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?
Be sure to keep updated with Admirals Roundtable through social media platform of your choice: follow along on Twitter, like us on Facebook, get photo updates on Instagram, and listen along on SoundCloud.