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Game Notes: Griffins vs. Monsters - March 27, 2024

Mar 27, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (31-18-7-4) vs. Cleveland Monsters (35-21-3-3)

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

Griffins Game #61 * Home Game #32 * AHL Game #988

Season Series: 1-1-3-2 Home Series: 1-0-2-0 Road Series: 0-1-1-2
All-Time Series:
72-39-9-13 All-Time Home Series: 41-18-4-3 All-Time Road Series: 31-21-5-10

Monsters at Griffins
Eighth of eight meetings overall, fourth of four at Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids is 18-8-4-3 (.652) against Cleveland in the past three seasons and has points in 19 out of the last 24 games overall (12-5-4-3, .574), including a five-game point streak at home against the Monsters (2-0-2-1)...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 20-10-4-3 (.635) against Cleveland and have outscored them 114-99. On home ice during that span, Grand Rapids is 11-3-3-1 (.722) against the Monsters with a plus-16 scoring margin (58-42)...Cleveland’s power play ranks 14th in the AHL at 19.3% and its penalty kill is tied for 23rd at 80.3%...The Griffins’ power play is tied for 25th at 17.2% and their penalty kill comes in at 81.8% (T15th)...Cleveland is 4-6-0-0 in its last 10 outings and has dropped three straight games...The Griffins are 4-3-2-1 in their last 10 games, are on a two-game winning streak overall and a franchise-tying 16-game home point streak (11-0-3-2)...On the road, the Monsters are 16-8-2-3, while Grand Rapids is 19-6-4-2 at home...Five of the first seven meetings have been decided past regulation. Grand Rapids has overcome a third-period deficit to the tie the game in four of the seven clashes...Right wing Trey Fix-Wolansky leads the Monsters against the Griffins with nine points (4-5—9) in six games this campaign. Fix-Wolansky is tied for eighth in the AHL with 54 points (23-31—54) in 51 outings...Monsters’ goaltender Jet Greaves has an all-time record of 8-2-1 against the Griffins with a 2.32 GAA since 2021-22. Greaves’ 27 wins this season rank first on the circuit...The Monsters are the third-most frequent opponent of the Griffins, as this game marks the 134th meeting between the two franchises (Milwaukee 218, Chicago 198)...Defenseman Wyatt Newpower played for Cleveland during the 2020-21 season and head coach Dan Watson suited up for the Cleveland Barons from 2002-04...Tim Gettinger is a native of Cleveland.

Last Time Out
Sebastian Cossa
pushed his point streak to 15 games in a 4-3 Griffins victory over the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Center on Saturday, which tied a franchise record for a point streak by a goaltender. Marc Lamothe set the record with a 9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL) record from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Matt Luff's point streak stretched to five games (2-4--6) while it also carried him to 10 points (4-6--10) in his last 10 outings. Marco Kasper's two points (1-1--2) gave the young forward four points (2-2--4) in his last four games. With an assist, Taro Hirose tied Tomas Tatar for sixth place on the team’s all-time points list with 196.

This Date in Griffins History
2005: Kip Miller earns his 1000th pro point with an assist in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 loss at Houston. Miller finishes his three seasons with the Griffins with 173 points in 169 games.

Roster Shakeup
- March 11—F Tim Gettinger re-signed to a one-year contract extension by Detroit
- March 14—F Austin Czarnik recalled by Detroit; F Trenton Bliss recalled from Toledo (ECHL) by Grand Rapids
- March 15—D Jared McIsaac reassigned from HC Ambri-Piotta (Swiss) to Providence (AHL) by Detroit; F Curtis Hall reassigned from Providence to Grand Rapids by Boston
- March 17—F Trenton Bliss reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) by Grand Rapids
- March 19—D Simon Edvinsson recalled by Detroit; G Carter Gylander signed to an ATO by Grand Rapids
- March 25—F Jonatan Berggren reassigned by Detroit
- March 26—F Emmitt Finnie signed to an ATO by Grand Rapids

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 wins in four of their last five games. 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. The Griffins’ active 16-game home point streak (11-0-3-2) is tied for the franchise record that was established from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004 and is 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 31 of their last 37 contests (23-6-5-3). The Griffins are 22-5-4-3 (.750) 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 22 of its last 26 games (17-4-3-2) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 13 of its past 17 road appearances (10-4-2-1). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 19-6-4-2 mark, outscoring their opponents 96-71. Grand Rapids has battled on the road this season, earning points in 12 of its last 15 games to move to 12-12-3-2 away from home.

Records are Meant to be Broken
The Griffins have rewritten the record book in multiple categories this season. Most recently, Grand Rapids tied a franchise record with a point in its 16th straight home game, a 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 two 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). Now 10-0-5 since Jan. 19, Sebastian Cossa has tied Marc Lamothe’s franchise-record 15-game point streak of 9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. 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.

