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Game Notes: Griffins vs. Admirals - Feb. 25, 2024

Feb 25, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (24-15-5-3) vs. Milwaukee Admirals (36-10-1-0)

Game Time: 5 p.m. at Van Andel Arena

Griffins Game #48 * Home Game #25 * AHL Game #800

Season Series: 2-2-0-0 Home Series: 1-1-0-0 Road Series: 1-1-0-0
All-Time Series:
111-82-7-8-8 All-Time Home Series: 59-39-2-3-3 All-Time Road Series: 52-43-5-5-5

Admirals at Griffins
Fifth of eight meetings overall, third of four at Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids is 13-18-1-0 (.422) against Milwaukee since the 2019-20 campaign...Dating back to the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 6-9-1-0 (.406) against the Admirals in Grand Rapids with a minus-four scoring margin (44-40)...The Admirals are 10-0-0-0 in their last 10 games and are on a 19-game winning streak, which is the second-longest streak in AHL history...The Griffins are 7-0-1-2 in their last 10 games and are on a season-best 14-game point streak (10-0-2-2), which is the second-longest run in the AHL...Milwaukee is 16-6-1-0 on the road this season, while Grand Rapids is 14-6-3-1 at home...The Griffins are on a nine-game home point streak (6-0-2-1)...The two teams combined have not lost in regulation in 33 games…Milwaukee’s penalty kill is tied for 11th at 83.3% while its power play ranks 13th at 19.4%...The Griffins’ power play is tied for 17th at 18.2% and their penalty kill comes in at 79.7% (26th)...Admirals’ goaltender Yaroslav Askarov is tied for second in the AHL with a 2.04 GAA and fifth with a .923 save percentage. Since Jan. 1, Askarov is 13-0-0 with five shutouts, a 1.60 GAA and a .940 save percentage...Milwaukee netminder Troy Grosenick ranks 11th with 2.42 GAA and 11th with a .917 save percentage. Since Jan. 1, Grosenick is 6-0-0 with two shutouts, a 1.48 GAA and a .941 save percentage...Grand Rapids has faced Milwaukee more than any other opponent – 217th meeting tonight – and the Griffins’ 111 victories against the Admirals are the most against any foe…Former Griffin Jasper Weatherby (2022-23) is featured on Milwaukee’s roster.

Last Time Out
Jonatan Berggren
and Elmer Soderblom combined for two goals in 13 seconds during the second period, which helped push the Griffins' point streak to 14 games with a 4-1 victory over the Texas Stars at Van Andel Arena on Saturday. Grand Rapids last saw the team reach a 14-game point streak (10-0-2-2) during a 15-game run from Nov. 18-Dec. 26, 2015 (15-0-0-0). It has been roughly eight years since the Griffins have sported a home game point streak (6-0-2-1) of nine games, as it last occurred when the team earned a point in 15 consecutive games at Van Andel Arena from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). Since Dec. 31, Berggren has been above a point per game with 21 points (10-11--21) in 19 contests. Simon Edvinsson collected a tally, which added to the defender's team-leading points by a defenseman with 26 (7-19--26). In his 400th game with Grand Rapids, Dominik Shine picked up a goal. Michael Hutchinson stretched his point streak to six games (4-0-2) after he denied the Stars more than one goal with a .957 save percentage (22-of-23).

Roster Shake Up
- Feb. 13—D Jared McIsaac reassigned to HC Ambri-Piotta (Switzerland) from Grand Rapids by Detroit
- Feb. 19—F Matt Luff assigned by Detroit

This Date in Griffins History
2006: Grand Rapids records its 40th win, a 5-4 shootout decision at Syracuse, marking its seventh consecutive 40-win season overall and fifth straight as members of the AHL, tying for the second-longest run in league annals.

Mano A Mano
Tonight’s contest features the two hottest teams in the AHL, as Milwaukee is on a 19-game winning streak and the Griffins are on a 14-game point streak. The two teams combined have not lost in regulation in 33 games. Milwaukee’s 19-game win streak is the second-longest run in AHL history, trailing only the Norfolk Admirals’ 28-game stretch in 2011-12. Since Jan. 1, Yaroslav Askarov is 13-0-0 with five shutouts, a 1.60 GAA and a .940 save percentage, while Troy Grosenick is 6-0-0 with two shutouts, a 1.48 GAA and a .941 save percentage.

Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Griffins saw their season-high seven-game win streak (Jan. 19-Feb. 9) come to an end on Feb. 9, which was the longest win streak since the team rattled off a 13-game run from Feb. 20-March 19, 2016. However, Grand Rapids is still on a 14-game point streak (10-0-2-2, Jan. 13-Feb. 24), which is the second-longest run in the AHL this season and the team’s longest since Nov. 18-Dec. 26, 2015 (15-0-0-0). Grand Rapids saw its season-best seven-game road winning streak (Dec. 27-Feb. 2) come to an end last Tuesday, which was tied for the longest road winning streak in franchise history (Jan. 29-Feb. 28, 2015 and Oct. 16-Dec. 3, 2004). Grand Rapids’ active nine-game road point streak (8-0-0-1) is the longest since an 11-game run (9-0-1-1) from Jan. 29-March 12, 2015 and the longest in the AHL this season. The Griffins have secured at least a point in 21 of their last 24 contests (16-3-3-2). The Griffins are 15-2-2-2 since Christmas and have a pair of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2015-16. Grand Rapids has points in 15 of its last 18 games (12-4-2-1) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 10 of its past 11 road appearances (8-1-1-1). The Griffins’ active nine-game home point streak is the team’s first since the team earned a point in 15 straight games from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 14-6-3-1 mark, outscoring their opponents 73-55. Grand Rapids has started to find a rhythm on the road, earning points in nine straight games to move above the .500 mark away from home (10-9-2-2).

