Close Quarters Combat; Ads lose 3-2 in shootout

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Grand Rapids Griffins netminder Petr Mrazek may have had a hard go of things in net here – but not in the shootout – where he stopped all five Admirals. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 3-2 in a shootout against the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night. After trailing 1-0 in the first period, the Ads responded with two-goals in thirty-seconds to start the second period – the shortest time between two Admiral goals all season. Grand Rapids drew the Ads back in the second period and took the game all the way into a shootout where only one man, Adam Almquist, would score.

Mike Liambas took a crosschecking penalty in the first period just as the Griffins were whistled for going offside. Liambas disagreed his way to the box and the Griffins earned the game’s opening power-play. Teemu Pulkkinen would go on to score his eighteenth goal of the season from a point shot bullet that found its way through Mitch Callahan, Scott Valentine, and Marek Mazanec. Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia gave linesman Aaron Mills his money’s worth after the goal. The entry into the zone prior to the power-play goal was close and could well have been blown for an offsides. It wasn’t. Seconds later, it became 1-0 Griffins.

The second period started with a big bang. The Admirals were able to score two-goals in the space of thirty seconds to take a 2-1 lead. Vinny Saponari skated in through neutral ice – passed on to Joe Piskula – who then skated down the right wing and all the way in on Petr Mrazek for his first goal of the season.

Thirty-seconds later, Patrick Cehlin picked Adam Almquist’s pocket directly in front of Mrazek and fired. The steal and shot were almost done with the same stick motion by Cehlin. It happened all so fast that Mrazek had no time to close out the near post – where Cehlin would score his third-goal of the season. The two goals scored in rapid succession were the quickest by the Admirals all season. The previous distinction was forty-nine seconds apart by Colton Sissons and Anthony Bitetto on Oct. 18 – also against the Griffins. In his career now, Patrick Cehlin’s has played against the Griffins nine times, scored four goals, and picked up three assists.

The Griffins were able to tie things up over halfway into the second period through a Louis-Marc Aubry goal. This play was opened up after an exchange at the Admirals bench in which Filip Forsberg got into a tugging match before making his change. Kevin Henderson hopped over the boards and was late in joining the rush down at the other end. It was there that Aubry was able to zip around Mazanec’s cage and get to an uncontested right wing post for a goal. It was Aubry’s first goal of the season.

The third period had its chances for the Griffins. There were a few post jobs off of shots for them, but a tremendous display in goal tonight by Mazanec prevented this game from ending in regulation. Mazanec made thirty-five saves tonight and plenty of them were down right filthy. With the team in front of him turning the puck over, sometimes at neutral ice or on his doorstep, he stood tall and kept the team alive through regulation.

After an intense overtime period, in which the opening stint was almost all in the Griffins defensive half, the game shifted into a shootout. The Admirals decided to shoot first and used: Miikka Salomaki, Vinny Saponari, Filip Forsberg, Patrick Cehlin, and Mark Van Guilder. The Griffins wheeled out: Louis-Marc Aubry, Adam Almquist, Mikael Samuelsson, and Calle Jarnkrok. Mrazek stopped all five shooters for the Admirals. The lone shooter Mazanec missed out on, Almquist, beat him past the blocker with a wrist shot.

Ramblings: With Simon Moser being called up today – the Admirals literally were as tight as it gets. The team dressed seven defensemen and Zach Budish, the lone healthy scratch in Iowa, was back in the lineup. Scott Ford played in his three-hundred and fortieth game as an Admiral tonight – tying him with Tony Hrkac for ninth on Admirals all-time games list. Marek Mazanec kept his streak alive tonight – he has allowed a minimum of two-goals in all thirteen AHL games he has played.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? With the Admirals roster as stretched thin as it is – is a shootout defeat against the division leaders a small victory? Are reinforcements a must for the Admirals before Wednesday’s game?

6 thoughts on “Close Quarters Combat; Ads lose 3-2 in shootout”

  1. I noticed a lot of words being exchanged between tootoo and liambas for most of the game. Nothing ever became of it. This was my first time seeing tootoo since he left the admirals. I was hoping they would drop the gloves at some point. Would you consider liambas the modern day tootoo? I always liked to see tootoo fight.

  2. Aaron: Tootoo was at it all night Tousignant too. Always seems like Tousi (mouth) and Salomaki (aggressive playing style) get under the opponent’s skin. Not sure if I would classify Liambas as Tootoo-like. Jordin had an occasion for a goal here and there. Liambas is still improving his all-around game beyond just dropping the gloves (decent job at it as well – wrote a feature on him because of it). I would say though that both were little buys that could deliver some boom – both hitting and facepunching – and played pretty fearless for their size.

  3. Having Cehlin back is huge. Despite tonight’s goal, it will take him a few more games to get back to game shape. I’m guessing that the scratch of Josh Shalla with Cincinnati tonight could mean that he is on his way up, but I have no info to support that, If any of the injuries that Nashville has sustained recently are long term, it’s going to be a real struggle for both Nashville and Milwaukee. I would assume that Sissions and possibly Beck (unsure of his status under the labyrinthine NHL Olympic waiver rules) would come back during the Olympic break. That two week NHL vacation might be enough to heal the teams back up.

    The game tonight was a victory of sorts. Any time you can go toe to toe with the conference’s best team and second best league wide while having only the minimum available you are doing something right.

  4. Jim: That’s why I said minimum of two goals. …still the oddest thing to me. Even when he looks locked in he gives up two (not always his fault but still).

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