The Milwaukee Admirals lost 2-1 against the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
A controversial “no goal” call in tonight’s game was the lone difference in Game Two. It looked as if Max Görtz made it a 2-1 game in the second period only to have the goal waved off for goaltender interference. The replay showed zero contact with Tom McCollum in net. In fact, no one was really even close to him. The Admirals would get a power-play goal in the third period from Vladislav Kamenev to legitimately make it 2-1 but the game stayed right there until the final horn.
“I get that I can look up there and I see the video, and the referee doesn’t have that option, we come in after the period and I can solidify what I saw,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach of the no goal call. “I guess the bottom line is it’s a shame that the ref can’t see the video too. We’re the second best league in the world and the referee should be able to go over there and look at that. And we don’t. It makes no sense. It makes absolutely no sense. I’m just talking to our goaltending coach Dave Rook and he’s like, “In the OHL they can do it – in the American League you can’t do it.” In a playoff game in the second best league in the world we can’t look and see if the call was correct? It doesn’t make any sense. It’s hard to take. It’s disappointing.”
The Admirals now trail the Griffins 2-0 in the series and need to do something they haven’t done all season long – win in Grand Rapids. They will need to do that twice in order to host Game Five in Milwaukee.
Despite a very strong start for the Admirals out of the gate it would be the Griffins getting on the scoreboard first. Patrick Mullen was called for a slash that gave the Griffins a power-play to work with. Martin Frk hammered a slap shot low and the save off the pads of Juuse Saros spilled right in front of the crease. In the scramble to get the puck away from the net Kristian Näkyvä kicked the puck with his skate and gave the puck right to Anthony Mantha for what would be a tap-in to make it 1-0.
Another power-play goal for the Griffins came in the second period. Following an Admirals power-play that went bust Jamie Devane was called for a high sticking minor. The Griffins then put the Admirals penalty kill in a spin cycle and opened up space for Tyler Bertuzzi to score a one-timer for his third goal of the playoffs.
A massive controversial moment came in the closing stages of the second period. Corey Potter let a slap shot loose from the right point and it deflected in off Max Görtz for what appeared to be a clear cut goal. It was instantly waved off and the explanation from the officiating crew was that there was goaltender inference on the play.
“What I see was, I see [Andy Miele], he’s a weak guy I think so and I went in there and pushed him away,” said Max Görtz. “I didn’t think I touched [Tom McCollum].”
The only part of an Admirals body near Tom McCollum in net was Görtz’s right skate in the top of the blue paint which came as he turned around to follow the puck into the net. The rest was purely a phantom call as traffic surrounded the front of the net. There was no contact. And the goal was disallowed with goaltender interference not being able to be reviewed in the AHL. The second period ended with a 2-0 Griffins lead and a massive roar of boo birds from the fans to the officials.
“When the ref came over I just asked him,” said Evason of talking to the officials about the decision for a no goal call. “I was watching the replay as he was talking I said, [Jarrod Ragusin] just talk and I’ll watch it. He said, “100% his foot is in the crease and he obstructs with the goalie.” And as I’m watching it his foot is not in the crease and he does not obstruct with the goaltender trying to kick his leg out to make a save. It’s a goal. Simple as that.”
Just past the midway point of the third period the Admirals were able to net a good goal which came from their fifth power-play chance of the night. Vladislav Kamenev was able to take a feed from Frédérick Gaudreau, whirl around in front of the net, and stuff five-hole on McCollum to score his first goal of the playoffs and draw the Admirals back within a goal.
With 1:47 remaining the Admirals pulled Saros to bring the extra attacker on. They then earned an in-zone face-off with 1:26 remaining and burned their timeout. They were unable to make anything happen with the net emptied and extra attacker situation and fell 2-1 to the Griffins. The difference, some could argue, was the no goal call which was the difference in the hockey game tonight.
“It’s tough, obviously,” said Görtz. “When you know it’s a good goal it’s tough. 2-1 there and go into this period we score one and we’d be in OT now probably. It’s tough, but you have to just let it go and still go hard. We were so close at the end. So, we’re working down there now so next game is our’s.”
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Milwaukee Admirals signed goaltender Janne Juvonen and defenseman Joonas Lyytinen both to PTO Contracts. Also of note, though not made official until game time due to his inclusion, the Nashville Predators assigned their first selection from the 2015 NHL Draft Yakov Trenin to the Admirals. The Russian forward made his professional playing debut tonight. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Richard-Trenin-Devane, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Mullen. Tonight’s scratches were: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Zac Larraza (healthy), Joe Pendenza (healthy) Janne Juvonen (healthy), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Aaron Irving (healthy), and Alexandre Carrier (healthy).
How poor has the officiating been in this series? What will the Milwaukee Admirals need to do in Grand Rapids to survive this series?
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