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Game Notes: Griffins vs. Admirals - Jan. 10, 2024

Jan 10, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (14-13-3-1) vs. Milwaukee Admirals (19-10-1-0)

Game Time: 7 p.m. at Van Andel Arena

January 10, 2024  ·  2 Minutes

Game Day Preview - January 10 vs. Milwaukee Admirals

Griffins Game #32 * Home Game #14 * AHL Game #513

Season Series: 2-1-0-0 Home Series: 1-0-0-0 Road Series: 1-1-0-0
All-Time Series:
111-81-7-8-8 All-Time Home Series: 59-38-2-3-3 All-Time Road Series: 52-43-5-5-5

Admirals at Griffins
Fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four at Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids is 13-17-1-0 (.435) against Milwaukee since the 2019-20 campaign...Dating back to the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 6-8-1-0 (.433) against the Admirals in Grand Rapids with a minus-three scoring margin (41-38)...The Admirals are 8-2-0-0 in their last 10 games and are on a two-game winning streak...The Griffins are 6-3-1-0 in their last 10 games and are on a season-best five-game winning streak...Milwaukee is 9-6-1-0 on the road this season, while Grand Rapids is 8-4-1-0 at home...The Griffins have won four of their last five home games, while the Admirals have lost two out of their last three road contests...Milwaukee’s penalty kill is tied for 20th at 80.0% while its power play ranks 10th at 19.6%...The Griffins’ power play ranks ninth at 20.6% and their penalty kill comes in at 76.4% (T28th)...Admirals’ goaltender Yaroslav Askarov ranks second in the AHL with a 2.14 GAA and tied for sixth with a .920 save percentage. Last week, Askarov was named the AHL Player of the Week when he posted back-to-back shut outs of Colorado (56 combined saves). In seven career games played against the Griffins, Askarov holds a 3-4-0 record with a 1.88 GAA...Grand Rapids has faced Milwaukee more than any other opponent – 216th 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
Michael Hutchinson's
29 saves backstopped the Griffins to their first weekend road series sweep of the season with another 4-1 victory over the Iowa Wild at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday. The win extended the Griffins' win streak to a season-high of five games. Both Hutchinson and Sebastian Cossa shined against Iowa over the weekend, as they combined for a .966 save percentage (57-for-59) while only allowing two goals. Joel L'Esperance's second-period tally lengthened his goal streak to five games, which is the team's longest goal streak of the season. Carter Mazur scored his sixth goal in eight games. Jonatan Berggren picked up two points in the contest with a tally and a helper.

Roster Shake Up
- Jan. 3—F Trenton Bliss recalled by Grand Rapids
- Jan. 7—F Zach Aston-Reese reassigned by Detroit
- Jan. 9—F Alex Doucet reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) from Grand Rapids by Detroit; F Trenton Bliss reassigned to Toledo by Grand Rapids

This Date in Griffins History
2002: Kip Miller sets a franchise record with six points (2 goals, 4 assists), while Chris Bala inks his name in the record books with five assists in a 7-3 beatdown of the Chicago Wolves.

Keep the Foot on the Gas
The Griffins have climbed above .500 and into third place in the Central Division by winning a season-best five games in a row and earning points in seven of their last eight contests (6-1-1-0). Since returning from the holiday break, the Griffins have outscored their opponents 23-8, scoring an average of 4.60 goals per game. Grand Rapids has also allowed just one goal in three consecutive games from Dec. 31-Jan. 6. Grand Rapids has won six of its last eight games (6-2-0-0) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in five of its past six road appearances (4-1-1-0). The Griffins have been stellar at home with an 8-4-1-0 mark, outscoring their opponents 42-30. Although it has been better in foreign territory as of late, earning four straight victories, Grand Rapids still holds a 6-9-2-1 record away from home and is being outscored 64-51. The Griffins are one game above the .500 mark (14-13-3-1) for the first time since Oct. 20, when they stood at 2-1-0-0.

One-Two Punch
Goaltenders Sebastian Cossa and Michael Hutchinson have won a combined five games in a row and have allowed an average of 1.60 goals per game during the run. Cossa is on a two-game winning streak with a .933 save percentage, while Hutchinson has collected three straight wins with a .939 save percentage. The Griffins have allowed just one goal in each of their last three games. Through 16 appearances, Hutchinson shows an 8-7-1 record with one shutout to go along with a 2.73 GAA and a .903 save percentage. Cossa has suited up for 15 games this season and has a 6-6-3 ledger with a 2.95 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Cossa ranks sixth among rookies in goals against average and sixth in save percentage. Combined, the netminding duo has a 2.84 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.