Black Magic
As the regular season inches closer to its completion, the Griffins have clinched a winning record and are in second place in the Central Division with a 31-18-7-4 record and 73 points with just 12 games remaining. The Griffins are 21 points above the playoff cutline and have a magic number of two points to clinch a playoff spot. The Griffins just need one more victory to clinch their 18th playoff berth in 28 seasons.

TeamPointsPCTGames LeftHomeRoadOpp. Points %GR Magic # OverMagic # Over GR
1x - MIL







x - Clinched Playoffs

Like Father, Like Son
Recently acquired center Curtis Hall is the son of former Griffins center Mike Hall, who played seven games for Grand Rapids during the 2000-01 campaign, scoring one goal. They are the third father-son duo to have played for the Griffins, joining Chris (2008-09) and Jake (2018-19) Chelios, and Derek (1999-01; 2002-04) and D.J. (2021-22) King. Family ties have been a common theme throughout the franchise’s history, as five sets of brothers have suited up for the Griffins: Sheldon (2001-03) and Wade (2001-02) Brookbank; Valtteri (2005-07) and Ilari (2010-11) Filppula; Kevin (1999-00; 03-04), Kelly (1999-00) and Kip (2000-02; 04-05; 06-07) Miller, along with cousin Drew (2016-17); Todd (1996-98; 99-00; 01-02) and Jeff (1996-97; 03-04; 05-06) Nelson; and Givani (2016-17; 18-21; 22-23) and Gemel (2021-22) Smith.

Sea Bass Fishing
Sebastian Cossa
is on an active 15-game point streak from Jan. 19-March 23 (10-0-5), tying Marc Lamothe’s franchise-record 15-game point streak of 9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 12-1-5 ledger with a 2.08 goals against average and a .924 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just six times in his past 18 games. Through 31 contests, Cossa is 16-7-8 with one shutout to go along with a 2.54 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Cossa ranks fifth among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage. Cossa named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week on Feb. 26 when he posted a 2-0-0 record with one shutout to go along with a 1.00 GAA and a .970 save percentage from Feb. 21-25. On Feb. 21, the 21-year-old collected his first AHL shutout with 28 saves in a 1-0 victory over the Texas Stars, lifting Grand Rapids past Texas into second place in the Central Division and becoming just the third Griffins rookie to record a shutout over the last nine seasons. Cossa went on to stop 37 shots on Feb. 25, including 14 in the third period, to help the Griffins snap Milwaukee’s 19-game winning streak and extend Grand Rapids’ point streak to 15 games (11-0-2-2).

Kasper the Friendly Ghost
Last weekend, rookie Marco Kasper enjoyed three points (1-2—3) in two games and now has four points (2-2—4) in his last four outings. The 2022 eighth overall pick by the Red Wings has eight points (5-3—8) in his last 12 games and ranks fifth on the roster with 30 points (12-18—30) in 59 contests. The 19-year-old was named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending on Jan. 21 when he totaled five points (3-2—5) in two games at Manitoba. The Klagenfurt, Austria, native made his NHL debut with the Red Wings as an 18-year-old on April 2, 2023 at the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Tower of Terror
Elmer Soderblom
, standing at 6-foot-8, enjoyed a three-game point streak (2-1—3) from March 16-20. The tallest player to ever compete for the Griffins also has four points (3-1—4) in his last six outings and six points (4-2—6) in his last 11 appearances. In 55 games this season, the Gothenburg, Sweden, native has 26 points (11-15—26), eight penalty minutes and a plus-one rating. Last campaign, the 22-year-old posted eight points (5-3—8) in 20 games with the Griffins on top of producing eight points (5-3—8) in 21 games with the Detroit Red Wings. Soderblom was selected with the 159th overall pick by Detroit in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
, reassigned to Grand Rapids by Detroit on Monday, is on an active six-game point streak (3-5—8) from Feb. 24-March 4 and has 22 points (11-11—22) in his last 19 games from Jan. 13-March 4. Berggren also has 28 points (12-16—28) in his last 24 outings and 31 points (14-17—31) in his last 27 contests from Dec. 15- March 4. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (19-27—46), assists (27) and goals (19) through 43 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 117 points (44-73—117) in 120 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).

It’s Taco Time
Taro Hirose
enjoyed a three-game assist streak from March 12-16 (0-4—4), which was one game shy of tying his season-high assist mark set from Nov. 17-27 (0-5—5). Hirose, who is in his fifth season as a Griffin, has seven points (1-6—7) in his last nine outings. The Calgary, Alberta, native has logged a total of 31 points (7-24—31) in 44 appearances this season, after having missed 12 straight games from Dec. 29-Jan. 27 due to rehabbing an injury. Last Saturday, the 27-year-old tied Tomas Tatar for sixth place on the Griffins’ all-time points list with 196 and his 148 assists rank third in franchise history.

