12/09/2011 9:24 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3 at Milwaukee Admirals 4 SO
Dec. 9, 2011
MILWAUKEE – The Grand Rapids Griffins earned a deserved point on the road against the Milwaukee Admirals despite falling 4-3 in a shootout at the Bradley Center on Friday night.
Former Griffin Chris Mueller scored the winning goal in the final round of the shootout to complete Milwaukee’s comeback. Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist led the charge for the Griffins, each posting a goal and an assist.
It did not take long for the physical play between the Griffins and Admirals to boil over. Greg Amadio and Scott Ford exchanged fisticuffs only two minutes into the game; however, the early fireworks did not initially translate to the scoreboard. Tatar clanged a chance off the crossbar and Joey MacDonald made an impressive kick save late in the period to send the teams to the dressing rooms scoreless.
The Griffins broke the deadlock at 4:33 of the second stanza. Nyquist played a give-and-go with Tatar and tapped home the return pass for his eighth goal of the year. Shortly thereafter, Brendan Smith doubled the lead at 6:23 with his third goal of the season when he swooped in to convert a wrap-around chance.
The Admirals pulled a goal back just before the second intermission. After a goal-mouth scramble, Mueller found Ryan Thang, who found the back of the net through a crowd at 16:24 for his eighth of the campaign.
Milwaukee then drew level at 8:40 of the final frame on Scott Valentine’s first professional goal. The rookie defenseman was able to catch a bouncing puck that evaded two Griffins before roofing a shot past MacDonald.
Tatar gave Grand Rapids a brief 3-2 lead at 9:58. Set up through another neat passing move between himself and Nyquist, Tatar lifted a nifty backhand over Admirals netminder Jeremy Smith for his sixth goal this season.
A dubious icing call led to Milwaukee tying the game a third time. The puck came to Teemu Laakso from the faceoff in the Griffins’ zone and the Admirals defenseman ripped a shot from the point that snuck past a screened MacDonald for his first tally of the year.
The Griffins took a lead in the shootout through Louis-Marc Aubry but were unable to put any more shots past Smith as Michael Latta and Mueller scored for Milwaukee.
In his first game back after sustaining a concussion against the Charlotte Checkers on Nov. 5, MacDonald made 29 saves and stopped three of five skaters in the shootout. Smith denied 25 of 28 shots for the Admirals.
Grand Rapids continues its weekend road trip tomorrow night in Rockford where the Griffins will take on the IceHogs at 8:05 p.m. EST. The Griffins’ road trip finishes up in Rosemont on Sunday at 4 p.m. EST against the Chicago Wolves.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Valentine (goal); 2. GR Tatar (goal and assist); 3. MIL Thang (goal)
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