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Game Notes: Griffins at Wolves - April 13, 2024

Apr 13, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (34-21-8-4) at Chicago Wolves (22-32-6-7)

Game Time: 8 p.m. at Allstate Arena

Griffins Game #68 * Road Game #33 * AHL Game #1,089

Season Series: 4-1-0-1 Home Series: 3-0-0-1 Road Series: 1-1-0-0
All-Time Series:
100-85-2-8-5 All-Time Home Series: 49-38-2-6-4 All-Time Road Series: 51-47-0-2-1

Griffins at Wolves
Seventh of eight meetings overall, third of four at Allstate Arena…Grand Rapids has faced Chicago 200 times in the regular season dating back to their IHL days, the second-most of any Griffins opponent (Milwaukee, 219)…The Griffins collected their 100th regular-season win against Chicago during their 200th meeting on April 3...Grand Rapids has points in eight of the last 10 meetings (6-2-0-2) against Chicago, dating back to March 12, 2023...The Griffins have won four of the past six meetings at Chicago...The Wolves are 1-2-3-4 in their last 10 games and are on a four-game point streak (0-0-2-2)...The Griffins are 5-4-1-0 in their last 10 games and have points in six of their last nine games (5-3-1-0)...On the road, Grand Rapids is 12-14-4-2 and Chicago is 11-15-3-3 at home...Since the 2019-20 season, Grand Rapids is just 16-24-2-2 (.409) against the Wolves and has been outscored 161-121. Also since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 9-13-0-0 (.409) against the Wolves in Chicago and have been outscored 86-65...The Wolves rank second in the AHL with a power-play percentage of 21.1%, while their penalty kill is tied for 13th at 82.5%...Grand Rapids ranks 28th with a power-play rate of 16.3% and is tied for 16th with a penalty kill at 81.3%...The Griffins have clinched a winning record against the Wolves for the second consecutive season, which marks the first time since 2015-17...Chicago’s Chris Terry skated for the Griffins from 2018-20 and totaled 112 points (50-62—112) in 126 games.

Last Time Out
The Griffins failed to crack the puzzle of Jaxson Stauber in a 2-0 shutout defeat to the Rockford IceHogs at Van Andel Arena on Friday. With the loss, both the Griffins' record-setting 19-game (14-0-3-2) home point streak and Sebastian Cossa's 19-game point streak overall (13-0-6) came to an end. The defeat was Grand Rapids' first regulation loss at home since Jan. 12, which was also against Rockford. The gap between the Griffins and the IceHogs for second place in the Central Division is now one point with five games remaining for Grand Rapids. The Griffins have been held scoreless five times this season, three of which have been courtesy of Rockford.

This Date in Griffins History
2002: In their first-ever AHL Calder Cup playoff game, the Griffins take a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Wolves in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

Roster Shakeup
- April 8—G Ville Husso reassigned by Detroit on a conditioning loan
- April 10—F Zach Aston-Reese recalled by Detroit

The Promised Land
On March 27, the Griffins clinched their 18th playoff berth in 28 seasons with a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins return to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2019, ending a drought that included two postseasons (2020 and 2021) that were canceled due to COVID-19. This marked the team’s earliest clinching date since 2017, when the AHL’s eventual Calder Cup champions secured their spot on March 26. Clinching a spot with 25 days remaining in the regular season also marked the earliest the Griffins have clinched relative to the date of their finale since 2006, when the AHL’s regular-season champions locked up their berth with 34 days to play. Exactly three months prior to clinching, the sixth-place Griffins were tied for the fourth-lowest points percentage in the AHL, bringing a 9-13-3-1 record (.423) into their first game after the Christmas break. They’ve since posted a 25-8-5-3 mark (.707), solidifying their hold on second place in the Central Division and becoming the fourth of now 19 teams to secure a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Sea Bass Fishing
Sebastian Cossa
enjoyed a franchise-record 19-game point streak from Jan. 19-April 5 (13-0-6), beating Marc Lamothe’s previous record of 15-games (9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL)) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Cossa collected his second shutout of the season last Friday with 24 saves in a 3-0 win over Rockford. Cossa’s 13-game home point streak (9-0-4, Jan. 24-April 5) tied the franchise record, which is also held by Jared Coreau (2015-16), Daniel Larsson (2008-09) and Mike Fountain (bridging the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons). Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 15-2-6 ledger with a 2.06 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. Prior to the holiday break, Cossa possessed a 4-6-3 record with a 3.18 goals against average and a .897 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just seven times in his past 23 games. Cossa is also on an eight-game road point streak (6-0-2) from Dec. 27-March 30), which is two shy of tying the record of 10 held by Jimmy Howard (2005-06). Through 36 contests, Cossa is 19-8-9 with two shutouts to go along with a 2.46 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Cossa ranks fifth among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage.