Age is Wisdom
Veteran forwards Zach Aston-Reese, Joel L’Esperance and Dominik Shine have found a groove as of late. Aston-Reese registered two goals in two games from March 20-23 and now has nine points (5-4—9) in his last 13 games. L’Esperance tallied an assist in both games last weekend and has eight points (3-5—8) in his last 13 appearances. Finally, Shine is on a season-high five-game point streak (2-5—7) and has eight points (3-5—8) in his last nine outings. Shine has tied his career high with 32 points, while setting a new career best with 22 assists. Combined, the trio has amassed 420 points (211-209—420) in 833 AHL games over 18 campaigns.

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. After being held scoreless in his first five outings, Luff is on an active five-game point streak from March 15-23 (2-4—6), and now has 10 points (4-6—10) in his last 10 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 155 points (61-94—155) in 212 career AHL outings from 2016-24.

Clutch Hutch
Veteran goaltender Michael Hutchinson has been solid for the Griffins this year, posting a 14-11-3 mark with two shutouts in 29 games to go along with a 2.77 goals against average and an .896 save percentage. The 33-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 9-4-2 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 120-82-23 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 2.47 goals per game from Dec. 27-March 23. 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 170 goals through 60 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and seventh in the AHL. Grand Rapids is also ninth on the circuit with 2.83 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.62). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.54) and Michael Hutchinson (2.77) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Antti Tuomisto (+8), Albert Johansson (+8), Simon Edvinsson (+5), Radim Simek (+4), Eemil Viro (+3), William Wallinder (+2) and Brogan Rafferty (+2) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

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 just one game (John Lethemon & Ville Husso). The team has also used just 30 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 74-49 in the final frame and outshot their opponents 559-535. Grand Rapids has six wins when trailing after the second period, which is tied for fourth in the AHL. The Griffins also have a 35-24 shot advantage in overtime this campaign. However, Grand Rapids is just 5-11 in games decided past regulation (3-7 in OT, 2-4 in SO). The Griffins’ 18 losses in regulation this season are tied for the third fewest in the AHL, while their seven overtime defeats are tied for the fifth most and the four shootout losses are tied for the fourth most.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 31-18-7-4 record and 73 points, 22 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 12 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 11 times, with its only game outside of the division coming against Cleveland. The Griffins have done well against their division rivals, as they are 25-11-3-2 (.671) with a plus-21 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Iowa (6-0-0-0). Chicago and Rockford will be the Griffins’ most frequent opponents down the stretch, as there are still four meetings remaining against each franchise.

Pucks on Net
The Griffins have done well when outshooting their opponents this season with a 16-3-4-4 (.741) record compared to a 14-14-3-0 (.500) mark when they are being outshot. Grand Rapids is 18-5-3-4 (.717) when producing at least 30 shots and 18-9-5-2 (.632) when it keeps its opponents between 20-29 shots. The Griffins rank 17th in the AHL with 29.4 shots per game, while they concede the seventh fewest in the league at 28.2. The Griffins are averaging 28.3 shots per game in their last nine outings, while giving up an average of 27.0.

Under Three is Key
Unsurprisingly, the Griffins have done well in games where they have scored four or more goals, going 22-1-2-0 (.920). Although, when scoring three goals or less the team is just 9-17-5-4 (.386). Grand Rapids has reached the four-goal mark in seven of its last 14 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 8-15-7-3 (.394) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 23-3-0-1 mark (.870) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 14 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals seven times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.54 GAA places fifth among rookie netminders, .912 save percentage ranks fifth among rookie goaltenders
Simon Edvinsson—Eight goals are tied for 15th among defensemen, three game-winners are tied for fourth among defensemen
Carter Mazur—Six power-play goals are tied for seventh among rookies, 15 goals are tied for 14th among rookies
Antti Tuomisto—Five goals are tied for eighth 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-eight rating ranks 11th among rookie defensemen
William Wallinder—Three goals are tied for 16th among rookie defensemen

Last Saturday, Taro Hirose tied Tomas Tatar (196) for sixth place on the Griffins’ all-time points list.
Jonatan Berggren—Two games from 300 as a pro
Curtis Hall—Three games from 150 as a pro
Taro Hirose—Two goals from 50 as a Griffin, two assists from 150 as a Griffin, four points from 200 as a Griffin, two games from 300 as a pro
Marco Kasper—Two assists from 50 as a pro
Brogan Rafferty—Three games form 250 in the AHL

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins