Belly Up; Admirals Lose 6-3 to Griffins

(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 6-3 against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night.

This game was a sloppy one for the Admirals. And the Griffins were simply relentless. The Griffins outshot the Admirals 43-20 tonight. The Admirals looked sluggish from the off and they’ve now lost two straight games.

“I don’t know if it’s what they did or what we didn’t do,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of tonight’s game. “Right from the drop of the puck the only guy that was ready to play this hockey game was [Anders Lindbäck]. It could have been 6-2 after the first period.”

It was a sluggish start for the Admirals out of the blocks but they would find the opening goal past the halfway point in the first period. Emil Pettersson glided down the right wing and cut into the circle while setting up Vili Saarijärvi as his screen against Jared Coreau. It worked a treat and Pettersson’s wrister burned Coreau high stick-side for his fourth goal of the season.

Anders Lindbäck has been terrific to watch work around the net with the puck. This moment is something that I think everyone would prefer to forget. Moments after Pettersson made it 1-0 Admirals the veteran goaltender had the puck behind his net, was pressured by Ben Street skating right at him, and passed directly to Matt Puempel who would score into an empty net. It was bad. It was also quickly a 1-1 game from Puempel’s third goal of the season.

In the second period the Griffins would cash in after a holding call against Harry Zolnierczyk. Puempel fired a shot atop the left wing circle and it appeared to get a redirect off Eric Tangradi before falling kindly for Ben Street to score a power-play goal on the rebound. It was Street’s first tally of the season.

Zolnierczyk would again head to the box in the second period. This time it was for goaltender interference. This time the other side produced a goal. Pierre-Cédric Labrie had a rush going down the right wing and flicked a backhanded pass for Alex Carrier breaking down the slot. Coreau received a pleasant snow shower as Labrie hit the brakes at the net and the wrister by Carrier whistled right past him for a shorthanded goal and Carrier’s first goal of 2017-18.

The unfortunate reality of a shorthanded goal is you are still shorthanded after the goal is scored. The Griffins would still finish of that power-play chance as a point shot for Joe Hicketts took a redirect from the net-front presence of Tangradi. That would go down as the third goal of the season for the veteran forward and made it a 3-2 Griffins lead.

It wouldn’t take more than four-minutes of the third period before the Griffins extended their lead. Dominic Turgeon threw a long range wrister from the left wing and it managed to beat Lindbäck low glove for his fifth goal of the season making it 4-2 Griffins.

Past the midway point of the third period Evgeny Svechnikov decided it best to try and start a fight with Jimmy Oligny. While it already puts the Admirals defenseman at his fourth fighting major in the eighth game of the season it seemed a message of intent on Oligny’s part to point towards Sunday’s game in Grand Rapids. The Admirals were pushed tonight. Oligny gave a sign of pushing back.

Though, Sunday still seemed so far away. The Griffins were still pushing the pace and earned a five-on-three power-play. After working out of the two-man disadvantage the Griffins would score their second power-play goal of the night. Filip Hronek’s point shot ricocheted off of Matthew Ford’s body as he was camped out in front of the net. Ford’s third goal of the season made it 5-2 Griffins.

Following an icing call, the Admirals were able to rally back and earn themselves a hard worked goal. Vladislav Kamenev won the face-off back to Andrew O’Brien who quickly peppered a shot to Coreau. The Griffins netminder mishandled it with his glove and Zolnierczyk would battle to the front of the net and pounce on the loose puck to score his fourth goal of the season.

With one-minute remaining on the scoreboard the Admirals called a timeout, drew up a play, and kept Lindbäck on the bench to bring out the extra attacker. Right off the draw Turner Elson would get the puck and spin a shot the length for the empty netter. Elson’s fourth goal of the season put this game at its 6-3 final score.

“We were slow in our puck movement. We were slow skating. We were slow reacting. Everything was slow,” commented Evason of the Admirals performance. “Maybe [the Griffins] are that quick.  Maybe they are. But I don’t think we’re that slow. We’ve shown, start of the year here, that we’re a fast team. That we play with energy, we’re quick, we can forecheck. That wasn’t our hockey club.”

The Admirals are back in action at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena Friday night at 7:00 PM CDT. That night they will face-off against the Rockford IceHogs for the fourth time this season. The Admirals then travel to the Van Andel Arena for a Sunday afternoon clash against the Griffins. That game starts at 3:00 PM CST.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Saturday night there have been no roster moves made. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Kirkland-Smith-Butler, Richard-Kamenev-Perfetto, Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Kelleher, Labrie-Trenin-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Allard. Both Jack Dougherty and Cody Bass returned to practice yesterday for the Admirals. Dougherty took more reps in rush drills while Bass worked a bit less as part of the fourth line. They remain out due to upper-body injuries but are near a return. Joonas Lyytinen worked alongside Dougherty yesterday in practice but remains a healthy scratch. We at Admirals Roundtable lost a friend last night in Benjamin Butzbach. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, son, family, friends, and the very many whose lives he made brighter. RIP Big Ben.

