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Game Notes: Griffins at Wolves - Dec. 29, 2023

Dec 29, 2023
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (10-13-3-1) at Chicago Wolves (8-14-2-2)

Game Time: 8 p.m. at Allstate Arena

Griffins Game #28 * Road Game #16 * AHL Game #442

Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Home Series: 2-0-0-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-0
All-Time Series:
98-84-2-8-4 All-Time Home Series: 48-38-2-6-3 All-Time Road Series: 50-46-0-2-1

Griffins at Wolves
Third of eight meetings overall, first of four at Allstate Arena…Grand Rapids has faced Chicago 196 times in the regular season dating back to their IHL days, the second-most of any Griffins opponent (Milwaukee, 215)…Grand Rapids has points in five of the last six meetings (4-1-0-1) against Chicago, dating back to March 12, 2023...The Griffins’ four-game point streak against Chicago from Dec. 22-Feb. 24, 2023 was their longest run against the Wolves since a five-game point streak from Nov. 21, 2015-Feb. 28, 2016...The Wolves are 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games, while the Griffins are 3-5-2-0 in their last 10...On the road, Grand Rapids is 3-9-2-1 and has won just two out of its last 10 road contests (2-6-2-0)...Chicago is 5-5-2-1 at home...The Wolves show the best power play in the AHL at 26.5%, while their penalty kill ranks 14th at 82.8%...Grand Rapids is tied for 14th with a power-play rate of 18.9% and is tied for 28th with a penalty kill at 76.8%...Since the 2019-20 season, Grand Rapids is just 14-23-2-1 (.388) against the Wolves and has been outscored 148-107...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 8-12-0-0 (.400) against the Wolves in Chicago and have been outscored 80-57...With a 5-3-1-1 record against the Wolves last season, the Griffins finished above the .500 mark against Chicago for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign...Chicago’s Chris Terry skated for the Griffins from 2018-20 and totaled 112 points (50-62—112) in 126 games.

Last Time Out
Carter Mazur's
third-period power-play goal helped lift the Griffins over the Rockford IceHogs in a 4-2 victory at the BMO Center on Wednesday. Joel L'Esperance's goal marked his 200th professional point, while Mazur's tally was his third in his past four games. In the contest, 10 different Griffins registered a point. The Griffins also snapped a three-game road losing skid.

Roster Shake Up
- Dec. 19—G Michael Hutchinson released from AHL contract by Grand Rapids and signed to a one-year contract by Detroit; G John Lethemon reassigned from Toledo (ECHL) to Grand Rapids by Detroit; F Austin Czarnik recalled by Detroit
- Dec. 23—D Simon Edvinsson recalled by Detroit; D Simon Edvinsson and F Austin Czarnik reassigned by Detroit
- Dec. 26— F Jonatan Berggren, F Austin Czarnik and D Simon Edvinsson recalled by Detroit
- Dec. 28—F Alex Doucet reassigned to Grand Rapids from Toledo by Detroit; D Simon Edvinsson reassigned by Detroit; F Dominik Shine re-signed to a one-year contract by Grand Rapids

This Date in Griffins History
2018: Chris Terry registers a goal and two assists in regulation before scoring the only tally of the shootout, pacing the Griffins to a 4-3 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Van Andel Arena.

Long and Twisted Road
The Griffins conclude a four-game road trip tonight at Chicago. Grand Rapids has not fared well away from home, as it is just 3-9-2-1 (.300) with a minus-22 scoring margin in foreign territory compared to a 7-4-1-0 (.625) mark at home with a plus-eight margin. Dating back to Nov. 17, the Griffins have won just two out of their last 10 road contests (2-6-2-0). Grand Rapids’ nine points on the road through 15 games are tied for 28th on the circuit, while its 15 points at home through 12 contests are tied for 14th. Despite the lackluster road ledger, the Griffins are just two points behind third place in the Central Division with two games in hand.

It’s Taco Time
Last Tuesday, Taro Hirose passed Mitch Callahan for seventh on the Griffins’ all-time point list with 187 (47-140—187). The former Michigan State Spartan has also continued to climb the team’s all-time assist list, as he took sole possession of third place with his 136th helper on Dec. 1. Hirose is 42 assists from tying Travis Richards for second on the assist list and nine points from tying Tomas Tatar for sixth on the point list. The 27-year-old enjoyed a season-high seven-game point streak (3-7—10) from Nov. 17-Dec. 5, which tied Simon Edvinsson for the longest run of the campaign by a Griffin. Hirose, who has competed for the Griffins for the past five campaigns, has six multi-point games this season and has three assists in his last four outings.

Numbers Don’t Lie
Below is a list of interesting trends and records this season for the Griffins:
- 7-0-1-0 when leading after two periods, compared to 3-13-2-1 when tied or trailing;
- 8-1-1-0 when scoring at least four goals, compared to 2-12-2-1 when scoring three or less;
- 9-2-0-0 when allowing two goals or less, compared to 1-11-3-1 when allowing three or more;
- 2-7-2-1 when allowing 20-29 shots a game, compared to 5-6-1-0 when allowing 30 or more;
- 4-9-2-1 when allowing a power-play goal, 7-5-2-1 when scoring a power-play goal;
- 83.7% home penalty kill, compared to 71.2% on the road.

Future is Bright
Rookie Carter Mazur has three goals in his last four games after being held scoreless in his previous five outings. The Jackson, Michigan, product is tied for fifth on the roster with 11 points (6-5—11) in 21 contests. On Nov. 15 against Chicago, Mazur tied his career high of three points (2-1—3) and later logged his second multi-point game of the season on Dec. 2 at Milwaukee (1-1—2). This past summer, the 21-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 17 points (9-8—17) in 27 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.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
has three points (2-1—3) in his last three outings, which included goals in consecutive games from Dec. 15-19. Berggren now has 14 points (7-7—14) in his last 13 games with the Griffins. 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 ranks second on the roster with 18 points (7-11—18) in 19 outings and has a combined 89 points (32-57—89) in 96 career AHL appearances from 2021-24. 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). The prospect has appeared in 74 games with the Red Wings throughout two seasons and has 32 points (17-15—32), including four points (2-2—4) in seven appearances this campaign. Berggren was recalled by Detroit on Tuesday under emergency conditions.

Timmy G
Newcomer Tim Gettinger has been a welcome addition to the Griffins’ roster this season, as he ranks fourth on the team in points (7-7—14) and is tied for first in goals (7). The sixth-year pro has four points (1-3—4) in his last four games and posted two points in consecutive games from Dec. 15-19. Gettinger is on pace to have a career season in the AHL, as his projected 20 goals and 40 points would both set a new career best. The 6-foot-6 forward notched career-high numbers last season in points (35) and assists (22). From 2018-23, the 25-year-old competed for the Hartford Wolf Pack and logged 133 points (62-71—133) in 237 outings. Gettinger signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings this past offseason.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—3.09 GAA places eighth among rookie netminders, .897 save percentage ranks eighth among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Six goals are tied for fourth among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for fifth among defensemen, two game-winners are tied for fifth among defensemen
Antti Tuomisto—One game-winner is tied for first among rookie defensemen

On Dec. 27, Joel L’Esperance recorded his 200th point as a pro with a goal at Rockford. On Dec. 19, Taro Hirose passed Mitch Callahan for seventh on the team’s all-time point list with 187.
Josiah Didier—One game from 400 in the AHL
Tim Gettinger
—Two points from 150 as a pro, three points from 150 in the AHL
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin
Nolan Stevens—Two goals from 50 as a pro

Photo by Mark Newman/Griffins