04/10/2011 5:50 PM
GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1 at Milwaukee Admirals 4
April 10, 2011
MILWAUKEE – In a Sunday night finale that saw the rare occurrence of two penalty shots, the Milwaukee Admirals handed the Grand Rapids Griffins a 4-1 loss at the Bradley Center.
Grand Rapids finishes the season with a 36-34-2-8 record and a sixth place finish in the North Division. Milwaukee's win gives them 102 points (44-22-6-8), entering the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference.
The Griffins fell into some penalty trouble early in the first, and the Admirals were able to capitalize at 6:23, with three seconds remaining on their five-on-three advantage. After some strong puck movement, it was ultimately Ryan Thang who lit the lamp for his 14th goal on the season, with the primary assist coming to former Griffin Chris Mueller.
Ilari Filppula nearly tied the game when he broke in alone on Milwaukee's Atte Engren before being tripped up by Grant Lewis. Filppula was awarded a penalty shot, but was the victim of some bad luck as the puck skipped off his stick. It was the first Griffins penalty shot since Francis Pare was awarded one on Dec. 9, 2009. The Griffins had faced 10 penalty shots in that span, the most recent coming March 23 against Toronto.
Penalties continued to hurt the Griffins through the end of the first period. On their fourth man advantage of the first period, Cory Conacher snapped a shot from the slot off the post and in to give the Admirals a 2-0 lead at 16:39.
Grand Rapids cut the lead in half 2:42 into the second frame. Logan Pyett blasted a shot on net that Engren couldn't control, leaving the opportunity for Chris Minard to bang in his 18th goal of the season. They pressured heavily in the second period, outshooting the Admirals 18-5.
A second penalty shot was awarded in the final period, this time to the Admiral's Ryan Flynn, who had been hooked by Jamie Johnson. Jordan Pearce was able to get a pad on Flynn's shot to keep the game 2-1.
Conacher struck again at 5:41 of the third period, giving the Admirals three powerplay goals in the game. Conacher received a quick cross-crease pass from Taylor Beck and tapped the puck into an open net to restore the Admiral's two-goal lead.
Brett Palin found his mark on an 180-foot, empty net shot at 19:53 to finalize the 4-1 Admiral victory. Tomas Tatar had a great chance to bring the Griffins within one before that, but Engren made one of his 36 saves on the night in the win. For the Griffins, Pearce steered aside 28 of 31 shots.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Conacher (goal); 2. MIL Engren (W, 36 saves); 3. MIL Thang (goal)