Milwaukee Admirals 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 1
March 3, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Troy Grosenick’s 36 saves steered the Milwaukee Admirals to a 4-1 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
As the AHL’s 2016-17 goaltender of the year took care of matters on his end of the ice, his teammates built a 3-0 lead before Joe Hicketts finally broke the shutout bid with 12:58 remaining in the third period.
The Griffins, who completed a run of six home games in just 11 nights, have lost consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 13-17, when Milwaukee also dealt them defeat on the back end.
Grand Rapids (31-21-1-6) will enjoy a rare late-season week without a game before resuming action next Saturday with the team’s first visit to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in nine years. Game time versus the Penguins is 7:05 p.m.
Former Griffin Mark Zengerle opened the scoring for Milwaukee with 2:04 remaining in the opening period. Matej Machovsky went down in the butterfly to stop a shot by Brandon Bollig and momentarily had the puck beneath him, but Zengerle jammed his stick between Machovsky’s pads to knock it across the line, a deed that resulted in a grab and shove from Dominic Turgeon and a short-lived scrum behind the net involving several players from each team.
Meanwhile, the newly acquired Grosenick stopped all 14 shots he saw during the frame, breaking the Griffins’ streak of scoring at least one goal in each of their previous eight periods against the former San Jose Barracuda goalie that dated back to the 2017 Western Conference Finals.
The Admirals (28-24-4-1) padded their cushion with 32 seconds remaining in the middle period when Alexandre Carrier snapped a shot through traffic from the top of the left circle during a power play. The ill will between the two teams sparked a skirmish at the red line immediately following that goal along with another at the buzzer before the teams were dispatched to their locker rooms.
Matt Lorito received the only penalty from the latter altercation, and Milwaukee’s power play capitalized on its fresh ice to go ahead by three just 33 seconds into the third period. Frederic Allard’s blast from the point sailed wide left of the net and caromed hard off the end boards to Harry Zolnierczyk, who was waiting on the doorstep to sweep the puck inside the post.
Grand Rapids finally broke through Grosenick during a power play at the 7:02 mark. Grosenick initially made an incredible save on Evgeny Svechnikov by diving toward the right post, but Hicketts was waiting to slide the rebound beneath the netminder.
Trevor Smith extinguished any hope of a late Griffins comeback when he broke in alone on Machovsky and slammed his own rebound home with 2:59 remaining.
Machovsky sustained his first AHL loss, finishing with 26 saves.
Note: The throng of 10,834 marked the Griffins’ fourth sellout of the season and their seventh crowd of 10,000-plus in their last eight weekend home games.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Grosenick (W, 36 saves); 2. MIL Carrier (game-winning goal); 3. GR Hicketts (goal)