While there is no Chatterbox, being a road game and all, I do feel some recapping of last night’s game is in order. The Milwaukee Admirals once again were stifled by the Grand Rapids Griffins. They lost 4-1 and the lone goal that the Admirals scored came from a goaltending blunder from Jared Coreau. Without that gaffe Coreau has a very easy pair of shutouts in back-to-back games against the Admirals.
It’s tough looking at a game last night without getting frustrated but the truth is that there was really only one clean goal scored last night and it came with less than two minutes remaining in regulation. When Andreas Athanasiou delivered a beautiful blind spinning backhanded pass to setup Eric Tangradi the game finally had a clean goal. When Mitch Callahan scored it came off a bad bounce that fell on a plate for him. When Félix Girard scored it was because Coreau was having an out of body experience away from the net. When Martin Frk scored it was because of a loose puck scramble that lead to a botched clearance that gave Frk a chance not unlike Callahan’s. Tangradi’s goal was decisive and without any sort of unfortunate mishaps unfolding around it. From there the Griffins added an empty netter. In a game that felt like a 2-0 contest to me the right team won.
I think it is clear that the Admirals did learn from the first game against the Griffins. The scoreline is the obvious first example of that. What’s disappointing is that for all the defensive improvements the Admirals displayed theur offensive inability to solve the Griffins defense remained. The Admirals went from 22 shots on goal to 24 shots on goal. If you discount the blunder Coreau made that allowed for the shorthanded goal by Girard I can’t even think of one chance out of those 45 other shots on goal that were threatening.
That’s all the bad news. The good news? That same issue didn’t creep into the Admirals in the following games when they played the Chicago Wolves and Texas Stars. Perhaps it isn’t the worst thing in the world to tip your cap to the Griffins during this hot-streak of their’s, learn the lessons that the two games with them have provided, improve, and move on. The Admirals didn’t even drop in the divisional or conference rankings by losing last night. The Admirals have won thirteen of their last sixteen-games. For all the insanity of roster movement, recalling or signing players from the ECHL level, and players getting injured in-house the team has continually performed very strong.
The good news can continue as well. Johan Alm and Jamie Devane both returned to the Admirals lineup last night after missing game-time. As disappointing as it is that Conor Allen is apparently not going to be joining the Admirals for this road trip due to injury the Nashville Predators will be sending Petter Granberg on conditioning assignment so yet another fresh body is coming into the team. Max Görtz missed last night’s game but is with the Admirals on the road. It’s only a matter of time before players start healing up and this team gets even stronger for battling through passages of a season such as this one.
Some last little tid-bits worth throwing out there. The Admirals penalty kill, for as rough as it was to start the season, has gone 85.7% (60/70) in the last sixteen-games. Vladislav Kamenev was slapped with a misconduct in the final twenty-seconds of last night’s game. He joins Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala as Admirals who have given themselves an early exit by way of a misconduct penalty in the final twenty-seconds of a game this season.