Game Notes: Griffins at Senators - Dec. 9, 2023
Grand Rapids Griffins (7-10-2-1) at Belleville Senators (10-8-1-2)
Game Time: 7 p.m. at CAA Arena
Game Day Preview - December 9 at Belleville Senators
Griffins Game #21 * Road Game #11 * AHL Game #332
Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Home Series: 0-0-0-0 Road Series: 0-1-0-0
All-Time Series: 2-2-0-2 All-Time Home Series: 1-0-0-2 All-Time Road Series: 1-2-0-0
Griffins at Senators
Second of four meetings overall, second of two at CAA Arena…Last night’s game was 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 6-4-0-2 at home this season and is 4-4-1-1 in its last 10 games...The Griffins are 4-5-1-0 in their last 10...Grand Rapids has lost a season-high five straight on the road and is 1-7-1-1 on foreign ice this season...The Senators’ power play ranks 26th at 15.2% and their penalty kill is tied for 24th at 78.8%...Grand Rapids’ power play is tied for 15th at 18.6%, while its penalty kill is tied for 20th at 79.5%...Belleville’s goaltender Mads Sogaard ranks ninth in the AHL with a 2.36 GAA and ninth 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...Jarid Lukosevicius, who competed for the Griffins from 2018-21, is also featured on Belleville’s roster.
Last Time Out
A three-goal first period for the Senators was too much for the Griffins to overcome in a 5-2 loss in their first game back at CAA Arena since 2018 on Friday. Simon Edvinsson and Joel L’Esperance both scored in the contest. Edvinsson’s goal was his 15th point in 19 games with the Griffins this season, while L’Esperance’s tally was his third in his past four games. Edvinsson extended his point streak (3-7–10) to seven games with his first-period goal. The Griffins' fifth-straight road loss is a season-high that kept the team looking for their second win away from home in the campaign, as they are 1-7-1-1 when playing 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: Darryl Bootland becomes the first player in franchise history to record 1,000 Griffins career penalty minutes in a 2-1 victory over Toronto.
The Griffins concluded their four-game homestand last Friday with a 3-1-0-0 record. Now, Grand Rapids will continue a five-game road trip that began last Saturday in Milwaukee. Grand Rapids will also play six of its next eight games on the road. The Griffins have not fared well in foreign territory this season, as they are 1-7-1-1 with a minus-18 scoring margin (41-23) compared to a 6-3-1-0 mark at Van Andel Arena and a plus-eight margin (33-25). Grand Rapids has now dropped a season-high five straight games on the road. The Griffins are also in the midst of their first three-in-three of the season, competing from Friday through Sunday against the North Division.
It’s Taco Time
Taro Hirose enjoyed a season-high seven-game point streak (3-7—10) from Nov. 17-Dec. 5, which is tied with Simon Edvinsson for the longest run of the campaign by a Griffin. 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.
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 eight outings. Czarnik enjoyed a five-game point streak from Oct. 13-Nov. 29. In games that Czarnik has competed in, the Griffins are 5-2-1-0 (.688) compared to a 2-8-1-1 (.208) ledger without him.
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 enjoyed 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 is tied for second on the roster with 15 points (5-10—15) in 15 outings and has a combined 86 points (30-56—86) in 92 career AHL appearances from 2021-24.
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 seven appearances, recording two assists in consecutive games from Nov. 18-24. The 6-foot-6 defensive prospect is currently riding a seven-game point streak (3-7—10) and is tied for second on the team with 15 points (6-9—15) in 19 games. Edvinsson ranks third in the AHL among defensemen with six goals and his 15 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—15 points are tied for 11th among defensemen, six goals rank third among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for second among defensemen
Carter Mazur—24 penalty minutes rank eighth among rookies
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
Photo by Belleville Senators