Ads Suffer First Regulation Loss Of The Season

After a tough game on their own ice Friday night, the Grand Rapids Griffins scored the first three goals tonight including a pair on the power play, as they handed the Admirals their first regulation defeat of the season.  The Admirals’ third period comeback fell short, as they lost 5-3.

Box score is here, Admirals official recap is here, and Dave Boehler’s postgame notes are here.

While it’s disappointing to walk away with the first regulation loss, Coach Muller says the guys will have a short memory.

Atte Engren surrendered 5 goals on 29 shots, but Coach Muller isn’t putting the loss on his shoulders alone.

The Griffins struck first with a power play goal.  With three Admirals within a stick’s reach of Chris Conner, Conner lifted a centering pass to Jamie Johnson who was all alone crashing the net.  Johnson deflected it out of the air and past Atte Engren.  It wasn’t played with a high stick….it was a good play.  Just a little surprised he was so wide open.

Willie Coetzee scored an even strength goal about three and a half minutes later.  Connor made a quick pass from the other side of the slot to Coetzee.  With Engren moving laterally, Coetzee was able to find enough room for it to get by Engren.

In the 2nd period, Connor got a goal of his own to go along with his two assists.  On a power play, and after a Ryan Thang shorthanded chance was foiled, Connor took a drop-pass from Mitch Callahan at the high slot, and his rifle beat Engren up high.

Juuso Puustinen got one back for the Admirals later in the period.  Kyle Wilson had a shot from a bad angle on the near side, and the rebound kicked to Puustinen in the slot.  There was some traffic in front of Joey MacDonald, and Puustinen’s shot somehow squeaked through.

Tomas Tatar made it a 4-1 lead four minutes into the third period with one of the easiest goals he will ever score.  A shot from Joakim Andersson was stopped by Engren, and he looked as though he thought he was sitting on it.  He wasn’t.  The puck was sitting on the goal line next to him.  Tatar’s stick won the race to the puck, and tapped it in the net.

Ryan Ellis answered about two minutes later with his first goal of the year.  Jani Lajunen slipped a pass to him just below the top of the far circle, and his shot beat MacDonald.

19 seconds later, Ryan Flynn fed a fantastic pass that Taylor Beck received at that blue line, and his shot from the far circle also beat MacDonald.

So it’s a 4-3 game here, the Admirals had all the momentum with 13:41 left to go in the third.   Less than a minute later, Ryan Ellis takes a tripping penalty.  Momentum KILLER.

The Admirals were able to kill the penalty off, but as the period went on, they started taking some more chances.  Both Taylor Aronson and Scott Valentine were caught up ice when Andersson sprung Gustav Nyquist on a breakaway, which he converted.

Somewhat of a taste of their own medicine for the Admirals.  Speedy forwards who were able to make the most of their opportunities.

It’s not that the Admirals didn’t have opportunities.  But a little puck luck here, a goaltender in the zone there….and it made for a frustrating night for the offense.



Bourque – Mueller – Puustinen
Wilson – Lajunen – Thang
Flynn – Van Guilder – Beck
Champagne – Latta – Stortini

They were sufficiently shuffled by the 2nd half of the second period.

– This was the first time this season the Admirals had faced a deficit larger than one goal.

– Special teams not so special.  Another goose egg on the power play (o-4 officially…but one of them was a 6 second power play at the end of the third period).  And two scores against the PK.

– Josi update….still monitoring…still day-to-day.  I’d upload the quote from the coach, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before.

DISCUSSION:  Great to see Ellis get his first goal…but did you like his game?  Seems to be holding on to the puck for too long at times.  Do you think Smitty would have fared better tonight?  Did you like Beck’s game?  Do you think he’s developing into the power forward that the coaches want him to?  Thoughts on the Aronson/Valentine pairing?

9 thoughts on “Ads Suffer First Regulation Loss Of The Season”

  1. I thought the Ads opened the game strong in the first half of the opening period. Outshot the griffins 12-4 or something in the first 10 minutes. Some good scoring chances in there. We looked “blah” until the third period when we had a couple of strong streaks.