Back to Our Old Self
After enduring a season-high five-game winless skid from March 2-12 (0-2-2-1), the Griffins have returned to form with points in six of their last nine contests (5-2-1-0). The Griffins enjoyed a franchise-record 19-game home point streak (14-0-3-2) from Jan. 13-April 5, beating out the previous mark of 16 games that was established from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004, and is also longest run in the AHL this season. The 19-game point streak at home was the longest such streak in the AHL since the Providence Bruins went 18-0-3-2 over 23 games in 2015-16. The Griffins saw their 18-game point streak (13-0-3-2 from Jan. 13-March 2) come to an end on March 4 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. 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 35 of their last 44 contests (26-9-6-3). The Griffins are 25-8-5-3 (.707) 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 25 of its last 30 games (20-5-3-2) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 14 of its past 20 road appearances (10-6-3-1). The Griffins have been stellar at home with a 22-7-4-2 mark, outscoring their opponents 109-79. Grand Rapids has battled on the road this season, earning points in 13 of its last 18 games to move to 12-14-4-2 away from home.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
logged his first AHL hat trick last Wednesday during a four-point night (3-1—4) against the Chicago Wolves. Berggren enjoyed a team-best nine-game point streak (8-7—15) from Feb. 24-April 5 and has 29 points (16-13—29) in his last 24 games from Jan. 13-April 12. Berggren also has 35 points (17-18—35) in his last 29 outings and 38 points (19-19—38) in his last 32 contests from Dec. 15– April 12. Berggren’s 1.10 points per game rank fourth among skaters who have played at least 30 games. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (24-29—53), assists (29) and goals (24) through 48 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 124 points (49-75—124) in 125 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).

Black Magic
As the regular season inches closer to its completion, the Griffins have clinched a playoff berth and a winning record, and they are in second place in the Central Division with a 34-21-8-4 record and 80 points with just five games remaining. They have secured a first-round bye and a berth in the Central Division Semifinals, and they now have a magic number of 21 to clinch the division, trailing Milwaukee’s one.

TeamPointsPCTGames LeftHomeRoadOpp. Points %GR Magic # OverMagic # Over GR

x - Clinched Playoffs

Records are Meant to be Broken
Showing a 13-0-6 mark from Jan. 19-April 5, Sebastian Cossa set a franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender at 19 outings, beating Marc Lamothe’s previous record of 15 games (9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL)) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Cossa’s 13-game point streak at home (9-0-4, Jan. 24-April 5) also tied a franchise record. On Nov. 10 in his 365th game as a Griffin, Dominik Shine passed Mitch Callahan for third on the team’s all-time games played list. Taro Hirose took sole possession of sixth place on the team’s all-time points list (197) on March 27 and is now four points from overtaking Derek King (203, 1999-01; 2002-04) for fifth place. Grand Rapids set a new franchise record with a point in its 19th straight home game, breaking a 16-game record that was established more than 20 years ago, from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004. The home point run is the second franchise-record streak that the Griffins have tied in the last three months, piggybacking their seven-game road winning streak from Dec. 27, 2023-Feb. 2, 2024. The Griffins also rattled off an 18-game point streak from Jan. 13-March 2 (13-0-3-2), which was one game shy of tying the franchise record of 19 contests (Feb. 4-March 20, 2015 15-0-3-1). Finally, the Griffins have had a trio of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2013-14.