Future is Bright
Rookie Carter Mazur lit the lamp in four straight games from Dec. 20-31 and has scored six goals in his last eight contests after being held scoreless in his previous five outings. Since Dec. 15, Mazur has seven points (6-1—7) in eight outings. The Jackson, Michigan, product ranks fifth on the roster with 15 points (9-6—15) in 25 contests and is tied for 12th among AHL rookies with nine goals. 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 21 points (12-9—21) in 31 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.

Jumping for Joel
For the first 11 games of the campaign, Joel L’Esperance had just two points (0-2—2) and was without a goal. Since then, the prolific goal scorer has 12 points (11-1—12) in his last 18 games, including 11 goals. L’Esperance has found the back of the net in a team-high five consecutive games and now leads the roster with 11 goals in 29 appearances. In 2022-23, the sixth-year pro tied his career high of 49 points (25-24—49) and potted over 20 goals for the fourth straight season. During his 300th pro contest on Nov. 24 versus Manitoba, the Brighton, Michigan, native scored two goals, and he later bagged his 200th pro point with another tally on Dec. 27 at Rockford. Throughout parts of six AHL seasons, L’Esperance has 199 points (116-83—199) in 284 outings.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
has five points (1-4—5) in his last three outings, which includes a three-game assist streak. Berggren also has eight points (3-5—8) in his last six games from Dec. 15-Jan. 6 and now leads the roster with 23 points (8-15—23) in 22 games this season. The Enkoping, Sweden, product enjoyed a six-game point streak in the AHL (4-5—8) from Nov. 18-Dec. 5, which included a 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 has a combined 94 points (33-61—94) in 99 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 76 games with the Red Wings throughout two seasons and has 33 points (17-16—33), including five points (2-2—4) in nine appearances this campaign.

The Kids Are Alright
The Griffins’ roster is littered with Detroit Red Wings prospects that are starting to find their footing in the American Hockey League. Jonatan Berggren (3-5—8 in last 6 GP), Sebastian Cossa (3-1-1 in 5 GP), Simon Edvinsson (0-3—3 in 3 GP), Albert Johansson (2-3—5 in 7 GP), Marco Kasper (1-5—6 in 5 GP), Amadeus Lombardi (0-3—3 in 6 GP), Carter Mazur (6-1—7 in 8 GP), Elmer Soderblom (1-4—5 in 6 GP) and Antti Tuomisto (2-1—3 in 5 GP) have all produced on the offensive side of the ice as of late. Berggren leads the team with 23 points (8-15—23), Mazur is tied for 12th among rookies with nine goals, Tuomisto is tied for sixth among rookie defensemen with three goals, Edvinsson is tied for seventh among defensemen with six goals, and Johansson is tied for seventh among defensemen with a plus-13 rating.

Come Out of the Gates Fast
Playing with the lead has been huge for the Griffins this season, as they are 8-1-1-0 when leading after the first period, 11-0-1-0 when leading after the second, and 11-6-1-1 when scoring first. In comparison, Grand Rapids is just 6-12-2-1 when trailing or tied after the opening frame and 3-13-2-1 when trailing or tied after the second. The Griffins’ largest comeback of the season came on Dec. 15 against Texas when they trailed by two goals early in the second period and went on to collect a 4-2 victory. The last time Grand Rapids trailed in the third period and came back to win was on Dec. 9 at Belleville (trailed 2-1, won 4-3 in overtime).

Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 12-1-1-0 (.893). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 2-12-2-1 (.206). Grand Rapids has scored four or more goals in five straight games and in six of its last eight outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 2-11-3-1 (.235) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 12-2-0-0 mark (.857) when allowing two goals or less. In their last nine appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals just three times and have allowed just one goal in three straight contests.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.95 GAA places sixth among rookie netminders, .901 save percentage ranks sixth among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Six goals are tied for seventh among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for seventh among defensemen, two game-winners are tied for fifth among defensemen
Albert Johansson—Plus-13 rating is tied for seventh among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Nine goals are tied for 12th among rookies, two game-winners are tied for sixth among rookies, three power-play goals are tied for 10th among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Three goals are tied for sixth among rookie defensemen, two game-winners are tied for sixth among rookies

Tim Gettinger recorded his 150th pro point and 150th AHL point on Jan. 5 at the Iowa Wild, while Joel L’Esperance scored a goal in his 100th game as a Griffin.
Jonatan Berggren—One game from 100 as a Griffin and in the AHL
Austin Czarnik—Two goals from 100 in the AHL
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin
Joel L’Esperance—One point from 200 in the AHL
Nolan Stevens—Two goals from 50 as a pro

Photo by Milwaukee Admirals