Flipping the script on their previous night’s loss to Oklahoma City, Milwaukee rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Grand Rapids on home ice with a pair of second period goals before taking an extra point in the shootout. Freshly called up Josh Shalla was the hero, putting the Griffins away with his ninth round shootout game winner for a 3-2 final.
January 6 was a whirlwind day for Shalla, who got a promotion call early Sunday morning from Admirals coach Dean Evason to make the voyage up to Milwaukee after news that NHL and NHLPA reached a tentative new 10-year CBA agreement in the wee hours of Saturday night.
The newly minted ECHL All Star’s goal came at the end of a bizarre shootout which saw only one combined goal in the first seven shooters followed by a run of seven straight tallies. Three consecutive times Milwaukee staved off a loss on goals past Griffins netminder Petr Mrazek.
After Admirals defenseman Ryan Ellis failed to win it in perhaps his final game as an Admiral (on an inglorious miss to boot), Shalla ran to the dressing room as the hero after a beautiful move on Mrazek.
Trailing 2-0 early in the second period, Milwaukee got on the board on the power play when Admirals forward Chris Mueller found defenseman Victor Bartley driving into the slot. Similar to his opener the previous night, Bartley beat Mrazek high over the stick side.
With just five minutes left in the period Admirals defenseman Jonathon Blum made a nice play cutting to the net out from the right corner, which Mrazek fumbled, allowing a doorstep camping Kevin Henderson to cash in another big goal for the Admirals.
The former temp forward now owns nine goals (including a pair of big ones on the weekend), good for third overall on Milwaukee behind Mueller and Austin Watson.
For the second straight night, Milwaukee’s opponent controlled play in the third period (the Admirals registered just two shots) and in overtime, but Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith stood tall to send the game into a shootout. Smith continued his recent hot stretch with 29 saves on 31 shots.
The Admirals fell into a 2-0 rut after a couple of flukish Grand Rapids goals that came early in the first and second periods respectively. In the game’s first minute Griffins forward Gustav Nyquist benefited from an errant tip rebound from Smith, who then over committed diving to cover the right side of the net as Nyquist shoveled home a backhanded shot. The goal came on just Grand Rapids’ second shot of the game.
The Griffins made it 2-0 in the second period when forward Landon Ferraro pin-balled a centering pass off of Admirals forward Patrick Cehlin’s stick behind Smith.
Milwaukee finished the home weekend with five out of a possible six points to start life after the NHL lockout, improving to 17-13-2-2 while remaining in second place in the Midwest Division at 38 points (just one point behind Lake Erie for the final playoff spot). Grand Rapids grabs a point for a 20-10-1-2 record, and still sit in the division’s top slot despite their lead being shrunk to five points over Milwaukee.
One side note, former Wisconsin Badgers defenseman Brenden Smith (20 points) was held out of the lineup by Grand Rapids/Detroit.
So Roundtable . . . 1) Another solid outing at home for Milwaukee. Are you pleased with the Admirals recent efforts at the Brad?
2) Did any Admirals stand out on this big game in front of Nashville scouts?
3) Which Admirals do you have starting the season in Nashville? Ellis and Blum seem pretty likely, anyone else?