It’s Taco Time
Taro Hirose
became the third-fastest player to reach 200 points as a Griffin when he did so in his 243rd game on April 5 against the Rockford IceHogs, also scoring his 50th goal as a Griffin. Hirose, who is in his fifth season as a Griffin, has 11 points (3-8—11) in his last 15 outings. The Calgary, Alberta, native has logged a total of 35 points (9-26—35) in 50 appearances this season, after having missed 12 straight games from Dec. 29-Jan. 27 due to rehabbing an injury. On March 27, the 27-year-old passed Tomas Tatar for sixth place on the Griffins’ all-time points list with 200, and his 150 assists rank third in franchise history. Hirose is now four points from claiming fifth place on the team’s all-time points list, as Derek King (203) currently holds the position.


Rookie Carter Mazur enjoyed a three-game point streak from April 3-6 (1-3—4). Since March 1, the Jackson, Michigan, product has 11 points (4-7—11) in 13 outings. Mazur is tied for second on the roster with 35 points (16-19—35) in 55 contests, while also ranking second on the team in goals (16). His 16 goals are tied for 15th among AHL rookies and his six power-play tallies are tied for 10th among first-year players. This past summer, the 22-year-old made his Team USA debut at the World Championship and accumulated four points (1-3—4) in 10 contests. The former third-round selection (70th overall) by the Red Wings has a total of 41 points (19-22—41) in 61 games throughout his pro career. Prior to turning pro, Mazur spent two seasons at the University of Denver (2021-23) and amassed 75 points (36-39—75) in 81 games, winning a national title in 2022 and earning a spot on the NCAA Second All-American Team in 2023.

Ville Good
On Monday, netminder Ville Husso was reassigned to Grand Rapids by Detroit on a conditioning loan. With a 25-save shutout on Jan. 26 against the Belleville Senators, Husso became just the third goalie (Jimmy Howard in 2016-17; Alex Nedeljkovic in 2022- 23) to earn a shutout during a conditioning stint with the Griffins and the first of those to do it in his Grand Rapids debut. Husso was the ninth goaltender to appear for the Griffins during a conditioning stint, joining Nedeljkovic (2022-23), Magnus Hellberg (2022-23), Jimmy Howard (2019-20; 2016-17), Jonas Gustavsson (2014-15; 2012-13), Manny Legace (2005-06), Chris Osgood (2005-06) and Curtis Joseph (2003-04).

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. Luff enjoyed a seven-game point streak from March 15-29 (4-5—9), and now has 15 points (7-8—15) in his last 17 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 160 points (64-96—160) in 219 career AHL outings from 2016-24.

Future is Bright
Rookies Marco Kasper and Amadeus Lombardi continue to excel during their rookie campaigns. Kasper, the former 8th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, has two assists in his last four games and seven points in his last 11 outings (2-5—7). The 20-year-old is tied for fourth on the roster with 33 points (12-21—33) in 66 contests. Lombardi, the 113th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, has three helpers in his last four appearances and six points in his last 11 games (0-6—6). The 20-year-old has shown 24 points (5-19—24) in 65 games during his rookie season.

Man, I Love College
Hunter Johannes
made his pro debut last Friday against the Rockford IceHogs, becoming the ninth player from the University of North Dakota to suit up for Grand Rapids, five of whom won a national championship at the school. Johannes is also the first player from either of two Division 1 schools - American International College (Atlantic Hockey) and Lindenwood University (Independent) - to ever play for the Griffins. Johannes spent five seasons in the NCAA from 2019-24, competing for American International College (2019-22), Lindenwood University (2022-23) and the University of North Dakota (2023-24).

Clutch Hutch
Veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been solid for the Griffins this year, posting a 14-13-3 mark with two shutouts in 31 games to go along with a 2.76 goals against average and an .897 save percentage. The 34-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 a 9-6-2 record with one shutout, an .898 save percentage and a 2.60 goals against average. The Barrie, Ontario, native has an all-time AHL record of 120-84-23 with a 2.60 goals against average and a .914 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 2.46 goals per game from Dec. 27-April 12. 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 187 goals through 67 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and tied for eighth in the AHL. Grand Rapids is also 10th on the circuit with 2.79 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.66, 3rd). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.46) and Michael Hutchinson (2.76) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Albert Johansson (+10), Wyatt Newpower (+8), Antti Tuomisto (+7), Simon Edvinsson (+5), Eemil Viro (+5), Josiah Didier (+5), Radim Simek (+3), Brogan Rafferty (+3) and William Wallinder (+1) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

