The Milwaukee Admirals lost 6-2 against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday night.
The Admirals came out of the gates strong and took a 2-0 lead before allowing six unanswered goals to the Griffins. The win tonight for the Griffins meant a season sweep of all games played in Milwaukee. The result comes as the Rockford IceHogs earned a 5-3 comeback win tonight against the San Jose Barracuda to extend their advantage in fourth place of the Central Division.
“I honestly don’t know,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of why the Grand Rapids Griffins have the Admirals number. “We have tried to adjust. Some teams you just don’t match up very well against. And I don’t know because it has been over the years it’s not like it is just this team. Hopefully we will see them in the playoffs and we will figure it out.”
Scoring his twentieth goal of the season and giving the Admirals an early 1-0 lead, Frédérick Gaudreau got the Admirals on the board less than two minutes into the first period. From the left-wing, Jimmy Oligny delivered a strike to Gaudreau back-door and had a wide-open net to shoot on.
Brandon Bollig extended the Admirals’ lead to 2-0 midway through the second period. Tyler Moy found Bollig from behind the net as Bollig tapped it in past Tom McCollum for his tenth score of the season.
Robbie Russo cut into the Admirals’ lead shortly after the Bollig score. From an in-zone face-off, the puck ended up right to Russo who then fired a one-timer past Anders Lindbäck for his ninth score of the season.
Soon after, the Griffins tied the game at two apiece thanks to Eric Tangradi’s twenty-eighth goal of the season. On an attempt to clear the puck, Anders Lindbäck’s pass hit off Mark Zengerle and bounced right to Tangradi who then took the puck and did a wrap-around and deposited the puck into the back of the net with a backhander.
Less than a minute after, the Griffins took the lead. On a two-on-one attack, Eric Tangradi and Ben Street skated down the ice and ended with a pass from Tangradi to Street for the goal. In a span of forty-two seconds, the Griffins went from being down 2-1 to up 3-2.
“It’s the same story that we’ve had earlier in the year,” said Evason. “You think it is going to be corrected but we’ve shot ourselves again. The same type of situations that we’ve had. It’s frustrating because you talk about it and you talk about it and talk about it – and then it happens again and again.”
At the end of the second period, Brandon Bollig and Matt Puempel decided it was time to drop the gloves and scrapped. After a Bollig victory, the two were each handed five-minute fighting majors, with Bollig additionally being given a two-minute roughing penalty. The fight was the first for the Admirals in eleven games.
Just 1:03 into the third period, the Griffins’ power-play cashed in. Ben Street took a shot-pass and resulted in an Eric Tangradi redirect past Lindbäck. The score was Tangradi’s second of the game and gave the Griffins a 4-2 lead.
Dominic Turgeon later extended the Griffins’ lead to 5-2. Dylan McIlrath took a shot off the post and the puck was pinballed around, going off the skate of Jack Dougherty and past Lindbäck for the score.
For the second time in the game, an Admiral decided to fight. Jimmy Oligny and Dominik Shine squared up and scrapped and gave the crowd something to cheer about.
Late in the third period, the Griffins got a goal from Axel Holmström to make it six straight scores. Anders Lindbäck took a dump-in and stood up before firing the puck straight to Holmström. He then deposited the puck into the back of the net to give the Griffins a 6-2 lead. That would be the last score for either team as the Griffins prevailed 6-2.
The Milwaukee Admirals will now head to Chicago as the final playoff push continues. The Admirals are scheduled to face the Wolves on Tuesday night at the Allstate Arena before returning home for a showdown with the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night.
“We know what’s at stake,” said Evason of the playoff race. “We know where we’re at and we know who is playing, who is having success, and who is not. We have to be better off looking after ourselves, looking after our situation. If we don’t we then we’re probably in more trouble than anything we can control.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Friday night, the team signed forward Zeb Knutson to an amateur try-out (ATO) contract after recently completing his collegiate career with Minnesota State University (Mankato). Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Richard-Smith-Butler, Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Gaudreau, Trenin-Gaudet-McNeill, Bollig-Zengerle-Moy, Carrier-Ramage, Allard-Granberg, Oligny-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (upper-body), Justin Kirkland (upper-body), Joonas Lyytinen (undisclosed), Trevor Mingoia (undisclosed), and Zeb Knutson (healthy).
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? What is it about the Grand Rapids Griffins that seems to always cause this team fits? Do you think the two fights tonight are a preview of more to come in the home stretch?
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