The Grand Rapids Griffins opened the weekend with a perfect 3-0 home victory on Friday night. Kyle Criscuolo opened the scoring with what proved to be the game-winner at the 16:02 mark of the first period. Pontus Andreasson scored an insurance goal in the second period. Joel L’Esperance sealed the victory with an empty net goal with under one minute remaining in the third period. Jussi Olkinuora earned the shutout for his fifth victory in ten starts.
On Saturday, the Moose scored three unanswered goals in the third period to steal a 4-1 victory from the Griffins. Joel E’lesperance scored his eighth goal of the season late in the second period for Grand Rapids.
With the weekend split, the Griffins remain in 5th place in the Central Division with an 8-9-1 record.
Player Preview: Pontus Andreasson
Pontus Andreasson continues to contribute offensively during his rookie season with the Griffins. Last week, Andreasson picked up one goal and added two assists during the weekend series against Manitoba. On Friday, Andreasson was named the game’s first star after picking up the primary assist on the game-winner and scoring an insurance goal in the second period.
Andreasson is now fourth in Griffins scoring with 13 points in 17 games. Andreasson has picked up points in eight of his last ten contests and has a four-game point streak.
In May, Andreasson signed a one-year free-agent contract with Detroit that pays him $80,000 to play in the AHL. He also has an NHL cap hit of $842,500 if he is recalled to the NHL.
Last season, Andreasson was terrific while playing as a rooking for Lulea HF in the SHL. In 52 regular season games, he scored 18 goals, 20 assists, and 38 points and had a +19 rating. During the playoffs, Andreasson played 13 games and picked up eight goals, five assists, 13 points, and a +6 rating.
At 24, Andreasson still has a chance to be an injury call-up with the Red Wings this season.
Detroit Red Wings Prospects Update
The Griffins got some good news on Friday as veteran Chase Pearson returned to the lineup after missing the first 16 games of the season. The Griffins continued to play without Jonatan Berggren (Detroit) and Matt Luff (injury). Defensemen Steven Kampfer and Wyatt Newpower missed both games last week. On Saturday, the Griffins signed veteran NHL forward Alex Chiasson to a professional tryout.
Taro Hirose picked up one assist in the Friday victory. In 18 games, Hirose continues to lead the Griffins in scoring with five goals, 13 assists, 18 points, and a -6 rating.
Austin Czarnik played both games against Manitoba and picked up one assist on Saturday. In 12 games, Czarnik now has six goals, eight assists, 14 points, and a -2 rating.
Cross Hanas played both games last week and was held off the scoreboard. In 18 games, Hanas has seven goals, five assists, 12 points, and a -10 rating.
Simon Edvinsson played both games on the weekend and picked up one assist on Friday. In 13 games this season, Edvinsson has one goal, eight assists, nine points, and a -2 rating.
Jared McIsaac was held off the scoresheet in both weekend games. In 18 games this season, McIsaac has one goal, eight assists, nine points, and a -6 rating. McIsaac leads all Griffins defensemen with 26 shots on goal.
Kyle Criscuolo played both weekend games and scored one goal on Friday night. In 18 games, Criscuolo now has two goals, four assists, six points, and a -10 rating.
Donovan Sebrango played both weekend games against Manitoba. He was held off the scoresheet in both games. In 15 games, Sebrango remains at three goals, one assist, four points, and a +1 rating.
Givani Smith played on Friday and picked up 19 penalty minutes. In 13 games, Smith has two goals, two assists, four points, a team-high -13 rating, and a team-high 41 penalty minutes.
Albert Johansson was held off the scoresheet in both weekend games. In 15 games, Johansson continues to have three assists and a -3 rating.
Eemil Viro played both weekend games. In 11 games this season, Viro has one goal and a -4 rating.
Chase Pearson played his first two games of the season, picking up one assist on Friday night. Pearson has one assist, a +1 rating, and three shots on goal in two games.
Seth Barton played both weekend games last week. He remains without a point in six games and has an even +/- rating.
Jussi Olkinuora played both games last week. Olkinuora split the weekend series and made 51 saves on 54 shots. In ten games this season, Olkinuora has a record of 5-5-0, a 3.64 GAA, and a .875 SV%.
Grand Rapids continues its home schedule hosting the Texas Stars for two games this week. The two teams will play Friday and Saturday, starting at 7:00 PM ET. Both games will be played at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, MI.