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 Grand Rapids Griffins

Griffins Embark on Three Games in Three Days

April 9, 2024 - American Hockey League (AHL)
Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Dominik Shine (left) vs. the Chicago Wolves
Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Dominik Shine (left) vs. the Chicago Wolves
(Grand Rapids Griffins, Credit: Mark Newman)

This Week's Games

GRIFFINS (34-20-8-4) vs. Rockford IceHogs (34-24-5-2) // Fri., April 12 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena

Listen: 96.1 The Game at 7 p.m.

Watch: WXSP-TV and AHLTV

Season Series: 6-3-2-0 overall, 2-1-2-0 home. Twelfth of 12 meetings overall, sixth of six at Van Andel Arena

All-Time Series: 67-46-11-11 Overall, 40-15-7-5 Home

NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks

Noteworthy: In a potential playoff preview, the Griffins and IceHogs will meet for the 12th and final time this season. The Griffins are currently the second seed in the Central Division while Rockford is in third place, trailing by five points with six games remaining.

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves (22-32-6-6) // Sat., April 13 // 8 p.m. EDT // Allstate Arena

GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves // Sun., April 14 // 4 p.m. EDT // Allstate Arena

Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:45 p.m. EDT on Saturday and 96.1 The Game at 3:45 p.m. EDT on Sunday

Watch: AHLTV

Season Series: 4-1-0-1 overall, 1-1-0-0 road. Seventh and eighth of eight meetings overall, third and fourth of four at Allstate Arena

All-Time Series: 100-85-2-8-5 Overall, 51-47-0-2-1 Road

NHL Affiliation: None

Noteworthy: The Griffins collected their 100th regular-season win over the Chicago Wolves in their 200th regular-season meeting last Wednesday. Grand Rapids has reached the 100-win plateau against only the Wolves and Milwaukee Admirals.

The Promised Land: On March 27, the Griffins clinched their 18th playoff berth in 28 seasons with a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Monsters at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins 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. This marked the team's earliest clinching date since 2017, when the AHL's eventual Calder Cup champions secured their spot on March 26. Clinching a spot with 25 days remaining in the regular season also marked the earliest the Griffins have clinched relative to the date of their finale since 2006, when the AHL's regular-season champions locked up their berth with 34 days to play. Exactly three months prior to clinching, the sixth-place Griffins were tied for the fourth-lowest points percentage in the AHL, bringing a 9-13-3-1 record (.423) into their first game after the Christmas break. They've since posted a 25-7-5-3 mark (.725), solidifying their hold on second place in the Central Division and becoming the fourth of now 16 teams to secure a berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Back to Our Old Self: After enduring a season-high five-game winless skid from March 2-12 (0-2-2-1), the Griffins have returned to form with points in six of their last eight contests (5-2-1-0). The Griffins' active 19-game home point streak (14-0-3-2) is a new franchise record, beating out the previous mark of 16 games that was established from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004, and is also longest run in the AHL this season. The 19-game point streak at home is the longest such streak in the AHL since the Providence Bruins went 18-0-3-2 over 23 games in 2015-16. The Griffins saw their 18-game point streak (13-0-3-2 from Jan. 13-March 2) come to an end on March 4 in Cleveland, which was one game shy of tying the franchise record of 19 contests (Feb. 4-March 20, 2015 15-0-3-1) and is the second-longest run in the AHL this season. Grand Rapids' nine-game road point streak (8-0-0-1) from Dec. 27-Feb. 17 was their longest since an 11-game run (9-0-1-1) from Jan. 29-March 12, 2015 and is tied for the second longest in the AHL this season. The Griffins have secured at least a point in 35 of their last 43 contests (26-8-6-3). The Griffins are 25-7-5-3 (.725) since Christmas and have had a trio of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2013-14. Grand Rapids has points in 25 of its last 29 games (20-4-3-2) inside Van Andel Arena and has points in 14 of its past 20 road appearances (10-6-3-1). The Griffins have been stellar at home with a 22-6-4-2 mark, outscoring their opponents 109-77. Grand Rapids has battled on the road this season, earning points in 13 of its last 18 games to move to 12-14-4-2 away from home.

Johnny Bravo: Jonatan Berggren logged his first AHL hat trick last Wednesday during a four-point night (3-1-4) against the Chicago Wolves. Berggren enjoyed a team-best nine-game point streak (8-7-15) from Feb. 24-April 5 and has 29 points (16-13-29) in his last 23 games from Jan. 13-April 6. Berggren also has 35 points (17-18-35) in his last 28 outings and 38 points (19-19-38) in his last 31 contests from Dec. 15- April 6. Berggren's 1.13 points per game rank fourth among skaters who have played at least 30 games. The 23-year-old leads the roster in points (24-29-53), assists (29) and goals (24) through 47 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 124 points (49-75-124) in 124 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).

