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Game Notes: Griffins vs. Wild - Feb. 28, 2024

Feb 28, 2024
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (25-15-5-3) vs. Iowa Wild (18-29-2-2)

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

February 28, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

Game Day Preview - February 28 vs. Iowa Wild

Griffins Game #49 * Home Game #26 * AHL Game #812

Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Home Series: 0-0-0-0 Road Series: 2-0-0-0
All-Time Series:
45-23-5-3 All-Time Home Series: 21-10-4-2 All-Time Road Series: 24-13-1-1

Wild at Griffins
Third of eight meetings overall, first of four at Van Andel Arena…The Griffins are 14-11-4-1 (.550) overall since the 2019-20 season against the Wild but have been outscored by Iowa 100-90...Grand Rapids is 7-4-3-0 (.607) at home against Iowa since the 2019-20 season with a minus-one scoring margin (42-41)...The Griffins have points in six of the last 10 meetings (4-4-2-0, .500) against the Wild in Grand Rapids...The Wild are 8-14-2-1 on the road this season, while Grand Rapids is 15-6-3-1 at home...Iowa is 4-5-1-0 in its last 10 outings and is on a three-game losing skid (0-2-1-0)…The Griffins are 7-0-1-2 in their last 10 and are on a 15-game point streak overall and a 10-game point streak at home...The Wild’s power play is tied for 25th on the circuit at 16.7% and their penalty kill comes in at 71.9% (32nd)...Iowa ranks 31st out of 32 teams with an average of 2.45 goals scored per game and tied for 29th with an average of 3.53 goals allowed per contest...Former Griffins head coach Ben Simon (2018-23) is now an assistant coach for the Wild.

Last Time Out
The Griffins’ historical matchup against the Milwaukee Admirals on Sunday saw them come out victorious with a 4-2 win at Van Andel Arena, which extended the Griffins’ point streak to 15 outings (11-0-2-2) while it snapped the Admirals’ 19-game win streak. The contest was the first meeting in AHL history that had two teams with point streaks of at least 14 games. Grand Rapids’ last 15-game stretch came during 15 straight wins from Nov. 18-Dec. 26, 2015, while Milwaukee’s win streak finished as the second-longest run in AHL history. The Griffins home point streak sits at 10 games (7-0-2-1), which is the longest streak since a streak of 15 points on home ice from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016. Jonatan Berggren put two assists on the scoresheet in the win, which put the Enkoping, Sweden native at 23 points (10-13--23) in his last 20 contests. Sebastian Cossa extended his point streak to eight games (6-0-2) with a .945 save percentage (37-of-39) in the game, which totaled out to a .970 save percentage (65-of-67) through two contests this week after earning his first AHL shutout on Wednesday.

Roster Shake Up
- Feb. 19—F Matt Luff assigned by Detroit

This Date in Griffins History
2007: Ben Simon scores his first goal as a Griffin, but Grand Rapids falls to 0-5 in overtime decisions this season with a 3-2 defeat against the Rochester Americans.

Keep the Good Times Rolling
The Griffins are on a 15-game point streak (11-0-2-2) from Jan. 13-Feb. 25, 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). The Griffins’ active 10-game home point streak (7-0-2-1) is the second-longest run in the AHL this season and the team’s first since the they earned a point in 15 straight games at Van Andel Arena from Nov. 11, 2015-Jan. 17, 2016 (14-0-1-0). Grand Rapids’ active nine-game road point streak (8-0-0-1) is their 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 22 of their last 25 contests (17-3-3-2). The Griffins are 16-2-2-2 since Christmas and have had 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 16 of its last 19 games (13-4-2-1) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 10 of its past 11 road appearances (8-1-1-1). The Griffins have been solid at home with a 15-6-3-1 mark, outscoring their opponents 77-57. Grand Rapids found its rhythm on the road, earning points in nine straight games to move above the .500 mark away from home (10-9-2-2).

