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Griffins Begin Season against Rockford on Friday

October 14, 2021 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

This Week's Games

GRIFFINS vs. Rockford IceHogs // Fri., Oct. 15 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena


Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7 p.m.

Watch: AHLTV (Free view for opening weekend)

Season Series: First of eight meetings overall, first of four at Van Andel Arena

All-Time Series: 52-36-9-11 Overall, 33-11-5-5 Home

NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks

Noteworthy: The Griffins came away with points in seven of the eight games last season against the IceHogs with a 4-1-2-1 record. Grand Rapids is also 16-10-6-6 in the last five seasons against Rockford. Prior to their 9-4 win at Rockford on March 3, 2021, the Griffins' last nine-goal outing was a 9-1 win at Rockford on Feb. 5, 2016. They came within two goals of matching their team record, set in an 11-6 victory at Rockford on Jan. 19, 2013.

GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals // Sat., Oct. 16 // 7 p.m. EDT // Panther Arena

Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m.

Watch: AHLTV (Free view for opening weekend)

Season Series: First of 12 meetings overall, first of six at Panther Arena

All-Time Series: 102-68-7-7-8 Overall, 48-35-5-5-5 Road

NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators

Noteworthy: Grand Rapids' 102 victories over Milwaukee are the most against any opponent in franchise history. Furthermore, the Griffins have faced the Admirals more than any club in the AHL, competing in 192 games dating back to the 2001-02 campaign when both teams joined the AHL from the International Hockey League. Last season was the first year that the Griffins and Admirals did not play each other due to Milwaukee opting out of the shortened season.

26th Season of Hockey: The Grand Rapids Griffins begin the franchise's 26th overall season of play, 21st as a member of the American Hockey League and 20th as the primary affiliate of the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings on Friday evening when they host the Rockford IceHogs. This marks the first time the Griffins will begin their season at Van Andel Arena since 2017. Grand Rapids has competed in 1,913 games between the IHL and AHL and has amassed a 1,010-695-27-64-117 regular season record (0.582), to go along with 17 playoff appearances, seven division titles and two Calder Cups (2017, 2013).

Return of Riley: Riley Barber led the Griffins in goals (20), points (34) and points per game (1.06) a season ago. His scoring pace equaled a 48-goal, 81-point clip in a regular 76-game AHL season. Barber also ranked second in the league for goals, just one shy of Cooper Marody (who played seven more games), and was named a Central Division AHL All-Star. Six game-winning goals tied a career best while his four-game goal streak from Feb. 26 through March 11 also matched a career high. The forward added seven multi-point outings out of 32, including a career-high four points (2-2-4) on May 7 against Chicago. Finally, Barber posted a nine-game point streak (8-5-13) from Feb. 5-March 11 that was the longest ever to start a player's Griffins career as well as the longest from the start of a Griffins season.

Rarified Air: Brian Lashoff's 513 games played for the Griffins rank first among active AHL players who have spent their entire AHL career with the same club and tie for eighth in league history among one-team players. Of the players ahead of him on that list, the most recent - and, coincidentally, the record-holder - last played during the 1970-71 season (Bill Needham of the Cleveland Barons, 981 games played). Lashoff tied No. 8-ranked Stan Smrke (Rochester 1957-67) on March 26, 2021 and is now four games behind No. 7 Pete Kapusta (Providence Reds 1946-55). Lashoff is still 142 games away from breaking the Griffins' all-time record, held by Travis Richards with 655 games (1995-2006).

Home Sweet Home: Under fourth-year head coach Ben Simon, the Griffins will begin a full 76-game schedule when they host Rockford on Opening Night presented by Huntington Bank, marking the first time since 2017 that they'll open the season at Van Andel Arena. During their last season opener at home, the Griffins downed Manitoba 5-2 on Oct. 6, 2017 with Elson securing a career-high four points. This year will mark just the eighth time since the 2004-05 campaign that Grand Rapids will open its season at home. Since 2004, the Griffins are 4-2-0-1 in season openers at Van Andel Arena and have outscored their opponents 21-18. Also since 2004, Grand Rapids is 8-6-2-1 in season openers at any venue.

Oldies but Goodies: The Griffins roster features six veterans including forwards Riley Barber and Turner Elson, and defensemen Brian Lashoff, Ryan Murphy, Dan Renouf and Luke Witkowski. A player receives veteran status if he has competed in at least 260 games in the NHL, AHL or overseas. Lashoff leads all veterans on the team with 649 career-games played in the NHL and AHL, including 513 with Grand Rapids, which ranks first among active players who have spent their entire AHL career with the same club and tie for eighth all-time in league history. Murphy has appeared in 475 outings, which ranks second on the roster while Elson places third with 397 contests.

European Influence: Grand Rapids and Detroit has a long tradition of possessing high-level European talent and this season will be no different. Forward Jonatan Berggren and netminder Victor Brattstrom hail from Sweden while forward Kirill Tyutyayev comes to the state of Michigan from Russia. All three will make their North America debut with the Griffins. Berggren has spent three seasons in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) with Skelleftea and has logged 60 points (14-46-60) in 99 outings. Fellow forward Tyutyayev has totaled 52 points (14-38-52) in 70 games between Gornyak Uchaly in the Supreme Hockey League (VHL) in Russia and Yunost Minsk in Belarus. Goaltender Brattstrom has spent time in the SHL and Allsvenskan in Sweden as well as the Liiga in Finland. The fifth-year pro has amassed a 66-43-7 record while holding a 2.27 goals against average.

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