Clutch Hutch
Veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been solid for the Griffins this year, posting a 12-8-3 mark with one shutout in 24 games to go along with a 2.72 goals against average and a .899 save percentage. The 33-year-old is on an active six-game point streak from Jan. 13-Feb. 24 (4-0-2) and has a .890 save percentage and a 2.63 goals against average during the run. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Hutchinson has accumulated a 7-1-2 record with a .905 save percentage and a 2.41 goals against average. The Barrie, Ontario, native has an all-time AHL record of 118-79-23 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.

Sea Bass Fishing
On Wednesday, Sebastian Cossa collected his first AHL shutout with a 28-save performance against the Texas Stars. He became just the third Griffins rookie to record a shutout over the last nine seasons. He is also just the fifth Griffins rookie to win a game 1-0, the first to do it in more than 11 years, and the second to do it in nearly 22 years. Cossa won a team-high four straight games from Jan. 19-Feb. 2 and is currently on a seven-game point streak (6-0-2) from Jan. 19-Feb. 21. The 6-foot-7 goaltender is 8-2-3 in his last 13 outings from Dec. 15-Feb. 21. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 7-1-2 ledger with a 1.89 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just three times in his past 10 games. Through 23 contests, Cossa is 11-7-5 with one shutout to go along with a 2.63 goals against average and a .909 save percentage. The 21-year-old ranks sixth among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage.

I Need to Rest
The Griffins competed in five straight games that were decided past regulation from Feb. 2-16, which tied a franchise record set from Jan. 19-20, 2009. Last Friday was the first time in Griffins history that they lost on a penalty shot in overtime. The only other time they faced one was against the Monsters on Nov. 7, 2010 when Jordan Pearce stopped Lake Erie’s Brandon Rogers. The Griffins came away with two of the five victories from Feb. 2-16 (2-0-1-2) and are now 4-8 this season in games decided after regulation. As a team, the Griffins are a combined 6-for-25 during a shootout (24%), as Tim Gettinger (2-for-3) paces the team with a 66.7% conversion rate. Sebastian Cossa has stopped 75% (9-for-12) of opponents’ shootout attempts and Michael Hutchinson comes in at 66.7% (8-for-12). The Griffins have an all-time record of 117-126 during a shootout.

Wall-E
Rookie defenseman William Wallinder enjoyed a season-high three-game assist streak (0-3—3) from Feb. 13-17. Through 45 games, the Solleftea, Sweden, native has 11 points (3-8—11), eight penalty minutes and a plus-four rating. Wallinder’s three goals are tied for 13th among first-year defensemen in the AHL. The 21-year-old was selected with the 32nd overall pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Last season with Rogle BK (SHL), Wallinder paced the Champions Hockey League defensemen with seven assists and in 2021-22 was named the Swedish Junior Hockey Player of the Year in addition to claiming a bronze medal at the World Junior Championship.

Lock it Down
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.24 goals per game from Dec. 27-Feb. 24. 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 133 goals through 47 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and tied for fifth in the AHL. Grand Rapids is also tied for ninth on the circuit with 2.83 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.36). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.63) and Michael Hutchinson (2.72) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Albert Johansson (+8), Simon Edvinsson (+7), William Wallinder (+4), Brogan Rafferty (+4) and Antti Tuomisto (+3) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
enjoyed a four-game point streak (3-1—4) from Feb. 9-16 and has 15 points (9-6—15) in his last 14 games from Jan. 13-Feb. 24. Berggren also has 21 points (10-11—21) in his last 19 outings and 24 points (12-12—24) in his last 22 contests from Dec. 15-Feb. 24. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (17-22—39), assists (22) and goals (17) through 38 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 110 points (42-68—110) in 115 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).

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 24-15-5-3 record and 56 points, 17 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 25 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 22 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 18-9-2-1 (.650) with a plus-16 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Chicago (3-0-0-0) and Iowa (2-0-0-0), while it has collected just two wins against Milwaukee (2-2-0-0). Iowa will be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still six meetings against the franchise. Grand Rapids will also see a lot of Chicago (5) and Rockford (5) as the season progresses.


Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 17-1-1-0 (.921). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 7-14-4-3 (.375). Grand Rapids has surpassed the four-goal mark in 11 of its last 24 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 6-12-5-3 (.385) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 18-3-0-0 mark (.857) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 24 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 12 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.63 GAA places sixth among rookie netminders, .909 save percentage ranks sixth among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Two game-winners are tied for sixth among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Five power-play goals are tied for ninth among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Four goals are tied for eighth among rookie defensemen, one power-play goal is tied for sixth among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for first among rookie defensemen
William Wallinder—Three goals are tied for 13th among rookie defensemen

Milestones
Last night, Dominik Shine competed in his 400th game as a Griffin. Zach Aston-Reese competed in his 100th game in the AHL last Friday. Jonatan Berggren recorded his 200th point as a pro on Feb. 10 against Manitoba, while Simon Edvinsson registered his 50th point as a Griffin.
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin
Matt Luff—One game from 200 in the AHL
Tyler Spezia—One assist from 50 as a Griffin

Photo by Mark Newman/Griffins