Calder Cup Champions - 2013 & 2017
AHL Affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings
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Ticket Punched

Mar 27, 2024
Written By: Dylan Rider
1st 2nd 3rd Final
Cleveland Monsters 1 1 0 2
Grand Rapids Griffins 3 0 2 5

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 vs. Cleveland Monsters 2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The Grand Rapids Griffins clinched a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs and set a new franchise record for the longest home point streak at 17 consecutive games (12-0-3-2) in a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Van Andel Arena on Wednesday. Sebastian Cossa now owns the franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender with a point 16 straight games from Jan. 19, 2024-March 27, 2024 (11-0-5). 

The Griffins will return to the Calder Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2019, ending a drought that included two postseasons (2020 and 2021) that were canceled due to COVID-19. It marks the team’s earliest clinching date since 2017, when the AHL’s eventual Calder Cup champions secured their spot on March 26. Seeding, matchup and dates for the Griffins’ 18th playoff appearance in 28 seasons will be determined in the coming weeks.

Grand Rapids' previous longest home point streak came as a 16-game run (13-0-3-0) from Jan. 9, 2004-Feb. 27, 2004. Marc Lamothe most recently held the longest point streak by a goaltender, as he posted a 9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL) record from Oct. 19, 2002-Nov. 30, 2002. Jonatan Berggren extended his point streak (4-6--10) to seven games with two points (1-1--2) tonight, which tied the longest point streak this season. Taro Hirose's two points (1-1--2) put him in sole possession of sixth place on the Griffins' all-time scoring list with 198 points. 

March 27, 2024  ·  3 Minutes

3-27-24 | Highlights | Cleveland Monsters

Grand Rapids’ man-advantage unit put them on the board first, as Hirose knocked a shot behind Jet Greaves while on the doorstep at 2:02 in the opening frame. The Griffins widened the lead to two when Zach Aston-Reese lit the lamp from the slot after he danced past two Cleveland defenders with 7:18 remaining in the period. While 6-on-5, Berggren lifted the puck up and into the top right corner of the net from the right circle for a 3-0 lead at 14:03. The trio of goals prompted the Monsters to swap their goalies, as they opted for Malcolm Subban to take over as netminder.

Cleveland cut into Grand Rapids’ lead with a one-timed blast from the left circle, courtesy of Cole Clayton with 1:47 left in the stanza.

The Monsters then brought the Griffins' lead down to one when Mitchell Lewandoski pinballed the disc through the five-hole of Cossa from the goal mouth at 8:32 in the second period.

With 3:18 remaining in the final frame, Elmer Soderblom made it a 4-2 game, as he snapped a shot from the slot behind Subban. Cleveland's netminder left his crease at 16:52, which led to Matt Luff picking up an empty-net tally from the left point at 17:50 to put the finishing touches on a 5-2 victory for Grand Rapids.

March 27, 2024  ·  9 Minutes

3 -27 -24 | Post Game Interviews | Cleveland Monsters

- Luff (3-5--8) and Dominik Shine (2-6--8) both extended their point streaks to six games, while Marco Kasper (1-3--4) pushed his to three. 
Aston-Reese stretched his goal streak (3-0--3) to three games. 
- Three months ago tonight, the sixth-place Griffins were tied for the fourth-lowest points percentage in the AHL, as they brought a 9-13-3-1 record (.423) into their first game after the Christmas break. They’ve since posted a 23-5-4-3 mark (.757), which solidified their hold on second place in the Central Division while they became the fourth team to secure a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Box Score
Cleveland 1 1 0 - 2
Grand Rapids 3 0 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Hirose 8 (Berggren, Luff), 2:02 (PP). 2, Grand Rapids, Aston-Reese 13 (Shine, Hanas), 12:42. 3, Grand Rapids, Berggren 20 (Hirose, Rafferty), 14:03. 4, Cleveland, Clayton 3 (Fix-Wolansky, Del Bel Belluz), 18:13. Penalties-Matteau Cle (tripping), 1:55.

2nd Period-5, Cleveland, Lewandowski 1 (Zboril, Fix-Wolansky), 8:32. Penalties-Jiricek Cle (fighting), 9:26; Aston-Reese Gr (slashing, fighting), 9:26; Pearson Cle (tripping), 12:05; Hanas Gr (elbowing), 19:05; Fix-Wolansky Cle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.

3rd Period-6, Grand Rapids, Söderblom 12 (Kasper, Hanas), 16:42. 7, Grand Rapids, Luff 5 (Lombardi), 17:50 (EN). Penalties-served by Lombardi Gr (too many men - bench minor), 4:02; Jiricek Cle (tripping), 10:49; Hall Gr (slashing), 13:45.

Shots on Goal-Cleveland 7-6-6-19. Grand Rapids 13-9-12-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Cleveland 0 / 4; Grand Rapids 1 / 4.
Goalies-Cleveland, Greaves 27-12-3 (10 shots-7 saves); Subban 11-16-4 (23 shots-22 saves). Grand Rapids, Cossa 17-7-8 (19 shots-17 saves).

Three Stars
1. GR Hirose (goal, assist); 2. GR Berggren (goal, assist); 3. GR Cross Hanas (two assists)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 32-18-7-4 (75 pts.) / Fri., March 29 at Chicago 8 p.m. EDT
Cleveland: 35-22-3-3 (76 pts.) / Sat., March 30 vs. Rochester 3:15 p.m. 

Photo by Nicolas Carrillo