The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Van Andel Arena on Wednesday night.
It was another playoff style atmosphere between these two teams tonight. This go around the Admirals come up with the gritty defensive effort with the likes of Trevor Smith, Tyler Kelleher, and Marek Mazanec all shining in Grand Rapids. The Admirals now have forty wins on the season and their magic number to clinch a playoff berth is down to five.
Tyler Kelleher marked his return to the lineup by notching a primary assist for his first career pro point and the first of two goals for the Admirals scored in the opening period. Kelleher swooped around the net with pace and passed out from the left wing side for Vladislav Kamenev to tag the puck first-time and score his sixteenth goal of the season.
After Kamenev scored he was tabbed for interference on the following face-off. This set the stage for another youngster to get his pro scoring off the mark. Fillip Hronek hammered a slap shot from the left point and it flew through traffic for his first career pro point and goal coming on the formidable Griffins power-play.
The first period ended with some controversy. The Admirals had a power-play following a bench minor against the Griffins and some scrambling in front of the net turned into a goal. Nathan Paetsch had the puck in front of Jared Coreau and was about to clear it deep. As he looked up he took a stick in the face from Trevor Smith who was battling in front of the net with Brian Lashoff. It was unintentional but Paetsch went down instantly, left the puck in the slot, and Frédérick Gaudreau hopped at the opportunity. He quickly dangled forehand-backhand-forehand to wrap-around the left pad of Coreau to score his twenty-fourth goal of the season.
Martin Frk’s incredible ability to shoot a puck showed up out of the gate in the second period. The Czech forward skated himself loose from left wing to slot and had a narrow gap to shoot. His wrister wired into the roof past the glove of Mazanec for Frk’s twenty-seventh goal of the season.
It took the Griffins 1:37 of the second period to score. It would take the Admirals just two second further to start the third period and regain their lead. Kelleher made a fantastic wing-to-wing pass to find a wide open Adam Payerl down the left wing who ripped a shot above the blocker of Coreau for his sixteenth goal of the season to make it a 3-2 Admirals lead.
From that point forward the Griffins were really barreling down on the Admirals. The Griffins went empty net and extra attacker with 1:45 remaining and a minute later would have a power-play after a Gaudreau hooking minor. The Admirals saw great work in the face-off circle by their captain Smith to work themselves out of trouble and earn the win tonight in Grand Rapids.
You can tip your cap once again to Mazanec. The Admirals really leaned on him as they defended wave upon wave of attacks in the end of the contest. The Admirals were outshot 35-19 and gave the league’s best power-play seven chances to do damage. Mazanec stood on his head for the team tonight.
This was the final road game of the regular season for the Admirals in Grand Rapids. They will next see the Griffins in the 2016-17 regular season finale at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Admirals are now 5-5-1-0 this season against the Griffins with three wins coming on the road.
What’s next on tap for the Admirals is a four-game homestand which begins Saturday and Sunday against the Texas Stars. Those contests start at 6:00 PM CDT and 3:00 PM CDT respectively.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Sunday there were no roster moves made within the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, White-Smith-Aberg, Payerl-Kamenev-Kelleher, Florek-Perfetto-Liambas, Pardy-Carrier, O’Brien-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Army (healthy), Kirkland (undisclosed injury), Oligny (lower-body injury), and Pinkston (healthy). Adam Pardy made his return to game action after having missed the previous twenty-nine games due to a compound fracture of his left arm.
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? Despite all of the penalties taken by the Milwaukee Admirals how do you rate this performance? How good of a game did Tyler Kelleher have?
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