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Griffins Conclude January Schedule against Milwaukee, Chicago

January 25, 2022 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

Grand Rapids Griffins center Gemel Smith (left) vs. the Milwaukee Admirals
Grand Rapids Griffins center Gemel Smith (left) vs. the Milwaukee Admirals
(Grand Rapids Griffins, Credit: Mark Newman/Griffins)

This Week's Games

GRIFFINS vs. Milwaukee Admirals // Wed., Jan. 26 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena

GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals // Sat., Jan. 29 // 7 p.m. EST // Panther Arena

Listen: 96.1 TheGame at 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday, WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. EST on Saturday

Watch: AHLTV on Wednesday / My24Milwaukee and AHLTV on Saturday

Season Series: 5-2-1-0 Overall, 3-1-1-0 Home, 2-1-0-0 Away. Ninth and 10th of 12 meetings overall, sixth of six at Van Andel Arena, fourth of six at Panther Arena

All-Time Series: 107-70-7-8-8 Overall, 57-34-2-3-3 Home, 50-36-5-5-5 Away

NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators

Noteworthy: Last Saturday's game against Milwaukee was the 200th regular season meeting between the Admirals and Griffins. Grand Rapids saw its six-game point streak (5-0-1-0) against Milwaukee come to an end with a 5-2 defeat.

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves // Fri., Jan. 28 // 8 p.m. EST // Allstate Arena

Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:35 p.m.

Watch: My50 Chicago / AHLTV

Season Series: 0-5-1-0 Overall, 0-2-0-0 Away. Seventh of 12 meetings overall, third of six at Allstate Arena

All-Time Series: 90-76-2-7-3 Overall, 46-41-0-2-1 Away

NHL Affiliation: Carolina Hurricanes

Noteworthy: The Griffins are winless in seven straight games (0-6-1-0) against the Wolves dating back to the 2020-21 season, getting outscored 30-8 in the process. Chicago's winning streak is the longest ever for either team in this rivalry that began in 1996.

Last Week's Results

Tues., Jan. 18 // GRIFFINS 5 at Cleveland 3 // 15-11-4-2 (36 pts., 0.563, 3rd Central Division)

Sat., Jan. 22 // GRIFFINS 2 vs. Milwaukee 5 // 15-12-4-2 (36 pts., 0.545, 3rd Central Division)

Mon., Jan. 24 // GRIFFINS 3 vs. Toronto 4 (OT) // 15-12-5-2 (37 pts., 0.544, 3rd Central Division)

Last Week's Notes

Tuesday at Cleveland (5-3 W) - Five different Griffins scored when Grand Rapids took a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Jonatan Berggren notched a career-high four assists in the contest, which also set a new single-game high for any Griffin this season. Berggren's four helpers were one shy of tying the Griffins' rookie single-game record of five assists set by Chris Bala (1/10/02). Kyle Criscuolo added another goal, giving him a team-high 12 on the campaign. Both Berggren (1-5-6) and Taro Hirose (2-2-4) extended their point streaks to three games while Jon Martin registered his first goal of the season. Grand Rapids registered points for the ninth time in its last 10 games (6-1-2-1). Erik Bradford recorded his 300th point as a pro while Brian Lashoff notched his 100th assist as a pro. Recap | Highlights

Saturday vs. Milwaukee (2-5 L) - Rocco Grimaldi's hat trick halted Grand Rapids' eight-game home point streak (5-0-2-1), as the Griffins fell to the Admirals 5-2 at Van Andel Arena. The defeat also ended a six-game point streak (5-0-1-0) versus the Admirals. After the 200th overall meeting, the Griffins now hold a 107-70-7-8-8 record over Milwaukee. Muskegon, Mich., native Justin Abdelkader made his season debut, setting the new standard for longest time span between Griffins appearances at 4,305 days, or 11 years, nine months and 12 days (April 10, 2010 to Jan. 22, 2022). Gemel Smith made his Griffins debut on a conditioning loan from Detroit, logging an even plus-minus rating. Matt Berry tallied his first goal as a Griffin in the contest and Taro Hirose saw his three-game point streak (2-2-4) come to an end. Recap | Highlights

