Milwaukee Admirals 6 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2
Feb. 5, 2011
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two-goal efforts by Linus Klasen and Gabriel Bourque led the Milwaukee Admirals to a 6-2 triumph over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday before a near-capacity crowd of 10,423 at Van Andel Arena.
The Griffins (22-23-1-5), who fell six points behind third-place Lake Erie in their quest for a guaranteed berth in the Calder Cup playoffs, will begin a three-game road swing on Wednesday with an 8 p.m. EST tilt against the Chicago Wolves at Allstate Arena.
Co-leaders of the West Division and owners of the top winning percentage in the Western Conference, the Admirals (28-13-2-6) struck twice early in the opening period. During a power play just 1:39 in, Jonathan Blum launched a blast from the left point that Mark Santorelli redirected past Jordan Pearce from the slot. Klasen then made it 2-0 with his 21st goal of the campaign at 6:35, following up a great Milwaukee cycle in the left corner by converting Blake Geoffrion’s centering pass.
Klasen’s second goal of the night put the Admirals up by three at the 5:58 mark of the second period, as he sent a wrist shot past Pearce’s stick from above the left circle.
Two minutes later, Tomas Tatar nearly scored after taking a pass from Francis Pare during a 2-on-1 and putting a great move on goalie Jeremy Smith, but his try clanged harmlessly off the right post. However, Grand Rapids’ persistence paid off at 9:16, as Brent Raedeke banged the puck home through a scrum to the right of the net, cutting the Griffins’ deficit to 3-1.
The Admirals, though, would take a 5-1 lead to the second intermission thanks to a pair of goals by Bourque, who connected on a backhand from the doorstep during a 4-on-4 at 11:50 before tallying from low in the left circle at 18:29.
Thomas McCollum replaced Pearce to begin the third period, marking his first appearance between the Griffins’ pipes since Dec. 17, and he was welcomed by a Geoffrion deflection that gave Milwaukee a five-goal cushion at 6:16.
Tatar rounded out the scoring for Grand Rapids during a 5-on-3 power play with 3:59 remaining, potting an Ilari Filppula pass out of the right corner from just outside the paint.
Pearce sustained the loss with 25 saves on 30 shots while McCollum stopped five of six in relief. Smith made 25 saves for the win.
Notes: The Griffins’ record has been 0.500 or just one game to either side of breakeven for a remarkable 34 consecutive games…The crowd was the fourth largest of the season at Van Andel Arena, just 411 shy of a sellout…The AHL 75th anniversary jerseys worn by the Griffins were auctioned to the public after the game to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Klasen (two goals, assist); 2. MIL Geoffrion (goal, two assists); 3. MIL Bourque (two goals)