Milwaukee Admirals 4 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 SO
Dec. 15, 2018
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Down two goals and severely undermanned in the third period, the Grand Rapids Griffins fought back for an exhilarating 5-4 shootout victory over the Central Division-leading Milwaukee Admirals on Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
With the Griffins having lost Matt Puempel to ejection and Turner Elson to injury midway through the second period, Filip Zadina hobbled off the ice during the first shift of the third and did not return, further depleting a group of forwards that was already missing the injured Carter Camper for a third straight game.
Undaunted, Grand Rapids forced overtime on goals by Dylan Sadowy 1:01 into the third and Joe Hicketts with 1:17 remaining, and Dominic Turgeon finished off the three-round shootout by scoring the only goal of the skills competition, enabling the third-place Griffins (15-9-2-2) to break a four-game winless skid and move within three points of the Admirals (16-9-4-1).
There will be no time to rest for the weary Griffins, however, as they’ll play their third game in less than 48 hours on Sunday when they visit the Rockford IceHogs at 6 p.m. EST.
The Admirals shocked the home crowd by scoring on their first two shots before the game was two-and-a-half minutes old. Milwaukee captain Jarred Tinordi struck exactly 60 seconds into the game, picking up the puck at center ice with speed and skating wide around two defenders in the right circle before cutting toward the net and depositing the puck inside Harri Sateri’s far post.
Emil Pettersson added to the lead at the 2:27 mark, as he took a pass from Tanner Jeannot on a 2-on-1 and unleashed a shot from atop the left circle that managed to squeeze through Sateri’s pads and trickle across the goal line.
As quick as Milwaukee’s two tallies were, the Griffins trumped them later in the frame by knotting the score on a pair of power play goals within a span of 1:20 against their former teammate, Tom McCollum. Given time and space atop the left circle, rookie defenseman Trevor Hamilton snapped home a shot at 13:25 for his first career AHL goal and point in his seventh appearance of the campaign. Zadina followed up by blasting a slap shot past McCollum’s glove from above the right circle at 14:45, marking just the second time this season that Grand Rapids has scored multiple power play goals.
Axel Holmstrom registered the primary assist on both goals and later added a third on Hicketts’ game-tying marker, while Zadina matched that two-point stanza with the second assist on Hamilton’s goal.
Milwaukee lit the lamp early in the second period to go ahead 3-2, with Pettersson redirecting Jeannot’s centering pass on the doorstep just 1:51 after intermission for his second goal of the night.
A match penalty to Puempel for a presumed check to the head of Alexandre Carrier and a subsequent interference call against Colin Campbell gave the Admirals a two-man advantage for a full two minutes, and they capitalized with one second left in Campbell’s penalty. Anthony Richard found the far corner of the net from the bottom of the right circle at 11:04 to restore Milwaukee’s two-goal cushion.
That extended penalty kill proved costly in more ways than one for the Griffins, who lost Elson for the night and possibly longer after he went down to block a shot.
Sadowy’s first goal of the year pulled the Griffins back to within one just 61 seconds into the third period. Matthew Ford won a draw in the left circle back to Sadowy, whose quick release seemed to surprise McCollum.
Coach Ben Simon called his team’s timeout and pulled Sateri for an extra attacker with 2:02 remaining, and the gambit paid off with 1:17 left when Hicketts’ shot from the point hit traffic and snuck past McCollum, forcing overtime and capping off a period in which the Griffins held a commanding 10-2 advantage in shots.
In the shootout, Sateri made glove saves on Richard and Eeli Tolvanen to bookend a kick save on Justin Kirkland, while Holmstrom and Chris Terry misfired before Turgeon sent the fans home happy. The Griffins, now 10-2-1-2 at Van Andel Arena, have points in their last eight games within friendly confines (6-0-1-1).
Sateri made 12 saves in the win while McCollum, who ranks as the Griffins’ all-time goaltending leader in wins, games played and several other categories, finished with 22 stops but was thwarted in his bid to notch a second win in five days over Grand Rapids. He turned aside 26 of 28 in the Admirals’ 5-2 victory in Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Notes: With the absences of Puempel, Elson and Zadina shortening their bench during the third period, the Griffins deployed defenseman Libor Sulak at forward on a line with Terry and Derek Hulak…In a reversal of their special teams performance on Friday against Rockford, the Griffins went 2-for-4 on the power play and held Milwaukee to 1-for-3.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Pettersson (two goals); 2. GR Zadina (goal, assist); 3. GR Hicketts (game-tying goal)
Photo by Sam Iannamico/Griffins