What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? What is it about the Grand Rapids Griffins that -ALWAYS- brings out the worst in the Milwaukee Admirals? After these last two games, are the Admirals in jeopardy of stumbling in the wrong direction after such a nice start?

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9 thoughts on “Belly Up; Admirals Lose 6-3 to Griffins”

  1. Grand Rapids outplayed the Ads along the boards and in the neutral zone. That led to the lopsided shots on goals. The Ads offense was their own worst enemy. They kept trying rink wide passes against 5 Griffins in the neutral zone. Very, very few of them worked, resulting in empty trips and loss of the puck. Grand Rapids 3 best scoring chances in period 1 all came from errant passes.

    I didn’t think that ANY of the 3 penalties whistled against Harry Z were a good call. On the holding, the GR player was hanging all over Harry’s arm to slow him down from getting to a loose puck in the NE corner. Harry tried to push him off of his arm and the ref called it. Both times Harry was called for goaltender interference he was shoved in the back with a stick by a Griffin. Both times it was Guillaume “Wrong Way” Labonte with the call. He and Harry Z clearly do not like each other.

    Worst D-man for Milwaukee tonight was Granberg. I think I could have played better than he did. Granberg just backed up on the fourth GR goal (ES and GW) and just let Turgeon shoot the puck into the net! Murphy does all of the work on that pairing. Allard was the best D-man. Best forward for Milwaukee was Kamenev and Harry Z (tie). Worst forwards, Butler and Smith. Butler never sticks his nose in places and is always in the wrong position. Smith tried to play the puck and Kirkland went to the net, but Butler drags that line down.

    If I was Dean Evason, when I get some healthy players, Granberg and Butler are sitting out a few games. Maybe Lyytinen should replace Granberg right now, but not be paired with Murphy.

    “Past the midway point of the third period Evgeny Svechnikov decided it best to try and start a fight with Jimmy Oligny.” Exactly! They both tumble to the ice, then Svechnikov slashes Oligny while both are laying on the ice. Yet the GR player gets no minor nor an instigating penalty. That was really POOR Officiating!

    Why the poor results against GR? Read paragraph one again. GR played a good system and made it work. Either it disrupted the Admirals or their offense was just inept tonight. The 9-3 penalties didn’t help. It should have been more like 6-5 or 6-6 tonight.

  2. Curious, with how well Lindback is playing, what do you think the chances are of him going back to Nashville and Saros coming back to Milwaukee for a bit? My guess is the waiver issue basically makes it a non-starter, but if that wasn’t a factor do you think there would be a switcheroo?

  3. FITF: After tonight when you see a mistake like Lindback had? It doesn’t help too much -but- everything else he has done this season has been really solid. That waiver issue would be a thing though. Looking at a team like Vegas right now, who has everyone under the sun injured as far as goaltending goes, would worry me if you’re looking to switch for a period of time and attempt a clearance through waivers. But this is still a goaltender that was not wanted in North America a year ago. He couldn’t even get an AHL contract through Ontario and went with a PTO before getting the axe 4 games in. I want to say the likelihood of him passing waivers would be high… but I also feel Saros should be given a quicker slate time between starts and at least two to three more starts before anyone gets worried for him.

    Should Saros still be fighting it somewhat or have lost the confidence that slight bit when the team is out in front of him playing poorly? It might be worth doing. How long? I don’t know. But I highlighted on the Twitters that this is only Saros’ third pro season in North America and that Rinne, when he was at that stage, played 65 games in Milwaukee. I think it’s better for a high level prospect like Saros to keep playing, keep learning, keep progressing in games. If he can’t get those games in the NHL? Rinne is proof that you can’t go wrong by keeping active that third year in the AHL. At some point though you gotta start letting him be more active, Nashville. They could stunt his development and create another.. Lindback.

  4. I definitely agree with you about Saros. I think he just needs to play more. I don’t know what else he has to prove in the AHL other than it being so he can get playing time. Many people forget how young he is still (goalie-wise).

    I don’t think Lindback is the answer in Nashville. I am still skeptical every game he starts with the Admirals.

    I read Nashville fan sites frequently and it blows my mind how fast they say a player isn’t good enough/needs to be traded/isn’t the future answer/sucks, etc… I guess maybe if I was paying that much per ticket I would be more like that. Who knows.

  5. Sure feels like deja Vu all over again. Grand Rapids outskates us. Grand Rapids out muscles us. Grand Rapids capitalizes on mistakes and penalties. Grand Rapids owns us!! We will be one and done again if we can man up and face this team with some guys! We let this team dictate flow, and get trapped into poor decisions. We looked confused, flat footed and at times plain lazy. Too many penalties, I don’t care if the refs are making bad calls, you can keep yourself from interference with the goalie to an extent. The “fight” Jimmy was involved in shouldn’t count as a fight towards his 10 i don’t think an actual punch was landed before the refs broke it up. Hopefully practice was rough for these guys to get them ready to take on Rockford.

  6. Damn autocorrect. We will be one and done again if we can’t man up and face this team with some guts!

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