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Grand Rapids Griffins punch ticket to postseason

Courtesy: Grand Rapids Griffins

The Grand Rapids Griffins are going to the Calder Cup playoffs for the first time in five years.

The Griffins punched their ticket to the postseason last night with a 5-2 win over Cleveland, while setting a new franchise record for the longest home point streak at 17 games (12-0-3-2).

There are a number of reasons that have brought the Griffins back to glory — Dan Watson has done a teriffic job at turning the team around in his first season as bench boss in GR. A healthy blend of young talent and veteran leadership have also played a huge role, but let’s just talk about Sebastsian Cossa for a minute…

Cossa now owns the franchise record for the longest point streak by a goaltender — with a point in 16 straight games. The 21-year-old former first-round pick hasn’t lost a game in regulation since January 12. He is 11-0-5 between January 19 and March 27. It’s hard to not be excited for Cossa and his bright future in pro hockey. Since making the jump from juniors, Cossa has had his challenges but has always managed to overcome adversity and make strides in his development, both at the ECHL and AHL level. His performance this year could make for some interesting decisions by Steve Yzerman this offseason.

Box Score
Cleveland 1 1 0 – 2
Grand Rapids 3 0 2 – 5

1st Period-1, Grand Rapids, Hirose 8 (Berggren, Luff), 2:02 (PP). 2, Grand Rapids, Aston-Reese 13 (Shine, Hanas), 12:42. 3, Grand Rapids, Berggren 20 (Hirose, Rafferty), 14:03. 4, Cleveland, Clayton 3 (Fix-Wolansky, Del Bel Belluz), 18:13. Penalties-Matteau Cle (tripping), 1:55.

2nd Period-5, Cleveland, Lewandowski 1 (Zboril, Fix-Wolansky), 8:32. Penalties-Jiricek Cle (fighting), 9:26; Aston-Reese Gr (slashing, fighting), 9:26; Pearson Cle (tripping), 12:05; Hanas Gr (elbowing), 19:05; Fix-Wolansky Cle (unsportsmanlike conduct), 20:00.

3rd Period-6, Grand Rapids, Söderblom 12 (Kasper, Hanas), 16:42. 7, Grand Rapids, Luff 5 (Lombardi), 17:50 (EN). Penalties-served by Lombardi Gr (too many men – bench minor), 4:02; Jiricek Cle (tripping), 10:49; Hall Gr (slashing), 13:45.

Shots on Goal-Cleveland 7-6-6-19. Grand Rapids 13-9-12-34.
Power Play Opportunities-Cleveland 0 / 4; Grand Rapids 1 / 4.
Goalies-Cleveland, Greaves 27-12-3 (10 shots-7 saves); Subban 11-16-4 (23 shots-22 saves). Grand Rapids, Cossa 17-7-8 (19 shots-17 saves).

Three Stars

  1. GR Hirose (goal, assist); 2. GR Berggren (goal, assist); 3. GR Cross Hanas (two assists)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 32-18-7-4 (75 pts.) / Fri., March 29 at Chicago 8 p.m. EDT
Cleveland: 35-22-3-3 (76 pts.) / Sat., March 30 vs. Rochester 3:15 p.m.

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