Griffins: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Great news, the last time the Milwaukee Admirals played against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Van Andel Arena they had double the amount of shots on goal as they had last night! Heck, they also beat the Griffins in that game 4-3. It hasn’t been great for the Admirals historically against the Griffins but this is an Admirals team that needs to forget the past and purely focus on the here and now. The Admirals need to get themselves out of this hole in the Central Division standings and the only way to achieve that is one game at a time.

The Griffins are currently in third place of the Central Division with a record of 31-20-1-6 (69 points, 0.595 points percentage). They lost 4-2 on home ice last night against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Griffins have gone 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games and hold a 5-1-1-0 record against the Admirals in 2017-18.

Jared Coreau is no longer a goaltending option for the Griffins. The Detroit Red Wings decided to trade away Petr Mrázek to the Philadelphia Flyers for a conditional fourth round draft pick in the 2018 NHL Draft and a conditional third round draft pick in 2019. That meant seeing Coreau get recalled shortly after he had earned the honors for CCM/AHL Player of the Week in mid-February.

What the Griffins now have is, well, more of the same in Tom McCollum. This is the 28-year old’s ninth professional playing season. He has played all but one of them with the Griffins. That is 247 career games with the Griffins and he has 113 career wins with the organization. His 2017-18 campaign should now be far more focused on him with the Coreau recall. It hasn’t been that great so far. He has made 23 appearances this season and gone 10-10-1-2 with a 3.07 goals against average and 0.902 save percentage. He has gone 2-0-1-0 against the Admirals this season with a 1.64 goals against average and 0.946 save percentage.

If not the Griffins legend? It could be time to see if Matej Machovsky can sink or swim in AHL waters. The 24-year old made his AHL debut following the Red Wings recall of Coreau and has quickly shown well. His AHL debut came as a relief appearance of McCollum back on 2/21/18 against the Chicago Wolves where he stopped 14/15 shots on goal. Machovsky made his first career AHL start on 2/25/18 against the Iowa Wild and earned a shootout win stopping 26/28 and 3/3 in the shootout. In the ECHL this season with the Toledo Walleye he had a record of 11=9-0-1 in 21 appearances with a 2.02 goals against average, 0.928 save percentage, and 2 shutouts.

So, goaltending can provide the slightest of question marks in tonight’s game. First the Admirals really need to find a way to shutdown Matt Puempel who has hurt them all season long. Puempel is the joint leading scorer of the Griffins but has achieved his 47 point mark in 13 games less work than Eric Tangradi. Puempel has managed to produce 9 points (4 goals, 5 assists) in 6 games against the Admirals this season.

What are your expectations for tonight’s game? Can the Milwaukee Admirals take a step forward with the new crew all out on the ice? How are you expecting Troy Grosenick to play in his Admirals debut and is it perhaps better that he is making his debut on the road without the added stress of doing that on home ice?

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