The Admirals were routed and shutout 5-0 by the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday night. The Griffins came flying out of the gate from the opening puck drop. They held the Ads without a shot through the opening fourteen minutes and, from period two on, popped in five goals en route to the win.
“[The Griffins] played a fast game,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “We couldn’t get our legs under us – especially in that first period. I thought, once we got through that first period and weathered the storm, we’d respond a little better. Just looking at things we made a lot of tired plays. I didn’t think the guys had their minds in it. Physically seemed to do some decent things but there was lots of fatigue out there it looked like.”
Coming into this game there was some roster movement going down on the Griffins end of things. They added veterans Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo and that meant, due to the roster minimum, others on the team needed to sit out of the lineup. The Griffins sat out defensemen Brennan Evans and team captain Jeff Hoggan. Tootoo played 100 games as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals from 2004-06 with 23 goals, 26 assists, and 399 PIM’s.
The opening period started with a quick scrap between Mathieu Tousignant and Mitch Callahan. It didn’t sound like this lasted very long. It picked up quick after some chippiness from Tousignant and ended with a fast take down for Callahan.
Major talking point of this first period was the disparity in shots. Good news? The Griffins didn’t cash in on their fast start. However, they outshot the Ads 14-4 in the opening frame and held the Ads without a shot until there was 6:08 remaining in the period. That first shot on goal by the Admirals came on a power-play off the stick of Anthony Bitetto.
After dominating the first twenty-minutes, the Griffins continued to attack and finally were rewarded with a goal on their seventh shot. Riley Sheahan scored on the power-play after collecting a rebound just inside the bottom left circle. His follow up shot beat Hellberg between the shoulder and post to make it 1-0.
Scary moment for the Ads when veteran Mark Van Guilder was hit hard in front of the Griffins team bench by Tootoo. Van Guilder stayed down in pain for awhile and the crowd was dead silent. MVG managed to get up on his own power and sat behind the Ads bench rather than straight to the locker room. He did make a return to the game following the hit.
Just as the Ads started putting in some shots and earning a power-play, the Griffins tagged them with a shorthanded goal. Mitch Callahan poked in a loose puck that Hellberg had trapped between his legs. Hellberg may have been hoping for a whistle but it never came. That’s the fifth shorthanded goal the Ads have conceded this season.
The Griffins started the third period on an abbreviated power-play. There were fifty-one seconds remaining on a penalty to Joonas Jarvinen for roughing and Cory Emmerton scored with two-seconds remaining on the man-advantage. The shot somehow squeaked through Hellberg’s five-hole for yet another Griffins’ special teams goal.
A fight broke out minutes after the Griffins third goal. This go-round it was former-teammates and good friends Scott Ford and Triston Grant slugging it out. Grant seemed a little bit surprised by this fight but the two did have it out. This was a veteran move on the part of the skipper Ford. He was looking to inject some type of energy into a deflated Admirals team. In my opinion, it may have come a period or maybe even two periods short.
Magnus Hellberg’s night ended after the Griffins scored their fourth of the night. This time a bullet from Sheahan was deflected by Callahan for his second of the night. Out goes Hellberg and stepping into the inferno was Scott Darling for the rest of the game. Hellberg’s line tonight: 35 saves on 39 shots. He is now 2-7-1-1 in net this season.
Just for good measure the Griffins scored against Scott Darling to make it 5-0. This was a very odd goal as the puck seemed to skipped up in the air and roll off the back of Darling and in. Another case of, this really just isn’t our night tonight.
Not a lot of positives to take from this game right now. My hope is to see an appropriate response come Friday night against the Chicago Wolves. I think a lot can be gained from losses such as the last two that the Ads have endured. The team simply has to learn and adjust.
Thoughts on this game? What happened tonight? What could have been done differently to slow down the Griffins? Do you think the Ads can rebound by Friday?