The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-0 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday night at the Van Andel Arena.
This game started off poorly for the Admirals, got worse with a match penalty against Cody Bass, and they never got into a groove offensively. Following the highest of highs, winning 9-1 in Texas, the Admirals hit a low with their first shutout loss of the season. Eddie Pasquale stopping all twenty-seven shots on goal tonight. The Admirals skid in Grand Rapids, including last year’s trip in during the playoffs, is now up to ten straight games (0-9-1-0 record). Under Dean Evason the Admirals are 5-15-1-0 in Grand Rapids.
It took the Griffins twenty-six seconds to get on the board tonight. After a face-off win in neutral ice Yevgeni Svechnikov was able to sneak behind Jimmy Oligny and Alex Carrier to race off on a breakaway. The Russian forward stickhandled and then flipped a backhander above the left pad of Marek Mazanec to quickly make it a 1-0 Griffins lead.
Joe Hicketts has made sure he is on the Admirals naughty list this season. In the first meeting of the season Hicketts low bridged Harry Zolnierczyk at the knees with a check that had him landing on his head. Tonight Hicketts walloped Mike Liambas towards the head near the penalty box area. It instantly caught the ire of Jonathan Diaby who flew over and dropped the gloves with the Griffins defenseman. Diaby was issued an instigating penalty and misconduct for doing so but the Admirals did kill off the minor penalty that created.
The first period heat intensified when Cody Bass delivered a big hit to Kyle Criscuolo that sent him face first towards the boards. Bass was issued a five minute major for boarding and a game misconduct. Criscuolo stayed down for a bit after the hit and went off to the locker room for repairs. He would return quickly enough to contribute on the Griffins major power-play.
Diaby was out for his misconduct for instigating a fight. Bass was out for the game due to his boarding major. Blake Kessel was serving Bass’ penalty. This may have sparked a bit of gamesmanship with Mitch Callahan grappling Jimmy Oligny after a whistle that had the two sent to the box for matching roughing minors that would leave the Admirals to just three defensemen to kill the remainder of the major penalty.
Moments after the roughing calls the Griffins had their breakthrough. Svechnikov and Criscuolo played a one-two pass to each other and it allowed the Russian to get a quick shot off down the slot to score his second goal of the first period and seventh goal of the season to extend the Griffins lead.
In the second period the Admirals did have much better attacking pressure and scoring chances. They weren’t able to get anything through and that was in large part to some great work in net during the middle frame by Eddie Pasquale. At the other end, Mazanec came up huge to deny Martin Frk with a phenomenal glove save on a breakaway and keep the scoreline right where it was coming into the period.
Despite finding some momentum in the second period the Admirals would allow a goal less than three minutes into the third period. The Griffins won an in-zone face-off and Robbie Russo ripped a wrister from the left point right off the draw that sailed in top shelf for his fourth goal of the season to make it a 3-0 Griffins lead.
In an effort to negate a shutout the Admirals did bring Mazanec to the bench with 2:06 remaining in regulation. Their effort with the extra attacker didn’t crack Pasquale in net and the Griffins won 3-0 with their netminder earning a twenty-seven save shutout. It was the first time the Admirals have been shutout this season. The last time the Admirals were shutout came back on 3/1/16 on the road against the then named Lake Erie Monsters.
If there is any good news out of this game it is that it will not have to stay in the memory banks of the players for too long. The Admirals are right back in action tomorrow night on the road against the Chicago Wolves at 7:00 PM CST. They’ll look to end the current four-game road trip on a high note heading into the Christmas break.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Saturday the lone roster move made saw defenseman Adam Pardy recalled by the Nashville Predators. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Florek-Smith-Åberg, Boucher-Gaudreau-White, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Bass, Liambas-Girard-Payerl, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Dougherty, Diaby-Kessel. Tonight’s lone scratch for the Admirals was Max Görtz who was a healthy scratch.
Reaction to tonight’s game? What is it about playing in Grand Rapids that just seems to flip the Milwaukee Admirals’ world upside-down? What do the Admirals need to change to start having success on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins?
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