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Game Notes: Griffins vs. Wolves - Nov. 29, 2023

Nov 29, 2023
Written By: Andrew Streitel

Grand Rapids Griffins (5-8-1-1) vs. Chicago Wolves (4-9-1-1)

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

Griffins Game #16 * Home Game #9 * AHL Game #271

Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Home Series: 1-0-0-0 Road Series: 0-0-0-0
All-Time Series:
97-84-2-8-4 All-Time Home Series: 47-38-2-6-3 All-Time Road Series: 50-46-0-2-1

Wolves at Griffins
Second of eight meetings overall, second of four at Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids has faced Chicago 195 times in the regular season dating back to their IHL days, the second-most of any Griffins opponent (Milwaukee, 213)…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...Sixteen total goals were scored between the two teams on Dec. 22, 2022 (8-7 OTW), which was Grand Rapids’ first 8-7 result in franchise history. Chicago’s seven goals were the second-most allowed by the Griffins in a win, trailing only a 10-8 victory over Chicago on Nov. 27, 2010...The Wolves are 3-7-0-0 in their last 10 games, while the Griffins are 3-6-0-1...At home, Grand Rapids is 4-3-1-0 and Chicago is 3-5-0-0 on the road...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...Since the 2019-20 season, Grand Rapids is just 13-23-2-1 (.372) against the Wolves and has been outscored 148-103...Since the 2019-20 season, the Griffins are 5-11-2-1 (.343) against the Wolves in Grand Rapids and have been outscored 69-46...Chicago’s Chris Terry skated for the Griffins from 2018-20 and totaled 112 points (50-62—112) in 126 games.

Last Time Out
The Manitoba Moose two-goal second period was too much for the Griffins to overcome in a 3-2 loss at Van Andel Arena on Sunday. Taro Hirose (0-2—2), Austin Czarnik (1-0—1) and Jonatan Berggren (1-1—2) led the way for the Griffins in the loss. Hirose’s assist on Czarnik’s goal put him at 150 helpers and 200 points as a pro. It also extended his assist streak to four games, the longest by any Griffin this season. Czarnik’s goal signified the longest point streak by a Griffin in the campaign so far (3-2–5 in 4 GP), while Berggren’s tally granted him the longest goal streak by a Griffin this season (3-2–5 in 3 GP).

Roster Shake Up
- Nov. 16—G John Lethemon reassigned to Grand Rapids from Toledo (ECHL) by Detroit; F Riley Sawchuk assigned to Toledo (ECHL) by Grand Rapids
- Nov. 19—G John Lethemon reassigned to Toledo (ECHL) from Grand Rapids by Detroit; F Austin Czarnik reassigned by Detroit
- Nov. 28—F Jonatan Berggren recalled by Detroit

This Date in Griffins History
1997: 1996-97 NHL All-Rookie Team goaltender Patrick Lalime makes his Griffins debut with 37 saves in a 4-1 win at Detroit before an IHL-record crowd of 20,804 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Home Sweet Home
The Griffins will conclude their four-game homestand this week against the Chicago Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals. Grand Rapids split the home weekend series against the Manitoba Moose last Friday and Sunday but still has wins in two of its last three home contests. The Griffins are 4-3-1-0 (.563) with a plus-one scoring margin inside Van Andel Arena compared to 1-5-0-1 (.214) with a minus-12 margin in foreign territory.

It’s Taco Time
Taro Hirose
is currently on a season-high four-game assist streak (2-5—7) from Nov. 17-26, which is also tied with Austin Czarnik for the longest point run of the campaign. Hirose, who has competed for the Griffins for the past five seasons, has also continued to climb the Griffins’ all-time leaderboard for assists and points. On Sunday, Hirose tied Francis Pare (2008-13) for third on the Griffins’ all-time assists list with 135 and is 47 helpers from tying Travis Richards (2001-06) for second. The Calgary, Alberta, native also ranks eighth on the team’s all-time points list with 181 and is five points from tying Mitch Callahan (2011-17) for seventh place.

Return of the Czar
Veteran and alternate captain Austin Czarnik was reassigned to the Griffins by Detroit on Nov. 19. Last weekend’s games were the first for Czarnik in a Griffins uniform since opening weekend from Oct. 13-14. The Washington Township, Michigan, native continued his stellar start to the AHL season with recording points in both games against Manitoba and improving to five points (3-2—5) in four outings. Czarnik is currently riding a four-game point streak from Oct. 13-Nov. 26, which is tied with Taro Hirose for the longest on the team. In games that Czarnik has competed in, the Griffins are 3-1-0-0 (.750) compared to a 2-7-1-1 (.273) ledger without him.

How Swede It Is
Swedish prospects Jonatan Berggren and Simon Edvinsson have started to find a rhythm on the offensive side of the ice, as both are on a three-game point streak. After being held without a goal in his first six AHL contests, right wing Berggren has scored four goals in his last five appearances, including goals in three straight games from Nov. 18-26, which set a team-high goal streak. Berggren, who hails from Enkoping, Sweden, has 82 points (29-53—82) in 88 career AHL games. Defenseman Edvinsson has five assists in his last three games and six helpers in his last five outings. Edvinsson recorded two assists in consecutive games from Nov. 18-24. The Onsala, Sweden, native, who was selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, saw action in nine NHL games with the Red Wings last season and scored two goals. Berggren was recalled by Detroit on Tuesday.

Fire at Will
For the first time this season, the Griffins have outshot their opponent in three consecutive games from Nov. 18-26. In fact, Grand Rapids has held a shot advantage in four of the last five contests after allowing an average of 39.8 shots in the first four games of the campaign. The Griffins have held their opponents to 29 or fewer shots in nine of the 15 outings this season but that has not directly turned into results for the team. When they have allowed 29 or fewer shots, the Griffins are 2-5-1-1 (.333) but are 2-1-0-0 when allowing 40 or more shots and 1-2-0-0 when allowing 30-39 shots.

AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Simon Edvinsson
—Three goals are tied for ninth among defensemen, two power-play goals are tied for first among defensemen
Carter Mazur—16 penalty minutes rank ninth among rookie forwards
Wyatt Newpower—31 penalty minutes rank seventh among defensemen

Last Sunday, Tim Gettinger appeared in his 250th AHL game and Taro Hirose registered his 150th pro assist and 200th pro point. On Friday, Taro Hirose tied Kip Miller (133) for fourth on the Griffins’ all-time assists list and Joel L’Esperance competed in his 300th pro game, scoring two goals in the process.
Zach Aston-Reese—Three points from 50 in the AHL
Austin Czarnik—Two goals from 100 in the AHL
Taro Hirose—One assist from claiming sole possession of third place on the Griffins’ all-time assist list, five points from tying Mitch Callahan for seventh on the team’s all-time point list
Michael Hutchinson—Two wins from 200 as a pro
Marco Kasper—One game from 150 as a pro
Jared McIsaac—One point from 50 as a pro and as a Griffin, two games from 150 as a Griffin, one game from 150 as a pro

Photo by Mark Newman/Griffins