The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday night at the Van Andel Arena. It was an all-around sloppy game for both teams but the Griffins defensive game left the Admirals with little to no quality scoring chances on the night. The Griffins are now on a nine-game winning streak.
Andy Miele has been a thorn in the Admirals side since becoming a member of the Griffins. While he didn’t score the opening goal in the first period he did contribute heavily to the Griffins claiming an early 1-0 lead. Miele was able to slip past Kristian Näkyvä and square up on Taylor Aronson. The puck trickled off his stick, skipped back, and Miele continued driving through to the net against Aronson. Mitch Callahan followed through, beat Vladislav Kamenev to the loose puck, and snapped a shot blocker side of Juuse Saros to score his seventh goal of the season.
The Admirals will be hard pressed to score a more bizarre goal this season than the one Félix Girard picked up to equalize the game in the first period while shorthanded. Frédérick Gaudreau pushed a puck up ice and Girard was in a footrace with two separate Griffins players at the Grand Rapids defensive blueline. It was at this point when goaltender Jared Coreau took matters into his own hands, left his goal crease, attempted to bat the puck away from the oncoming Girard, fail miserably at doing such, and left a wide open net for Girard to score into. The goal goes down as Girard’s second of the season. For the Admirals, it was the fourth shorthanded goal of the season and they are one shy of tying last season’s total.
It wouldn’t be until the third period before another goal was scored. In similar fashion to their first tally the Griffins would score after a loose puck fell perfectly in place for a quick shot. Similar to Miele’s initial effort, Andreas Athanasiou flew in on goal but lost the puck off his stick blade as he moved in on Saros from the right wing. Victor Bartley, looking North, and Kamenev, heading South, both tried to clear the puck but canceled eachother out. The puck sat in the right wing circle for Martin Frk who fired a wrister through traffic to score over Saros’ shoulder for his fourth goal of the season.
Athansiou would keep his jets going after that play, as well. The speedy forward drew Aronson with him towards the left wing on a rush to the net and whirled a spinning backhanded pass for the trailing Eric Tangradi who would deposit a shot underneath Saros for his eleventh goal of the season.
The game would be polished off by a Louis-Marc Aubry empty net tally with thirty-four seconds remaining in regulation. The win for the Griffins extends their winning streak to nine-games. The loss for Saros in net snaps his personal winning-streak with the Admirals at eight-games.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Nashville Predators activated defenseman Petter Granberg from injured reserve and sent him to the Milwaukee Admirals on conditioning assignment. Tonight’s line combinations were: Fiala-Gaudreau-Payerl, Åberg-Kamenev-Saponari, White-Reinhard-Pendenza, Devane-Girard-Budish, Näkyvä-Aronson, Bartley-Murphy, Alm-Oligny. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass, Max Görtz, Conor Allen, and Petter Granberg. Admirals broadcaster Aaron Sims said during his pre-game show that Allen is not with the Admirals on this road trip. Granberg has yet to join the Admirals but is expected to meet up with the team in Manitoba for this weekend’s games. Alm made his return to the lineup for the first time since 11/18/15. He had missed the previous eight-games due to a lower-body injury. Jamie Devane made his return to the lineup after missing the previous two-games due to an upper-body injury. Devane was an alternate captain for the Admirals tonight with the other captains (Sissons, Bass, Allen) all out of the lineup.
What were the Admirals unable to do tonight that they accomplished this past weekend? Can the Admirals offense get back and going this weekend in Manitoba?