Griffins Raise Banner - Drop Home Opener 3-2
Nyquist and Hoggan score in loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
October 18, 2013
The Milwaukee Admirals spoiled the Griffins championship celebration, scoring a pair of goals 47 seconds apart late in the second to best Grand Rapids 3-2. GR scored early and led 2-1 after the first but could not get anything else past Admirals netminder Marek Mazanec who notched his first win of the season. Petr mrazek made 17 stops on 2 shots, but two of the goals he allowed were powerplay tallies. Gustav Nyquist and captain Jeff Hoggan each notched their third of the campaign. Darren Helm, on a conditioning stint from the parent Red Wings, suited up and played a regular shift for the Griffins.
After a well done and emotional opening ceremony featuring the Calder Cup, player introductions, and the championship banner being raised, the 2013-14 home opener kicked-off. The Griffins wasted no time in getting on the board with Nyquist chipping in a shot from right in front. Grant and Liambas came to blows in front of the Milwaukee bench before going down in a heap. Helm stole the puck and turned on the jets for a shorthanded breakaway, but didn't get a good shot off. The Admirals cashed in on their first powerplay chance with Nestrasil in the box, as Bitetto knotted the score at one. GR retuned the favor a few minutes later when Hoggan, back door, converted Pulkkinen's cross ice feed. Shots on Goal: GR 6 - Mil 7.
Mrazek came up huge in the second when he made several stellar, acrobatic saves with the Griffins net under siege on the powerplay. Helm picked off a pass and went in alone on another shorthanded breakaway, but fired the puck over the net. Milwaukee tied the score at two late in the period when Helm, the lone Griffin in front of the net could not stop Sissons from sniping the puck past Mrazek. Sproul took down a Milwaukee player on a breakaway, setting up another Milwaukee powerplay. Bitetto gave the Admirals their first lead of the game just 17 seconds into the man-advantage, his second of the game. Shots on Goal: GR 12 - Mil 8.
Pulkkinen rifled a long shot that beat Mazanec, rolled along the crossbar, but did not enter the net. Coach Blashill mixed up the lines in later stages of the third in an attempt to generate some offense. Mrazek to the bench with 1:17 remaining for the extra skater. Piskula dumped the puck over the glass and was assessed a delay of game penalty, setting up a 6-on-4 powerplay for Grand Rapids. The Griffins had a couple of good chances, with the last one hitting the post and going just wide in the dying seconds. Milwaukee was able to hang on for a 3-2 win. Shots on Goal: GR 8 - Mil 5. For the Game: GR 26 - Mil 20.
#10 Hoggan - #18 Emmerton - #6 Pulkkinen
#13 Nyquist - #12 Jarnkrok - #28 Jurco
#19 Sheahan - #9 Helm - #29 Ferraro
#23 Grant - #11 Nestrasil - #15 Callahan
Hoggan - Jarnkrok - Emmerton
Nyquist - Sheahan - Jurco
Pulkkinen - Emmerton - Ferraro
#3 Marchenko - #44 Evans
#4 Paetsch - #16 Ouellet
$5 Almquist - #7 Sproul
Starter: #34 Mrazek
Backup: #38 McCollum
Nyquist - Jarnkrok - Jurco
Paetsch - Almquist
Sheahan - Nestrasil - Ferraro
Almquist - Sproul
Jarnkrok - Sheahan/Emmerton
Evans - Marchenko
Emmerton - Ferraro
Paetsch - Ouellet
Helm - Callahan
Marchenko looked very steady. He wasn't flashy, but played well aside from some bad outlet passes in the first that were picked off. He seemed to get around just fine, good positioning and didn't mind the physical play.
Sproul was very noticeable in the offensive zone. He gets his powerful shot off with a deceptively quick release, and it is always on net. He also led the rush several times and can get the puck into the offensive zone.
Calle Jarnkrok looked much better away from the puck than he did in his last AHL stint. He also looked much more involved in the play, and din't shy away from the scrums.
I felt kind of bad for Callahan as he was relegated to the fourth line for most of the night, and I thought his strong play the second half of last season would have earned him a few more shifts with some folks that can score. He did get some prime time on the penalty kill with Darren Helm.
Speaking of Helm, he definitely had his wheels under him, but not his timing or shot. He took a couple of hits, but didn't look any the worse for wear.
Without McIntyre in the lineup, the team looked much less physical, and did not establish much of a hitting game. Special teams won this game for Milwaukee as they tallied two powerplay markers to the Griffins one.