Griffins Endure Tough Start to December

December started on the wrong foot for the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Texas Stars came to town and swept both games in the two-game series. On Friday, the star defeated Grand Rapids 4-1. Kyle Criscuolo scored the Griffins only goal. Magnus Hellberg played a conditioning game for the Griffins and made 34 saves.

On Saturday, the Stars exploded for five first-period goals on the way to a 6-3 victory. Trenton Bliss opened the scoring for the Griffins. Taro Hirose, with his sixth goal, and Pontus Andreasson, with his sixth goal, also scored for the Griffins. Jussi Olkinuora started and gave up three goals on six shots before Victor Brattstrom replaced him. Brattstrom made 30 saves in relief and took the loss.

After losing both weekend games, the Griffins slipped to 6th place in the Central Division with an 8-11-1 record.

Player Preview: Chase Pearson

After sitting out the first 16 games of the Griffins schedule, Chase Pearson has returned to the Griffins in a big way. Normally a defensive center, Pearson has added some offense to his game, and it looks like he may have a future in Detroit.

Through his first four games, Pearson has chipped in with three assists, a +2 rating, and 11 shots on goal. As the Griffins continue through December, Pearson will be relied on heavily as the injuries continue to mount in Detroit.

After a successful Covid-shortened season in 2021, Pearson’s offensive game slipped last year as he only scored seven goals, 18 points, and a -17 rating in 50 games. For his AHL career, Pearson has played 151 games and has scored 25 goals, 42 assists, 67 points, and a -23 rating.

Hopefully, his time away from the game has helped Pearson resurrect his career, making him a viable option in Hockeytown.

Detroit Red Wings Prospects Update

On Friday, the Red Wings reassigned Donovan Sebrango and Eemil Viro to Toledo (ECHL). The Griffins continued to play without Jonatan Berggren (Detroit) and Matt Luff (injury). Austin Czarnik was recalled to the Red Wings and missed both weekend games with the Griffins. Cross Hanas was also unavailable to play last week. Newly signed veteran NHL forward Alex Chiasson has yet to be in the Griffins lineup. 

Taro Hirose played both weekend games and picked up one goal, and had five shots on goal. In 20 games, Hirose continues to lead the Griffins in scoring with six goals, 13 assists, 19 points, and a -4 rating.

Pontus Andreasson played both weekend games and picked up one goal, and had four shots on goal. In 19 games, Andreasson is now third in Griffins scoring with six goals, eight assists, 14 points, and a -2 rating.

Simon Edvinsson played both games on the weekend and was held off the scoresheet. Edvinsson remains the top-scoring defenseman on the Griffins. In 15 games this season, Edvinsson has one goal, eight assists, nine points, and a -4 rating.

Jared McIsaac was held off the scoresheet in both weekend games. In 20 games this season, McIsaac has one goal, eight assists, nine points, and a -8 rating.

Kyle Criscuolo missed Saturday’s game but did score one goal on Friday night. For his efforts, Criscuolo was named the 3rd star of the game. In 19 games, Criscuolo now has three goals, four assists, seven points, and a -10 rating.

Steven Kampfer played both games on the weekend and picked up one assist on Saturday night. In 16 games this season, Kampfer has one goal, six assists, seven points, and a -7 rating. Kampfer and McIsaac lead the Griffins defense with 26 shots on goal.

Givani Smith played both games on the weekend and was held off the scoresheet. In 15 games, Smith has two goals, two assists, four points, and a team-high -16 rating.

Albert Johansson was held off the scoresheet in both weekend games. In 19 games, Johansson continues to have three assists and a -3 rating.

Wyatt Newpower was back in the lineup for both weekend games. He picked up one assist on Friday, and through ten games played, Newpower has picked up two assists to go along with a -5 rating.

Seth Barton played both weekend games last week. He remains without a point in eight games and has a -1 rating.

Jussi Olkinuora played 8:42 minutes on Saturday before he was replaced by Victor Brattstrom. Olkinuora only made three saves on six shots on the night. In 11 games this season, Olkinuora has a record of 5-5-0, a 3.90 GAA, and a .867 SV%.

Magnus Hellberg was sent down to the Griffins by the Red Wings. He made one conditioning start on Friday and made 34 saves on 37 shots. In one game, Hellberg has a record of 0-1-0, a 3.02 GAA, and a .919 SV%.

Victor Brattstrom relieved Olkinuora and played 51;18 minutes on Saturday. Brattstrom made 30 saves on 33 shots and took the loss. In nine games, Brattstrom has a record of 2-4-1, a 3.99 GAA, and a .879 SV%.

Next Week

Grand Rapids will play three games this week. The Griffins will start the week on Wednesday with a home game against Iowa. Game time is 7:00 PM ET at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI. On Friday, the Griffins travel to Springfield to play the Thunderbirds. Game time is 7:05 PM ET at MassMutual Center in Springfield, MA. On Saturday, the Griffins travel to Hartford to play the Wolf Pack. Game time is 7:00 PM ET at XL Center in Hartford, CT.

Chris Giles

Chris Giles is a former junior hockey player and coach from Canada. He has been a diehard Detroit Red Wings fan for almost 50 years. Chris is an avid golfer who has volunteered at several PGA and Canadian Open Championships throughout North America.

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