseason via a trade that sent Alex DeBrincat to Detroit.

Last Time Out
In the first game of their Canadian road trip, the Griffins fell 5-4 in overtime to the Toronto Marlies on Tuesday at Coca-Cola Coliseum. In the loss, Zach Aston-Reese earned his 50th AHL point as part of his three-point night (1-2–3). Joel L’Esperance, Albert Johansson, Jonatan Berggren and Aston-Reese all scored in the contest. Johansson’s tally was his first of the season, which helped add to a second two-point outing in his last three contests. The Griffins dropped their fourth straight road contest and fell to 1-6-1-1 on foreign ice.

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
2006: Matt Ellis nets both goals in a 3-2 loss to Toronto to move him into sole possession of 10th place on the Griffins’ all-time list with 52 career goals.

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 seven of its next nine games on the road. The Griffins have not fared well in foreign territory this season, as they are 1-6-1-1 with a minus-15 scoring margin (36-21) 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 seven-game point streak (3-7—10) from Nov. 17-Dec. 5, 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. Last Friday, Hirose claimed sole possession of third place on the Griffins’ all-time assists list with 137 and is 45 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 184 and is two points from tying Mitch Callahan (2011-17) for seventh place.

One-Two Punch
Last 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 last Friday. Cossa (2.89 GAA, .908 SV%) boasts a goals against average below 3.00 and a save percentage in the .900s, while Hutchinson is close behind with a 3.17 GAA and a .894 save percentage. Among rookie netminders, Cossa ranks seventh in GAA and sixth for save percentage. Combined, Hutchinson (11 GP) and Cossa (8 GP) show a 3.05 GAA and a .900 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 seven outings. Czarnik enjoyed a five-game point streak from Oct. 13-Nov. 29. In games that Czarnik has competed in, the Griffins are 5-1-1-0 (.786) 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 six-game point streak in the AHL (4-5—8) from Nov. 18-Dec. 5, which included a team-high three-game goal run from Nov. 18-26 and a team-best five-game assist streak from Nov. 24-Dec. 5. The 23-year-old ranks second on the roster with 15 points (5-10—15) in 14 outings and has a combined 86 points (30-56—86) in 91 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, last Saturday's two-goal output was his third two-point contest in his last six appearances, recording two assists in consecutive games from Nov. 18-24. The 6-foot-6 defensive prospect is currently riding a six-game point streak (2-7—9) and ranks third on the team with 14 points (5-9—14) in 18 games. Edvinsson is tied for second in the AHL among defensemen with five goals and his 14 points are tied for 11th 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
—14 points are tied for 11th among defensemen, five goals are tied for second among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for second among defensemen
Taro Hirose—13 assists are tied for 14th in the AHL
Carter Mazur—24 penalty minutes rank seventh among rookies
Wyatt Newpower—33 penalty minutes rank 11th among defensemen

On Tuesday, Zach Aston-Reese recorded his 50th AHL point during a three-point night (1-2—3) at the Toronto Marlies. 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.
Austin Czarnik—Two goals from 100 in the AHL
Taro Hirose—Two 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