    My two thoughts –
    1. PP and PK was not good tonight
    2. Good goaltending by MacDonald – the chances were there to keep the scoring pace

    Agree on Beck,

    Okay, my third thought – the defense let Engren down a bit tonight. He was not great, left too many uncovered, had a couple float around in the mouth, but the defense was a step behind.

  2. Agree with both other post on beck, he really was workin’ out there. The ads couldn’t capitalize on hot chances, thang breakaway (I feel he shoulda burried it) powerplay was flat at times, and stortini got pushed around out there behind the play barely knew he was playing till late 1st period! Overall the griffs had our number and although we out shot them many were low % shot that joey mac scooped up, just gotta grab 2pts today and move on. On an unrelated note nice to see that all cal o’ reilly really was worth to nashville was a forth rounder, coyotes mgnt prolly was laughing as they agreed to that steal! Food for thought 5 of the top player for the ads over the last 4 seasons: mike santorelli, o’reilly, franson, sulzer, and peverley all not in the organization anymore, in exchange there is….. Slaney (echl) and 4th rd pick please tell me there is more that I was just too lazy to look up!!!

  3. They also chased away Antti Pihlstrom too. I think we may have got a pick for Santoreli and didn’t we get like an 8th round pick for Sulzer. This is a sore subject with me. Happy for Cal (he will be better off) but never been happy with the way they treated him. One of the smartest hockey players I’ve seen here, and all the coaches agreed. Good luck to him.

    And wasn’t always impressed with Ellis last night.

  4. Team looked tired last night. They fell a lot on the ice. Too many break away chances on D. Not a ton of hustle. The effort in the 3rd showed that this team is talented. The chumps behind me were laughing because they had heard the team was good. Try finally shut up when it was 4-3. But once Ellis went to the box, the game was over. Bad game for 2.5 periods, but even down 4-1, we came back and had a chance. MacDonald was on fire though. He had a great game. I was not impressed with Atte. If Dmith was in, we win last night. I also wish Atte made better decisions about when to leave the crease. He’s a disaster waiting to happen. He’s also lazy with his stick on the PP D.

  5. I think that Ellis got his pass to the deep end of the pool too soon, and needs to be sent back for more development. Setting his goal aside, last night was a repeat of Friday in Chicago. His puck handling isn’t so good. In my book, he’s got a big red X painted on his back.

    Lots of blind passing last night. And most every time ended up in Griff’s hands. I’m hoping that having to play several nights in a row is going to wear the boys out, because there’s a lot of it ahead.

    Engren…. Both he and Smith have had a propensity to wander this year, and I’d like to see both of them nailed to the crease, or at least put on a very short leash.

    I like Beck’s energy, and I think that he has a good head for the game. I look forward to watching him, and hope that he continues to improve his game.

    Most everyone on the team is relatively green, and it will take some time to get things to gel. That being said, I hope this year isn’t going to be a repeat of the last several, when it looked as though we played down to the other team’s level instead of making them work up to ours.

    One other thing, the first several games of the season, I noticed that the defensemen, on the offensive, stopped on the blue line. It was like they were told to not cross it. Last night, we had defensemen in deeper than the forwards. And it didn’t work out so well. Just an observation.

  6. Had to come back to this to make sure I read the Ellis comments correctly. Has anyone checked the teams stats lately? Ellis plays a great game quarterbacking his line. If you think he’s holding the puck too long, he’s not. He’s thinking of the play he has to make and waiting for his opportunity. Just wait Milwaukee fans. You have NO idea what this guy is capable of.

  7. Thanks for the comment, Windsor fan. Ellis certainly has been playing better the last few games. I know he was a star at the junior level, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he is capable of against AHL talent. But I’ll disagree with you about holding the puck too long. If he carries the puck in the zone, then holds, then holds some more, then has the puck knocked away by a defender, that will often lead to an odd-man rush other way. That won’t fly here, and it certainly won’t fly in Nashville. In the NHL, you don’t have time to think that long. You need to make quicker decisions

    Ellis’ early struggles with that are a rite of passage…Every defenseman that’s playing with the Preds did the same thing when they were with Milwaukee. And Ellis is obviously working to get better every game, and again, he HAS been getting better. He’ll be fine. But if he doesn’t have a good game, we’ll note that here. It’s not that we want to dump on the guy, but we’ll hold him accountable for his play, just like all the other players.

    Thanks for reading.

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