The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
The Admirals once again fell into an early hole against the Griffins. Unlike Wednesday things didn’t work out quite as well this time around. The Admirals fell behind 3-0 after the first period and couldn’t get a foothold. The Griffins have now scored four or more goals in four straight games in Milwaukee. They did so tonight in front of 9,444 fans which was an Admirals record attendance = at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
“We had some unfortunate plays early in the game,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “We turned the puck over early. We shot ourselves again. And, whenever you do that, it’s not going to be the right outcome. We have to do the right things early in hockey games in order to give ourselves an opportunity. We didn’t do it here tonight.”
Within the first seven minutes of the game, Cody Bass dropped his gloves for the fourth time this season and went at it with Dan Renouf. After the two of them scrapped, they took their five-minute fighting majors and we had our first penalties of the night.
After Dan Renouf was whistled for hooking 13:52 into the first period, the Griffins took the lead shortly after with a short-handed goal from Corey Elkins. Elkins took the puck and skated down the left-wing circle, firing a shot short-side past the blocker of Anders Lindbäck.
The Griffins would get their second goal of the night less than two minutes after their first score thanks to Eric Tangradi. Vili Saarijärvi took a point shot and was redirected right in front of the net by Tangradi for his fourteenth score of the year.
Shortly after the Griffins’ second goal, Jack Dougherty was called for hooking as the Griffins went on the power-play. Matthew Ford set a screen in front of Anders Lindbäck, paving the way for a shot from the right-wing circle from Joe Hicketts. Hicketts found the back of the net as the Griffins cashed in on the power-play and took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
“There is absolutely no reason why we were brain dead playing the game early,” said Evason. “The things that we were doing were very uncharacteristic of our group. Giving them opportunities. If you do that against a really good team it’s going to end up in your net.”
After Bobby Butler was whistled for hooking, Justin Kirkland got the Admirals on the board with a short-handed goal of his own. Kirkland and Mark Zengerle went on a 2-on-1 attack and Zengerle set up Kirkland perfectly for a one-timer from the right-wing circle. The goal was Kirkland’s first of the season as the Admirals trailed 3-1 halfway through the second period.
“Weight of the world off my shoulders,” smiled Justin Kirkland on netting his first goal of the 2017-18 season in the fortieth game of the season. “That was something always at the back of my mind. I haven’t been in a slump like that in my entire career. I just tried to put my head down and work.”
Less than a minute after Kirkland’s goal, Matthew Ford answered back with a goal of his own. Evgeny Svechnikov took a one-timer from the top of the right-wing circle and Ford redirected the puck as it found the back of the net.
Shortly after, Anthony Richard got the Admirals back within two goals. Jack Dougherty took a shot from the right-wing circle and after tumbling around in front of the net, the puck was scooped up by Richard and fired past Tom McCollum for Richard’s eleventh goal of the season.
With just 12.1 seconds left in the second period, Eric Tangradi found the back of the net for the second time in the game. Tangradi dangled around Trevor Mingoia and crossed up Anders Lindbäck as the Griffins regained a three-goal advantage.
Neither team found the back of the net in the final period, as the Griffins completed the 5-2 victory over the Admirals. Tom McCollum earned the win for the Griffins after stopping 29/31 shots, while Anders Linback stopped 24/29 shots for the Admirals.
The Milwaukee Admirals will look to shake off tonight’s performance as they travel to Iowa for a showdown with the Wild at the Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night, before returning home next Tuesday night against the Cleveland Monsters.
“We’re going to flush it down quick,” said Kirkland of tonight’s game with the road game in Iowa ahead. “Tomorrow we have to be ready from the start. That’s the only thing that we’re focusing on and we’re going to move forward.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals’ last game on Wednesday night, the only roster move in the organization was Jake Paterson and Matt O’Connor being flipped between the Quad City Mallards (ECHL) and the Milwaukee Admirals. Tonight’s line combinations were Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Zengerle-Mingoia, Trenin-Pettersson-Kirkland, Labrie-Bass-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, Allard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were Derek Army (healthy), Tyler Kelleher (lower-body), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), and Andrew O’Brien (healthy).
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? What were your impressions of Yakov Trenin in his first game back since surgery? How do you think this team will bounce back tomorrow night in Iowa?
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.