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Not Two Pretty

May 20, 2024
Written By: Dylan Rider
1st 2nd 3rd Final
Grand Rapids Griffins 0 0 2 2
Milwaukee Admirals 2 1 2 5

Calder Cup Playoffs - Central Division Finals - Game 2 - Best-of-Five Series Tied, 1-1

GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2 at Milwaukee Admirals 5

MILWAUKEE – Behind 27 saves by a well-rested Yaroslav Askarov and the game’s first four tallies, the Milwaukee Admirals stymied the Grand Rapids Griffins by a 5-2 count on Monday in Game 2 of the Central Division Finals at Panther Arena, tying the best-of-five series at one game apiece.

The Griffins will host the next two games at Van Andel Arena this week, with Game 3 on Wednesday and Game 4 on Friday. Tickets for both games can be purchased through

May 20, 2024  ·  2 Minutes

5-20-24 | Central Division Finals Game 2 Highlights | Milwaukee Admirals

Egor Afanasyev opened the scoring for the Admirals early in the first period, as his fading wrister from above the left circle slipped through two pairs of legs and Sebastian Cossa at 4:39. Milwaukee expanded its lead later in the period with a power-play tally, courtesy of Fedor Svechkov’s shot from the left faceoff dot that found space beneath Cossa’s right pad with 7:15 remaining. 

After more than a full period of scoreless play, Zach L’Heureux raced into the Griffins’ zone to collect the puck and score five-hole from the left circle at 15:21 of the second stanza, giving him seven goals in the last five playoff games.

Marc Del Gaizo made it 4-0 on a floater from the left point through a screen with 16:33 remaining in the contest. 

Grand Rapids’ offense found a burst and scored twice in a 1:16 span late in the game to make things interesting. Carter Mazur denied Askarov a shutout when he buried a power-play goal from the slot off an Austin Czarnik feed at 15:34, before Dominik Shine one-timed a dish from Taro Hirose from the bottom of the left circle with 3:10 remaining after Cossa had gone to the bench for an extra attacker.

Former Griffin Jasper Weatherby snuffed out any hope of a miraculous Grand Rapids comeback with an empty-netter at 19:01.

This series, so far, is reminiscent of the Griffins’ clash with Rockford in the division semifinals, in which Grand Rapids took Game 1 on the road before sustaining a convincing 5-1 defeat in Game 2 at Van Andel Arena. The Griffins rebounded with victories against the IceHogs in Games 3 and 4 to claim the series.

May 20, 2024  ·  2 Minutes

5 - 20 -24 | Post Game Interviews | Milwaukee Admirals

Nate Danielson, who was selected ninth overall by Detroit in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, made his professional debut, centering Hirose and Elmer Soderblom on the Griffins’ third line. He also saw some power-play time and finished with a minus-one rating.
- The split in Milwaukee ensures that there will not be a sweep for the first time in four playoff meetings between the Griffins and Admirals. 
- The Griffins had won three straight games and each of their previous three road contests in these playoffs. The loss also broke their seven-game postseason winning streak against the Admirals that had stretched back to 2016 and included four straight wins in Milwaukee and two in a row at Panther Arena.

Box Score
Grand Rapids 0 0 2 - 2
Milwaukee 2 1 2 - 5

1st Period-1, Milwaukee, Afanasyev 1 (Parssinen, Gravel), 4:39. 2, Milwaukee, Svechkov 3 (Wiesblatt, Kemell), 12:45 (PP). Penalties-Didier Gr (interference), 0:54; Simek Gr (tripping), 12:16; Czarnik Gr (slashing), 12:45; Weatherby Mil (tripping), 18:40.

2nd Period-3, Milwaukee, L’Heureux 7 (Weatherby), 15:21 (SH). Penalties-McKeown Mil (tripping), 14:19; L’Heureux Mil (unsportsmanlike conduct), 15:21; Didier Gr (roughing), 18:31; Shine Gr (cross-checking), 19:39; Wiesblatt Mil (diving/embellishment), 19:39.

3rd Period-4, Milwaukee, M. Del Gaizo 3 (O’Reilly, Kemell), 3:27. 5, Grand Rapids, Mazur 3 (Czarnik, Rafferty), 15:34 (PP). 6, Grand Rapids, Shine 2 (Hirose, Aston-Reese), 16:50. 7, Milwaukee, Weatherby 1 (L’Heureux), 19:01 (EN). Penalties-Wiesblatt Mil (high-sticking), 11:14; Kasper Gr (misconduct), 13:30; McKeown Mil (hooking), 13:40.

Shots on Goal-Grand Rapids 6-12-11-29. Milwaukee 11-8-7-26.
Power Play Opportunities-Grand Rapids 1 / 5; Milwaukee 1 / 4.
Goalies-Grand Rapids,

Three Stars
1. MIL Askarov (W, 27 saves); 2. MIL Afanasyev (goal); 3. MIL Gravel (assist)

Record / Next Game
Grand Rapids: 4-2 / Central Division Finals Game 3 / Wed., May 22 vs. Milwaukee 7 p.m. 
Milwaukee: 4-3 / Central Division Finals Game 3 / Wed., May 22 at Grand Rapids 6 p.m. CDT

Photo by Milwaukee Admirals