The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night. The Admirals have been eliminated from the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Griffins will play against the Chicago Wolves in the Western Conference Semi-Finals.
In the second game of the series to reach overtime the same result played out. The Griffins were able to sneak a puck past Marek Mazanec but this time it was Kyle Criscuolo playing the overtime hero as he scored the game-winner and series clincher from a net front redirect.
“We were extremely proud and happy of how we played all year,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “And that includes these last three hockey games. We lost in overtime in Game 1. We lost a 3-2 game in Game 2. We lost in overtime in Game 3. You can’t be disappointed in your group if you believe that they played their asses off. They were committed. They played for each other. And they just didn’t get the job done.”
This game wouldn’t get an opening goal until the second period. The Griffins were awarded power-play for tripping moments after they got away with a trip defending Mike Ribeiro. Yet, a strong penalty kill from the Admirals ended with a goal just as Justin Florek was stepping out of the box. Justin Kirkland left a puck back on the left point for Trevor Murphy who stepped up, measured a wrister, and shot high stick side on Jared Coreau to get the Admirals ahead 1-0.
With 2:06 remaining in the second period the Griffins had a near chance on a jam play to the net that required video review. It was confirmed as “no goal” but Derek Army did receive a delay of game call on the play which helped setup a Griffins power-play goal moments later. Alex Carrier attempted to get a zone clearance was held and Evgeny Svechnikov’s follow up shot was blocked down en route to the net. Tomas Nosek was first man to react on the loose puck and zipped it past Marek Mazanec to level things up at 1-1.
In the closing minutes of the third period Murphy smashed home from the left wing again. Anthony Richard emptied his gas tank to win a loose puck down the right wing and threw into the empty left wing corner. Ribeiro would arrive and leave a touch pass behind for Murphy to unleash a howitzer through Coreau for his second of the night and put the Admirals back on top 2-1.
The Griffins would equalize with 3:38 remaining in regulation. The Griffins won a face-off back to the right point where Robbie Russo tagged a shot pass into the high slot for Matt Lorito that alluded Mazanec in net to make it a 2-2 game.
Stress would heighten further as a Richard clearance attempt fluttered over the glass for delay of game with 1:43 remaining in regulation. The Griffins would burn their timeout to draw up a play but time would expire and their power-play would be cut short by the ending of the third period. The Admirals would finish the rest off to begin overtime.
As overtime hauled on the Admirals woes from the long change period seemed to tickle over. The Griffins sustained countless waves of attacks and finally were rewarded for their relentless pressure. Dan Renouf’s shot from the left point was harshly redirected right on the doorstep of goal in front of Mazanec to get the game-winner in overtime and complete the Griffins second successive opening round playoff sweep of the Admirals.
With the loss tonight the Admirals have been swept out of the opening round of the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs for a third successive appearance. They have lost eleven consecutive playoff games and see the end of their 2016-17 season in the same crushing circumstances as last season with the Griffins advancing at their expense. In the coming days here on Admirals Roundtable we will be fulfilling our end-season recap material while supporting the Nashville Predators continued run through the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Sunday there were no changes made for the Admirals roster but they did tinker with the line combinations for tonight’s game: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Perfetto-Smith-Payerl, White-Kamenev-Kirkland, Florek-Army-Liambas, Pardy-Carrier, O’Brien-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Bass (lower-body injury), Girard (healthy), Kelleher (undisclosed injury), Moy (healthy), Pinkston (healthy), Trenin (healthy), and Visentin (healthy). Andrew O’Brien returned to the Admirals lineup after having missed the last six Admirals games with an undisclosed injury.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Where could the Milwaukee Admirals have won this series or were they just a few bad breaks against the Grand Rapids Griffins away from being in a similar position in the series?
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