Straight to the Pros
On March 30, Emmitt Finnie made his professional debut against the Milwaukee Admirals. The 18-year-old became just the 23rd player to make his Griffins debut the season after he was drafted. Finnie was selected with the 201st overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the seventh round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. Of the players to make their debut the season after they were drafted, only Toni Dahlman (OTT: 286th in 2001) and Konstantin Gorovikov (OTT: 269th in 1999) were selected later than Finnie. Also, among all Red Wings draft picks who’ve played for Grand Rapids, only eight were chosen later than Finnie. Finnie recently completed his third season with the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL, totaling 59 points (19-40—59) in 62 games in 2023-24.

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 a combined three games (John Lethemon & Ville Husso). The team has also used just 31 skaters throughout the season, a drastic change from the 49 and 48 players used in the past two seasons, respectively.

Crunch Time
The Griffins have excelled during the third period of games this season, as they have outscored their opponents 81-54 in the final frame and outshot their opponents 622-586. Grand Rapids has seven wins when trailing after the second period, which is tied for third in the AHL. The Griffins also have a 41-30 shot advantage in overtime this campaign. However, Grand Rapids is just 6-12 in games decided past regulation (4-8 in OT, 2-4 in SO). The Griffins’ 21 regulation losses this season are the fourth fewest in the AHL, while their eight overtime defeats are tied for the fourth most and four shootout losses are tied for the fifth most.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 34-21-8-4 record and 80 points and have clinched a playoff berth for the 18th time in 28 seasons. All of Grand Rapids’ remaining five games will be against the Central Division. The Griffins have done well against their division rivals, as they are 27-14-4-2 (.638) with a plus-18 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Iowa (6-0-0-0). Chicago and Iowa will be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still two meetings remaining against each franchise.

Pucks on Net
The Griffins have done well when outshooting their opponents this season with a 19-4-5-4 (.734) record compared to a 14-16-3-0 (.470) mark when they are being outshot. Grand Rapids is 21-5-4-4 (.735) when producing at least 30 shots and 25-12-6-2 (.644) when it keeps its opponents under 29 shots. The Griffins rank 19th in the AHL with 29.3 shots per game, while they concede the sixth fewest in the league at 27.8. The Griffins are averaging 28.3 shots per game in their last 16 outings, while giving up an average of 25.8.

Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 24-1-2-0 (.926). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 10-20-6-4 (.375). Grand Rapids has reached the four-goal mark in nine of its last 21 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 9-17-7-3 (.389) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 25-4-1-1 mark (.839) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 21 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 10 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Jonatan Berggren
—1.10 points per game ranks fourth among skaters who have played at least 30 games
Sebastian Cossa—2.46 GAA ranks fifth among rookie netminders and 10th among qualified goalies, .912 save percentage is tied for fifth among rookie goaltenders and tied for 13th among qualified goalies
Simon Edvinsson—Three game-winners are tied for fourth among defensemen
Marco Kasper—Plus-11 rating is tied for 16th among rookies
Carter Mazur—Six power-play goals are tied for 10th among rookies, 16 goals are tied for 15th among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Five goals are tied for 11th among rookie defensemen, 17 points are tied for 16th among rookie defensemen, one power-play goal is tied for ninth among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for second among rookie defensemen, plus-seven rating ranks 12th among rookie defensemen

Last night, Macro Kasper skated in his 200th game as a professional. Taro Hirose logged his 50th goal as a Griffin and 200th point with Grand Rapids on Friday, while Josiah Didier appeared in his 450th pro game. Last Wednesday, Jonatan Berggren recorded a hat trick during his 300th game as a pro.
Jonatan Berggren—One goal from 50 as a Griffin
Taro Hirose—Four points from claiming fifth place on the team’s all-time points list
Matt Luff—Four assists from 100 in the AHL
Brogan Rafferty—Two points from 150 as a pro
William Wallinder—One game from 250 as a pro

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins