The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins Tuesday night at the Van Andel Arena.
After such a highly successful regular season the Admirals have been swept out of the opening round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. The Central Division champions had a massively successful first period but where stopped in their tracks after a lengthy video review period in the second period put the Griffins equal at 1-1. This was followed by yet another goal that went through open netting that would be ruled as such by replay to give the Griffins a lead they would never lose.
The Admirals have lost their last eight straight playoff games. The last time the Admirals escaped the opening round of the playoffs came five-years ago in the 2011 Calder Cup Playoffs. They end the 2015-16 season having lost five-straight games for the first time all-season. Admirals head coach Dean Evason’s playoff record is now 1-9.
It was a very purposeful start by the Admirals. They were flying in the first period and generating numerous shots to the net. Before the horn could sound in the opening frame the Admirals hard work saw a pay off with Yakov Trenin’s shot from the left wing rebounding off of Tom McCollum and sitting in-line for Adam Payerl to smack in home to give the Admirals their first lead in the series since Game 1. The primary assist by Trenin was his first career pro point.
What happened at the start of the second period can only be summed up with the word insanity. Play was stopped momentarily to assess whether or not a shot by Brian Lashoff was a goal or not. The puck hadn’t hit a post. It didn’t trickle across the line. It evidently flew clean through the netter. After a seriously long video review, with multiple officials looking at the overhead view, the officials determined it to be a good goal. The net wasn’t checked and it was left as is.
Moments later a shot by Anthony Mantha appeared to get through the left arm of Marek Mazanec and sail wide to the right wing corner boards. Mantha celebrated and went to the bench for five-fives amidst confusion. After another video review, a much quicker one, the officials called it a good goal and then checked the net before getting a replacement net in place for the Admirals.
There was no replay needed for Mantha’s second goal of the game coming at the end of the second period. Xavier Ouellet skated out towards the left wing circle and dropped a pass off to Mantha for a bomb from the high slot that whistled through net front traffic and beat Mazanec over the shoulder to make it a 3-1 Griffins lead through two periods of play.
In the third period the Griffins scored their fourth unanswered goal. The Admirals won a neutral zone face-off but Trevor Murphy turned the puck over right to Colin Campbell who immediately raced in on a breakaway where he finished backhand to forehand over the pad blocker-side of Mazanec to make it a 4-1 Griffins lead.
There were still four-minutes remaining when Mazanec hit the Admirals bench to get the extra attacker on. In something that sums up the Griffins defensive structure against the Admirals the majority of this 2015-16 season there wouldn’t be a goal scored despite the Admirals pressure with the added man on the ice. The Griffins would win 4-1 to complete the opening round sweep of the Admirals. The Griffins will now face the Lake Erie Monsters in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
A tip of the cap can be given to Griffins goaltender McCollum who was the surprise choice in Game 1 of the series over the main man in net for the entire season Jared Coreau. In this series McCollum stopped 91/93 shots on goal in the series for a 0.968 save percentage and 1.00 goals against average in the three-game set.
Ramblings: There were no roster moves made since the last time the Milwaukee Admirals played on Saturday night. The Nashville Predators will be playing in their first Game 7 in franchise history tomorrow night in Anaheim. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Cyclones lost Game 6 and have been drawn into a Game 7 against the Fort Wayne Komets that will be contested on tomorrow night in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals featured a significant change up in the forward lines: Reinhart-Kamenev-Åberg, Richard-Gaudreau-Görtz, White-Trenin-Fiala, Devane-Girard-Payerl, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Mullen. Tonight’s Scratches: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Zac Larraza (healthy), Janne Juvonen (healthy), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Aaron Irving (healthy), and Alexandre Carrier (healthy). In addition, the Admirals tabbed Marek Mazanec with starting duties tonight marking the first time in 10 years that the Admirals had two different starting goaltenders in a playoff series since Brian Finley and Jake Moreland split the duties in the 2006 Calder Cup Playoffs.
What is your reaction to this game and specifically the controversial moments that occurred at the start of the second period? With how great the Milwaukee Admirals played in the first period did that long first video review delay stop their momentum completely?
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