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Grand Rapids Griffins

Mrazek Was Hot Last Time The Griffins Racked Up Points Like This



Carter Mazur (43) and Sebastian Cossa (33) celebrate after a Griffins win.
Carter Mazur (43), Marco Kasper (92) and Sebastian Cossa (33) celebrate after a Griffins win. Photo by Nicholas Carillo/Griffins

It’s been quite a renaissance for the Grand Rapids Griffins.

They have fully recovered from a slow start (losing nine of 11 games) to producing a points streak that has hit 18 games going into tonight’s game at Cleveland. The Griffins can tie the team record of points in 19 in a row tonight by picking up a point against the Columbus Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Grand Rapids, a team brimming with prospects under first-year coach Dan Watson, is 13-0-3-2 in the streak, including three overtime losses and two in shootouts. It hasn’t suffered a regulation loss since Jan. 12.

“We’ve been meshing pretty well as a team and getting pretty close and I think it’s kind of translating to the ice as well,” forward Cross Hanas said. “And I think we’re just having a lot more fun together out there.”

Part of the reason for the slow start, Hanas said, was an influx of young players.  They needed time to adjust to hockey at the AHL level.

“At the beginning of (2024) we were starting to trend that way.  But some of the results were kind of not going our way,” he said. “But all those games are good for us as a team and as a unit throughout the season.  I think as of lately a lot of the results have been coming our way with the points and the wins.  We’ve been better in our D zone, which has been translating to the offensive zone. We’ve been putting the puck in the back of the net and winning games.”

Griffins Red Hot After Ice-Cold Start

The streak hit 18 when the Griffins lost 5-4 in overtime to Rockford on Saturday night. It snapped a six-game winning streak.

It’s the longest point streak for the Griffins since 2015, when Jeff Blashill was coach and the roster included the likes of Petr Mrazek, Teemu Pulkkinen, Andreas Athanasiou, Martin Frk and Anthony Mantha. That team had points in 19 consecutive games from Feb. 4 until March 20. Tyler Bertuzzi joined the Griffins in April after his Ontario Hockey League season was completed. Dylan Larkin was on that team for the playoffs after leaving the University of Michigan.

Mrazek was with the Red Wings and then was sent to Grand Rapids on Feb. 17.  He contributed to the streak by earning AHL Player of the Week honors for the week ending March 1. Mrazek posted three road wins in a row with a combined 0.67 goals-against average and .976 save percentage.

As part of that run, he had back-to-back road shutouts against the Milwaukee Admirals and Chicago Wolves. He kept rolling, recording three shutouts in four games. Mrazek gave up only two goals in a span of 247.21 minutes of playing time. He had a 0.49 GAA and .983 save percentage (117 saves on 119 shots) during his hot spell.

The Red Wings recalled him on March 9 while the Griffins points streak was still going on. Today, Mrazek is playing impressively as the Chicago Blackhawks’ starting goalie.

The Griffins, currently second in the AHL’s Central Division, will be tested tonight. They take on a Cleveland team sitting atop the AHL North. The Monsters are on a streak of their own, with points in nine of their last 10 games.

The Griffins haven’t lost to Cleveland in regulation this year, with  1-0-2-2 record against the Monsters.