Sea Bass Fishing: Sebastian Cossa is on a franchise-record 19-game point streak from Jan. 19-April 5 (13-0-6), beating Marc Lamothe's previous record of 15-games (9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL)) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Cossa collected his second shutout of the season last Friday with 24 saves in a 3-0 win over Rockford. Cossa's 13-game home point streak (9-0-4, Jan. 24-April 5) tied the franchise record, which is also held by Jared Coreau (2015-16), Daniel Larsson (2008-09) and Mike Fountain (bridging the 1999-00 and 2000-01 seasons). Since returning from the holiday break on Dec. 27, Cossa has a 15-1-6 ledger with a 2.06 goals against average and a .922 save percentage. Prior to the holiday break, Cossa possessed a 4-6-3 record with a 3.18 goals against average and a .897 save percentage. The former 15th overall pick by the Red Wings in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has allowed more than two goals just seven times in his past 22 games. Cossa is also on an eight-game road point streak (6-0-2) from Dec. 27-March 30), which is two shy of tying the record of 10 held by Jimmy Howard (2005-06). Through 35 contests, Cossa is 19-7-9 with two shutouts to go along with a 2.47 goals against average and a .912 save percentage. Cossa ranks fifth among rookie goaltenders in both goals against average and save percentage.

Records are Meant to be Broken: Now 13-0-6 since Jan. 19, Sebastian Cossa holds the franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender at 19 outings, beating Marc Lamothe's previous record of 15 games (9-0-4-2 (W-L-T-OTL)) set from Oct. 19-Nov. 30, 2002. Cossa's 13-game point streak at home (9-0-4, Jan. 24-April 5) is also tied for the franchise record. Grand Rapids a new franchise record with a point in its 19th straight home game, breaking a 16-game record that was established more than 20 years ago, from Jan. 9-Feb. 27, 2004. The home point run is the second franchise-record streak that the Griffins have tied in the last three months, piggybacking their seven-game road winning streak from Dec. 27, 2023-Feb. 2, 2024. The Griffins also rattled off an 18-game point streak from Jan. 13-March 2 (13-0-3-2), which was one game shy of tying the franchise record of 19 contests (Feb. 4-March 20, 2015 15-0-3-1). Finally, the Griffins have had a trio of winning streaks of five or more games in the same season for the first time since 2013-14.

Black Magic: As the regular season inches closer to its completion, the Griffins have clinched a playoff berth and a winning record, and they are in second place in the Central Division with a 34-20-8-4 record and 80 points with just six games remaining. They have secured a first-round bye and a berth in the Central Division Semifinals, and they now have a magic number of 21 to clinch the division, trailing Milwaukee's five.

It's Taco Time: Taro Hirose became the third-fastest player to reach 200 points as a Griffin when he did so in his 243rd game on April 5 against the Rockford IceHogs, also scoring his 50th goal as a Griffin. Hirose, who is in his fifth season as a Griffin, has 11 points (3-8-11) in his last 15 outings. The Calgary, Alberta, native has logged a total of 35 points (9-26-35) in 50 appearances this season, after having missed 12 straight games from Dec. 29-Jan. 27 due to rehabbing an injury. On March 27, the 27-year-old passed Tomas Tatar for sixth place on the Griffins' all-time points list with 200, and his 150 assists rank third in franchise history. Hirose is now four points from claiming fifth place on the team's all-time points list, as Derek King (203) currently holds the position.

Ville Good: On Monday, netminder Ville Husso was reassigned to Grand Rapids by Detroit on a conditioning loan. With a 25-save shutout on Jan. 26 against the Belleville Senators, Husso became just the third goalie (Jimmy Howard in 2016-17; Alex Nedeljkovic in 2022- 23) to earn a shutout during a conditioning stint with the Griffins and the first of those to do it in his Grand Rapids debut. Husso was the ninth goaltender to appear for the Griffins during a conditioning stint, joining Nedeljkovic (2022-23), Magnus Hellberg (2022-23), Jimmy Howard (2019-20; 2016-17), Jonas Gustavsson (2014-15; 2012-13), Manny Legace (2005-06), Chris Osgood (2005-06) and Curtis Joseph (2003-04).

Images from this story

Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Dominik Shine (left) vs. the Chicago Wolves
Grand Rapids Griffins right wing Dominik Shine (left) vs. the Chicago Wolves

(Mark Newman)

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