Admirals Rally Late in Grand Rapids; Lose 4-3 in OT

(Photo Credit: Mark Newman)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-3 in overtime on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Van Andel Arena on Sunday night.

Both teams entered tonight’s game riding a four-game point streak. After seeing three third period goals the Admirals made sure that both would continue. The incredible rally forced overtime but a power-play goal from Matthew Ford would see the Griffins come out on the right side of this contest tonight.

Matt Puempel extended his goal scoring streak to three-games to open this game up in the first period. Dan Renouf labeled a wing-to-wing pass for Puempel who then snapped a wrister into the roof of the net from the right wing circle for his twelfth goal of the season. The Griffins would outshoot the Admirals 18-9 in the first period.

In the second period things would go from bad to worse. Evgeny Svechnikov would score twice in the space of 1:07 of ice time to extend the Griffins lead to 3-0.

Svechnikov’s first goal came on a Griffins power-play through a one-timer on the right wing circle. He would follow up taking advantage of an Admirals defense that was scrambling and score from the slot to get his fifth goal of the season. Svechnikov in his AHL career has had three multi-goal performances. All three of them have come against the Admirals.

The Admirals were able to quickly and finally see a response from their power-play to start the third period. Renouf was called for a tripping minor and only sat down in the penalty box for nine-seconds. Fred Allard’s shot from the point was knocked down in front of Jared Coreau. Trevor Smith was the first to the loose puck and secured the rebound for his sixth goal of the season. The power-play goal for the Admirals snapped a 0/10 run on the power-play as well as a 0/18 stretch against the Griffins this season.

That wouldn’t be all for the Admirals, either. Bobby Butler had a step down the left wing and then wired a shot over the blocker of Coreau to make it a one-goal contest. The goal for Butler was his thirteenth of the season and the 100th goal of his AHL career.

With 2:03 remaining in regulation Lindbäck made his way to the bench to bring on an extra attacker during a four-on-four. Frédérick Gaudreau, who made his sixty-first flight of his calendar year after arriving to this game from Nashville today, completed the Admirals three-goal third period comeback. His shot from the left point saw his stick explode but the puck continued along the ice at a slow speed and snuck under the left leg of Coreau to make it a 3-3 game from Gaudreau’s third goal of the season.

This game would see overtime. Unfortunately a goaltender interference call against the Admirals captain twelve seconds into the extra frame put the Griffins on a power-play where they would notch the game-winning goal. Matthew Ford was able to secure the game-winning goal to the right of Lindbäck in the low left wing to give the Griffins the 4-3 overtime win.

The Admirals end the 2017 side of the schedule with a record of 16-12-4-0 (36 points, 0.563 points percentage). Tonight’s game was the seventh time from thirteen games in December that the Admirals played beyond regulation. The result certainly ends up bittersweet tonight but the fight displayed in the third period earned the Admirals a point out of the clutches of a game they certainly could have outright lost.

This coming week the Admirals welcome in the New Year with a trio of games. The Admirals face-off against the Griffins once again on Wednesday to open up a quick two-game homestand at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. That is followed by a Friday tilt against the Iowa Wild. The Admirals then travel on the Sunday to play against the Rockford IceHogs.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Friday night they have literally seen Frédérick Gaudreau go up to the Nashville Predators and return to the AHL. Gaudreau played in last night’s 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild at the Bridgestone Arena. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Butler-Smith-Moy, Zolnierczyk-Zengerle-Army, Richard-Pettersson-Gaudreau, Mingoia-Kirkland-Bass, Murphy-Granberg, Oligny-Dougherty, Allard-Carrier. Tonight’s scratches were: Tyler Kelleher (lower-body), Pierre-Cédric Labrie (personal reasons), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), and Yakov Trenin (surgery). Labrie traveled with the team to Grand Rapids but returned to Milwaukee and was on hand to be with his wife as they welcomed in their first child today.

What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Why can’t the Milwaukee Admirals seem to get over this hurdle that is the Grand Rapids Griffins? After signs of consistency and good form are you now worried the Admirals are heading right back for another up-down stretch?

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