After a brief run through the Northeast last weekend, the Grand Rapids Griffins returned to Van Andel Arena this weekend, before hitting the road against a familiar foe on Saturday.
Lashov reaches the historical starting point
A little lost in the shuffle Griffins losing 4-0 to the Hartford Wolf Pack Last Saturday was the longtime captain’s feat. Defenseman Brian Lashoff played in his 600th career game with the Griffins, a game he’s certainly proud of.
“It feels great,” Lashov said after last week’s practice. “It meant a lot to me to be in the organization for as long as I’m a member, and to be surrounded by really good people.”
New York’s Albany has been signed out of junior hockey From the Detroit Red Wings in 2008and has never played for anyone outside of the Red Wing organization (although he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning at the end of the 2020-21 season, but loaned out to Grand Rapids).
Lashov was also part of championship teams for the Calder Cup in 2013 and 2017, establishing himself as one of the best underhands in Griffins history. He is the most consistent player in franchise history in the AHL, currently a 53-game returner of the legendary Griffins Travis Richards, who played 655 regular season games with the franchise dating back to their days in the International Hockey League.
Lashov says he’ll give it his best to get to the franchise record.
“I hope everything holds me,” he laughed. “Taking it day by day right now with where we’re at as an organization. It’s been a good ride so far, so I’ll keep going until the wheels drop.”
Lashov has been a member of the GR’s leadership team since being named alternate captain ahead of the 2015-16 season, with the 2022-23 campaign marking the third consecutive season that the former Kingston Frontenac has donned the ‘C’. He says the biggest piece of advice for young players coming into the pro ranks, who want to get into the National Hockey League, is patience.
“A lot of players want that now, but for a lot of players it doesn’t happen right away. You won’t always feel your best, you won’t always have your best day. It’s a process, and sometimes it takes longer for some players than for others.”
This season, Lashov has just one assist in 22 games.
- Buying Griffins Equipment: Amazon
At Lashoff and the Griffins’ homecoming Friday night, they faced off against the Wolf Pack in a closely contested match. Grand Rapids outplayed Hartford in the game, but it was the visitors who scored first. However, the Griffins struck back with Dominic Schein’s fifth goal of the season, before Alex Chiasson scored his second goal since joining the side at the midfield.
The Wolf Pack led for the second time in the game on consecutive goals, but Kyle Criscolo evened the score after the halfway point of the game. The game remained tied at three points going into the third period, but former Griffin Turner Elson gave Hartford their third lead of the night, as the Buck put the game away with an insurance tag in the last minute of the contest. Taro Hirose put GR within one goal, but an empty net goal in the final seconds of the match Helped the Wolf Pack win 6-4.
Hirose and Criscuolo each finished with a goal and an assist. Jussi Olkinuora ended up allowing five goals on 23 shots, and was credited with his sixth loss of the season.
- Griffins hockey live stream: AHL.TV
In their first meeting of the season against longtime rivals Chicago Wolves, affiliates of the Carolina Hurricanes, the Griffins struggled in the middle of the game with the Calder Cup champions. Unlike Friday night, Grand Rapids scored first, and Shine scored his second goal in as many games in the opening moments of the second half.
However, this was the only bright spot for the Griffins, as the Wolves scored four unanswered goals in the remainder of the frame, including a pair from Ryan Suzuki. Malte Stromwall also scored for Chicago, adding an insurance mark on The third period to seal the victory 5-1.
Victor Bratström had his fifth loss of the season in the net for GR, saving 24 of the 29 shots he faced.
I look forward
After a set weekend, the Griffins are now 10-14-1 on the season, currently sixth in the Central Division, and 15 points behind the top team in the division, the Texas Stars.
They have two more games left before Christmas, both against opponents who have a history with GR through the regular season and the playoffs.
First, the Griffs head back to the Chicago suburbs for another showdown with the Wolves on Thursday night. After meeting Grand Rapids on Saturday, they are 7-13-2, and sit last in the division, five points behind the Griffins.
Then, on Friday, Grand Rapids returns home to take on the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Monsters advance to the lead of the Northern Division in the Eastern Conference with a 12-8-1 record, seven points behind the Toronto Marlies.
Grand Rapids finished their 2021-22 regular season against the Monsters, picked up a win in Cleveland, and went 7-0-1 against the Monsters in the season series.
The following table (major games in bold)
- Thursday December 22nd @ Chicago Wolves (8 p.m. ET)
- Friday, December 23rd vs. the Cleveland Monsters (7 p.m. ET)
- Wed Dec 28 @ Rockford IceHogs (8 p.m. ET)
- Fri Dec 30th @ Milwaukee Admirals (7 p.m. ET)
- Saturday, December 31st vs. the Milwaukee Admirals (6 p.m. ET)
You can watch and listen to the Griffins all season long AHL.TV