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Griffins Will Have Hands Full With Confident Milwaukee Team



carter mazur, detroit red wings

The Grand Rapids Griffins have 10 Detroit Red Wings draft picks playing quality hockey.  But none have been as productive Nashville Predators first round pick Zach L’Heureux has been for the Milwaukee Admirals.

Trying to slow L’Heureux’s roll will be one of the Griffins’ primary missions Wednesday when they open their best-of-five series against the Admirals in Milwaukee. L’Heureux (drafted 27th overall in 2021) put up five goals and nine points in Milwaukee’s five-game triumph against the Texas Stars. That included the first two goals of the game in the deciding Game 5. The Admirals erased a two-game deficit to down Texas.

L’Heureux, probably destined to play for Nashville next season, is the leading scorer among AHL players whose teams are still competing in the playoffs.

The first two games of the Grand Rapids-Milwaukee series will be played Wednesday and Monday in Milwaukee. Games 3 6 and 4 will be played Wednesday (May 22) and Friday (May 24, if needed) at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids. If needed, Game 5 will be played Sunday, May 26 in Milwaukee.

The Griffins are playing in the Central Division Finals for the first time since 2017. They earned the right by downing the Rockford IceHogs in four games in the Central Division semifinal.

Griffins Won Season Series

Grand Rapids owned a 4-3-1-0 record against Milwaukee in the regular season, including a 3-1-0-0 record at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins held the Admirals to an average of 2.25 goals-per-game in the regular-season. Carter Mazur (drafted 70th overall in 2021) led the Griffins with five goals and three assists for eight points in his seven games against Milwaukee.

Goalie Sebastian Cossa, 21, boasted a 3-0-1 record, 1.47 GAA and .952 save percentage against Milwaukee this season.

Grand Rapids finished the regular season series against Milwaukee with a 4-3-1-0 record. That included a 3-1-0-0 mark at Van Andel Arena and 1-2-1-0 at Panther Arena. The Griffins possessed a plus-five scoring margin against Milwaukee in Grand Rapids compared to their minus-four margin on the road against the Admirals. Milwaukee’s 34-year-old veteran Tony Grosenick was 2-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA and .949 save percentage.

The Admirals went with Grosenick in the first round after prize Nashville prospect Yaroslav Askarov (drafted 11th overall in 2020) lost the first two games against Texas.  Grosenick earned three wins in that series, with a 2.34 GAA and .920 save percentage.  Cossa (drafted 15th overall in 2021) was 3-1 in the first round against Rockford with a 2.86 GAA, and .880 save percentage.

Jonathan Berggren was the Griffins’ hottest offensive player in their first round matchup, producing three game-winning goals.

The memorable moment of the Milwaukee-Grand Rapids season series came on Feb. 25 when the Griffins beat Milwaukee 4-2 to end the Admirals 19-game winning streak. Cossa made 37 saves in that game.