Historic Bout
On Sunday, the Griffins and Milwaukee Admirals made AHL history, as it was the first meeting between two teams riding point streaks of 14 games or more. Grand Rapids entered the night with points in 14 straight games and Milwaukee was on a 19-game winning streak, which was the second-longest run in AHL history. The Griffins came away victorious in a 4-2 win to extend their point streak to 15 outings (11-0-2-2), snapping the Admirals’ historic run. Sebastian Cossa finished with 37 saves and Marco Kasper was credited with the game-winner. The Griffins have not lost in regulation since a 2-0 setback on Jan. 12 against Rockford, while the Admirals’ defeat was their first since New Year’s Eve.

Sea Bass Fishing
Sebastian Cossa
was named the Howies Hockey Tape/AHL Player of the Week on Monday 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. Last Wednesday, 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 Sunday, 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). Cossa won a team-high four straight games from Jan. 19-Feb. 2 and is currently on an eight-game point streak (6-0-2) from Jan. 19-Feb. 25. Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 8-1-2 ledger with a 1.90 goals against average and a .931 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 11 games. Through 24 contests, Cossa is 12-7-5 with one shutout to go along with a 2.61 goals against average and a .911 save percentage. Cossa ranks sixth among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage.

Thou Shall Not Pass
The Griffins’ defense has been much improved since the holiday break, allowing an average of 2.32 goals per game from Dec. 27-Feb. 25 and 1.25 goals per game in their last four outings (Feb. 17-25). 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 135 goals through 48 games this season, which ranks second in the Central Division and tied for fifth in the AHL. Grand Rapids also ranks eighth on the circuit with 2.81 goals against per game, which is second in the division trailing only Milwaukee (2.40). Netminders Sebastian Cossa (2.61) and Michael Hutchinson (2.72) each possess a goals against average below 3.00. Defensemen Wyatt Newpower (+9), Albert Johansson (+8), Simon Edvinsson (+6), William Wallinder (+4), Brogan Rafferty (+4) and Antti Tuomisto (+4) all have a positive plus-minus rating.

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.

Johnny Bravo
Jonatan Berggren
enjoyed a four-game point streak (3-1—4) from Feb. 9-16 and has 17 points (9-8—17) in his last 15 games from Jan. 13-Feb. 25. Berggren also has 23 points (10-13—23) in his last 20 outings and 26 points (12-14—26) in his last 23 contests from Dec. 15-Feb. 25. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (17-24—41), assists (24) and goals (17) through 39 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 112 points (42-70—112) in 116 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).

Pucks on Net
The Griffins have done well when outshooting their opponents this season with a 13-2-3-3 (.762) record compared to a 11-12-2-0 (.480) mark when they are being outshot. Grand Rapids is 15-4-2-3 when producing at least 30 shots and 15-7-4-1 when it keeps its opponents between 20-29 shots. The Griffins are tied for 16th in the AHL with 29.7 shots per game, while they concede the sixth fewest in the league at 28.4. The Griffins are averaging 35.3 shots per game in their last seven outings, while giving up an average of 28.7.

Oh, It’s You Again
The Griffins are in second place in the Central Division with a 25-15-5-3 record and 58 points, 18 points clear of a playoff spot. In the final 24 games of the regular season, Grand Rapids will compete against the Central Division 21 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 19-9-2-1 (.661) with a plus-18 scoring margin against the Central Division. Grand Rapids is undefeated this season against Chicago (3-0-0-0) and Iowa (2-0-0-0). 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 18-1-1-0 (.925). 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 12 of its last 25 outings. On the flip side, Grand Rapids is just 6-12-5-3 (.385) when allowing at least three goals, compared to a 19-3-0-0 mark (.863) when allowing two goals or less. In their last 25 appearances, the Griffins have allowed three or more goals 12 times.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Sebastian Cossa
—2.61 GAA places sixth among rookie netminders, .911 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

Matt Luff
appeared in his 200th game in the AHL on Sunday. On Saturday, Dominik Shine competed in his 400th game as a Griffin.
Austin Czarnik—One game from 300 in the AHL
Simon Edvinsson—Three games from 100 as a Griffin
Tim Gettinger—Two games from 300 as a pro
Taro Hirose—Three goals from 50 as a Griffin
Elmer Soderblom—Three goals from 50 as a pro
Tyler Spezia—One assist from 50 as a Griffin
Antti Tuomisto—Three games from 100 as a pro
Dan Watson—Three wins from 300 as a head coach

Photo by Iowa Wild