Admirals Sink Griffins With 4-1 Win|
Joe Hicketts nets lone goal for Grand Rapids...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 3rd, 2018
The Grand Rapids Griffins ended a long homestand with a 4-1 loss to the visiting Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals scored early and often, taking advantage of a tough night for the Griffins defense, and scoring on both of their powerplay opportunities. The Griffins lone goal came with the man advantage by Joe Hicketts (3). Rookie netminder Matej Machovsky made his second start for the Griffins turning aside 26 shots in the loss.
Milwaukee with a good chance early as the puck took a bad bounce right to an Admirals forward who went in alone on Machovsky. Machovsky showed the five-hole and the shooter bit, but the Griffins netminder closed it and pinched the puck between his pads as he slid to the far side of the net. Two-on-one with Turner Elson and Corey Elkins, but neither would shoot, and one too many passes led to no scoring chance. Matt Puempel up the middle with the puck and he rifled a shot off the crossbar. Elson working hard, generated a nice scoring chance on the doorstep. Matt Lorito in front of the net took a pass and tried to crank it in off one knee, but Grosenick made the stop. Play back the other way and Machovsky made the first save (five-hole), but didn't have it completely locked down. Former Griffin Mark Zengerle was left alone in front long enough to bang away on Machovsky's pads until the puck trickled in for a 1-0 lead. Roughing penalties to Filip Hronek and Bollig made it four-on-four for the last two minutes of the period. Shots on goal: GR 14 - Mil 11
The second period was not a good one for the home team as the Griffins could not generate much in the way of quality scoring chances. The puck seemed to be bouncing around a lot and the the play did not look smooth. Milwaukee doing a good job of being in the way and breaking up plays. Two-on-one for Milwaukee, but Machovsky made the save and then a scrum broke out as several players tried to crowd the crease to force a rebound or knock another puck loose. The Admirals enjoyed a late powerplay with Elson in the box for Slashing and were able to capitalize quickly to extend their lead to 2-0. With Zolnierczyk screening in front, Carrier wired a shot through that Machovsky never saw. After the goal, Carrier hacked McIlrath on the way back to the bench, touching off another big scrum between the benches. McIlrath was not able to get at Carrier as the official moved him out of the pile pretty quickly, but the two still ended up going to the box for two minutes. At the next whistle, Lorito put a shoulder into a Milwaukee player, and another big scrum broke out. Give little Filip Hronek credit, as he was right in the middle of things to protect his teammate against a much bigger opponent. Shots on goal: GR 6 - Mil 13.
Grand Rapids with a pair in the box to start the third period. Zolnierczyk in front of the net screening Machovsky. Allard took a shot that hit the end boards next to the net and came back out. Zolnierczyk reached behind him and tucked the rebound between Machovsky and the post to run the lead to 3-0. The Griffins got some life midway through the third when Joe Hicketts finally broke the goose egg with a powerplay goal. Evgeny Svechnikov had a great chance to the side of the net that Grosenick just got a piece of, but Hicketts right on the doorstep spun and banked the puck off a stick and into the net. Milwaukee with a dangerous looking breakaway, but fired the puck right over the net. Another breakaway for the Admirals a few seconds later and Smith fired a shot on Machovsky and then buried his own rebound to make it 4-1. Shots on goal: GR 17 - Mil 6. For the game: GR 37 - Mil 30.
#26 Tangradi - #10 Street - #77 Svechnikov
#28 Lorito - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
#55 Ford - #47 Elkins - #73 Puempel
#15 Elson - #25 Holmstrom - #65 Shine
#5 Russo - #13 Hronek
#20 Renouf- #52 McIlrath
#18 Lashoff - #2 Hicketts
Starter: #34 Machovsky
Backup: #30 McCollum
Tangradi - Street - Puempel
Lorito - Hronek
Hicketts/Ford - Holmstrom- Svechnikov
Russo - Ford/Hicketts
Turgeon - Campbell
Lashoff - McIlrath
Elson - Elkins
Renouf - Hicketts
The Griffins played down to the level of their opponent for most of this game. For large parts of this contest the Griffins appeared slow and tired and did not look comfortable. They spent a lo of time chasing the puck and the defensive breakdowns were epic. At one point Milwaukee had three straight breakways from the blueline in on Machovsky on the same shift. While he will have to learn some new tricks in the AHL instead of relying on his quick reflexes to close off between his pads, most of the goals tonight he had no chance on. After such a slow start, the Griffins have been in high performance mode, posting a 21-6-3 record in their last 30 games, two of those losses coming this weekend.