Monday vs. Toronto (3-4 OTL) - Toronto scored with 1:55 remaining in regulation and then found a game-winner 38 seconds into overtime to defeat the Griffins 4-3 at Van Andel Arena. This was the first meeting between the two clubs since Nov. 9, 2019, when Toronto beat Grand Rapids 5-2 in West Michigan. Dennis Yan notched a tally, giving him goals in consecutive games for the first time this season. Turner Elson tied Kyle Criscuolo for the most goals on the roster with 12 with his power play score. Gemel Smith recorded his first point as a Griffin with a helper. The Griffins now have points in 10 of the last 12 contests (6-2-3-1). Elson (1-1-2) and Jared McIsaac (1-1-2) notched multi-point outings while Luke Witkowski recorded his 50th point in the AHL. Four the last five Griffins home games have gone past regulation. Recap | Highlights

Winning Resolution: The Griffins have gotten off to a strong start to ring in 2022, as the team has 13 points (5-2-2-1) in the opening 10 games of the new year. The 13 points in 10 games this month have surpassed the Griffins' point total in October (7 GP, 5 pts.), December (7 GP, 7 pts.) and November (10 GP, 12pts.). The Griffins enjoyed a six-game point streak from Dec. 22-Jan. 8, which was the longest since an identical 4-0-2-0 run from March 3-26, 2021. Grand Rapids now has points in 10 of its last 12 games (6-2-3-1).

Peaks and Valleys: Grand Rapids and Chicago have a storied history with each other, as the two franchises started competing against one another in 1996. Since then, each club has had its fair share of wins and losses. Chicago's active seven-game win streak is the longest streak in series history. In fact, the Wolves have claimed 13 of the past 16 outings against the Griffins, dating back to the 2020-21 campaign. However, Grand Rapids went on an identical 13-3 run from Oct. 14, 2016-Oct. 27, 2017 and held a nine-game point streak (8-0-1-0) against the Wolves from Feb. 15, 2015-April 8, 2016. Despite this cold stretch for Grand Rapids, it still holds a 90-76-2-7-3 overall record against Chicago.

Busy Bodies: The Griffins competed in 32 games over the first 99 days of the season between Oct. 15-Jan. 21. The calendar for Grand Rapids intensifies in the second half of the campaign, as the club is scheduled to play 43 contests over 96 days from Jan. 22-April 28. The Griffins are no stranger to a busy workload, as Grand Rapids played in 16 games in 30 days to conclude the 2020-21 season.

Welcome Home, Abby: Veteran left wing Justin Abdelkader signed a professional tryout on Jan. 21 with the Griffins and made his season debut on Jan. 22 against Milwaukee. The 14-year-pro competed with the Griffins for two seasons from 2008-10 before moving on to the Detroit Red Wings, where he ultimately played parts of 13 seasons. The Muskegon, Mich., native became the first West Michigan native to suit up for Grand Rapids when he made his AHL debut on Oct. 11, 2008. Abdelkader skated in 109 games for the Griffins and totaled 76 points (35-41-76) and 188 penalty minutes, earning AHL All-Rookie Team honors during the 2008-09 season when he logged 52 points (24-28-52) in 76 contests. Abdelkader earned a full-time roster spot with Detroit in the 2010-11 season and concluded his NHL career with 739 games, 252 points (106-146-252) and 608 penalty minutes. The left winger wore the "A" on his Red Wings jersey from 2016-20 while also captaining Team USA at two World Championships (2014, 2021).

Going with the Flow: It has been a busy season thus far for head coach Ben Simon and general manager Pat Verbeek, as players on professional tryouts have been plentiful for the Griffins this year. Ten PTO skaters have seen action so far this season and have totaled 81 games played; both numbers surpass any full season since Simon joined the team as an assistant coach in 2015-16. On average, 11.9% of Grand Rapids' lineup has been tryout players, yet the team sits in third place in the Central Division with a 0.544 winning percentage through Jan. 24.

Huffin' and Puffin': So far this season, the Griffins are 2-9-1-2 (0.250) against the Central Division-leading Chicago Wolves and second-place Manitoba Moose. The Griffins picked up their first win against either club since Nov. 12 on Jan. 14. However, Grand Rapids is 13-3-4-0 (0.750) against the rest of the AHL.

Images from this story

Grand Rapids Griffins center Gemel Smith (left) vs. the Milwaukee Admirals
Grand Rapids Griffins center Gemel Smith (left) vs. the Milwaukee Admirals

(Mark Newman/Griffins)

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