The Milwaukee Admirals were shutout 3-0 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins Thursday night at the Van Andel Arena. The loss for the Admirals ends what was a five-game winning streak and the shutout ends Max Görtz six-game points streak.
Jared Coreau’s dominance of the Admirals continued once again tonight in Grand Rapids. If not before then this is officially the night he has earned Admirals Killer status. In his career against the Admirals Coreau has made eight appearances, seven starts, gone 6-1-0-0 stopping 172/179 shots for a 0.961 save percentage and 0.87 goals against average. Tonight was the third time in his career that he has shutout the Admirals.
This sloppy choppy game wouldn’t see a breakthrough in the goal scoring department until midway through the second period. Anthony Mantha was fighting through Victor Bartley for position off the right wing pocket as the Griffins forward threw a puck up into the slot. Mark Zengerle received the pass from Mantha and was able to spin off a backhand pass for the on-rushing Eric Tangradi who took the feed first-time to beat Marek Mazanec for his fourteenth goal of the season. Tangradi has scored points in nine of his last ten games for the Griffins.
In the third period, the Griffins caught the Admirals defensemen over-committing to the same spot on the ice and capitalized from the confusion to pick up a two-goal cushion. Jimmy Oligny left the front of the net to get the puck carrier Louis-Marc Aubry before he could wrap-around a shot or get a pass centered into the slot. The problem is that Conor Allen was already chasing him so if Oligny doesn’t stop the puck from getting past him the front of the net was wide open. Oligny didn’t get there. Colton Sissons could make the recovery read as Jeff Hoggan went into the wide open goal mouth area and scored from Aubry’s pass for his fourth goal of the season.
The game spiraled down to the final four minutes of regulation when the Admirals were given a power-play chance to create a miraculous comeback. The net was emptied but the Admirals theme of shooting pucks over the top of the net kept persisting. In the end, Aubry would score an empty net goal with what would literally be a walk off tally as the goal was counted but no-one opted to see how much clock was left for a follow-up faceoff. Aubry’s fourth goal of the season made this one end in a 3-0 final.
Give a small tip of the cap to Mazanec in net for the Admirals tonight. Once again, he played outstanding and –in these last two games against the Griffins– has stopped 63/65 shots on goal. The only thing missing for Mazanec tonight was the goal support. Sadly, the defense of the Griffins made for Admirals puck movement to be a tough enough task alone – much less shooting on Coreau down at the opposite end from Mazanec.
Ramblings: Once again, there were no roster moves made within the Nashville Predators organization since the last time the Milwaukee Admirals took to the ice. Tonight’s line combinations were: Fiala-Sissons-Gaudreau, White-Reinhard-Payerl, Larraza-Girard-Görtz, Devane-Pendenza-Saponari, Näkyvä-Alm, Allen-Oligny, Noonan-Bartley. Tonight’s scratches were: Pontus Åberg (undisclosed injury), Cody Bass (upper-body), Trevor Murphy (upper-body), and Taylor Aronson (lower-body). Vladislav Kamenev didn’t score a point today but Russia won 2-1 over Slovakia to remain unbeaten at 2016 IIHF World Junior Championships. Five minutes into the first period, Frédérick Gaudreau took a solid open ice check from Eric Tangradi in neutral ice. He wouldn’t return in the game until midway through the second period. Later in the second period Félix Girard, set up in front of Marek Mazanec defending, took a wrist shot to the mouth. He did not return to the game.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Is this the sort of effort that brings the Milwaukee Admirals back down to Earth to expose weaknesses in the team or can the Griffins defense simply be given credit for dictating the game?