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ADMIRALS SINK GRIFFINS 4-1

MILWAUKEE – The Grand Rapids Griffins fell 4-1 to the Milwaukee Admirals on Tuesday night at the Bradley Center. The loss means the Griffins must go no worse than 2-0-1 during their remaining three games to have a chance of qualifying for the postseason. The Griffins trail the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks (three games remaining) and the Houston Aeros (two games remaining) by five points. The Griffins hold the advantage over both Cincinnati and Houston should the teams finish tied in the standings.

Milwaukee (46-22-4-5) jumped out to an early lead when Ryan Suter’s power play wrister from the high slot caromed off the crossbar and into the goal with four minutes remaining in the first period. Shortly after the Griffins narrowly missed a shorthanded opportunity, the Admirals marched down the ice. The puck wound up on Suter’s stick a few feet inside the blue line in the high slot. The rookie defenseman uncorked a hard wrist shot that found its mark despite heavy traffic in front of the Griffins net.

Tony Hrkac set up Paul Brown to stake the Admirals to a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the second period. Hrkac pounced on a loose puck along the boards in the Griffins zone. The veteran fed a pass across the slot allowing Brown an opportunity to tap it in.

Once again, Milwaukee answered a Griffins shorthanded opportunity with a goal at the other end. Jordin Tootoo capitalized on a turnover in the Griffins zone and threaded a pass through several players before landing on Jerred Smithson’s stick in front of a half-empty net 12:20 into the middle frame.

The Griffins (40-33-2-2) battled and controlled play, outshooting the defending Calder Cup champions 25-13 over the second and third periods. Their work was rewarded when Brent Kelly banged in his second goal as a Griffin at 13:35 of the second period.

Despite continuing to dictate play in the third period, the Griffins could not narrow the margin. Brian Finley turned aside 32 shots while Drew MacIntyre stopped 17 shots.

Scottie Upshall scored into an empty net with 21 seconds remaining for the game’s final margin.

The Griffins return to Van Andel Arena to host the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Griffins and Ducks face each other in the regular season finale on Sunday in the Queen City.


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