The Admirals lost 4-3 in overtime against the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road Wednesday night. It was a matter of less than a second between the Admirals winning and the Griffins six game point streak coming to an end tonight. Instead, Any Miele scored in the last second and in overtime to steal the win in Grand Rapids tonight.
It took a little less than four minutes for the home side to get on the board. Andy Miele broke into the zone on the right wing and passed over to Mark Zengerle who passed over to Martin Frk. The Czech native gathered up the pass on the left wing and hammered a shot top shelf past Magnus Hellberg for his second goal of the season.
In the final minute of the first period the Admirals popped in a rebounder. Colton Sissons made the initial play in front of the net and his drive to the puck helped clear out Nick Jensen and Kevin Porter which lead to a loose puck chance for Rich Clune directly in front of Jared Coreau in net. Clune’s initial backhanded shot was stopped but his follow up came with Coreau down and out with no chance to save the follow up. The goal is Clune’s fifth of the season with the Admirals.
The second period started off with the Admirals taking a 2-1 lead. Garrett Noonan’s wrister from the left point seemed to go in from long range past the net front screen of Sissons. As it happens, the scorers decided that Sissons in fact got a piece of the puck as it traveled in. That makes it nineteen goals on the season for him and his fourth in his last five games.
Grand Rapids would respond off of a rather similarly worked play. Jakub Kindl managed to pound a slap shot from the blue line that found a lane through traffic to beat Hellberg in net and make it a 2-2 game. For Kindl it is his first goal scored in the AHL this season.
The Admirals followed that goal by the Griffins up with one of their own less than two minutes later. Kevin Fiala made a swooping play behind the net and snapped around with a wrister on the right wing that beat Coreau on the near post. The sneaky shot gave Fiala his fifth goal since joining the Admirals.
In the third period the Admirals attempted to park the bus and defend their 3-2 lead. It almost worked. As a matter of fact they were 0.4 seconds from winning at that scoreline. Unfortunately, following a late tripping call by Jonathan Diaby, Andy Miele caught a rebound off a Porter shot in front of the net to score on the power-play and send the game to overtime.
With three-on-three looming in the distance the Griffins secured the victory off of, guess who, Miele. Xavier Ouellet whirled a puck on net and Miele caught the shot to deflect it past Hellberg for his second goal of the night and seventeenth of the season. The Griffins point streak went to seven games. It was 0.4 seconds away from stopping cold on home ice at the hands of the Admirals.
That third period by the Admirals was the backbreaker. There were next to no offensive attacks established, created, or generated and it ended up with a period shot total of 15-3 in the Griffins favor. With the Admirals defense as depleted as it was coming in. To reply on it as heavily as they did in the third period was begging for the Griffins to attack and score the equalizer or more. They’re too good of a team to allow that much puck possession regardless of how well the Admirals blocked shots tonight. The defensive approach in that period on forward cost the Admirals the win and gave the Griffins two solid points when they should have finished the night with none.
Ramblings: Prior to the game the Admirals received Viktor Stålberg from the Nashville Predators. In addition, Frédérick Gaudreau was called up from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Also, defenseman Ian White missed tonight’s game due to the passing of his grandmother. For the first time in a long time it meant Mike Liambas slotting into defense. Tonight’s scratches were Miikka Salomaki (upper-body), Frédérick Gaudreau (healthy), Joe Piskula (lower-body), Ian White (family emergency), Jimmy Oligny (right knee), and Johan Alm (left wrist). In the first period, Griffins defenseman Brennan Evans suffered a groin injury and did not return to the contest.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How frustrating was the third period effort by the Admirals? Where did the offense go? How did you feel Mike Liambas played on defense for the Admirals tonight?