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Wilson Keys Comeback But Rally Falls Short 5-4
Veteran Energizes team with two goals and physical play...
By Jason Kasiorek

The Griffins scored the first goal of the game and then things fell apart. Milwaukee tacked on five first period goals, chasing starter Daniel Larsson, and leaving the Griffins in disarray. Just when things looked their darkest, veteran Landon Wilson stepped up and turned the things around for the home time, notching two goals to put Grand Rapids back in the game, and bringing some life to the lineup with his intensity and physical game. The rally fell short though as the Griffins fell 5-4, losing their first game in regulation.

The Admirals started out in the hole, taking a penalty less than a minute in. On the ensuing powerplay, Wilson was jamming away at the puck on the doorstep setting off a scrum that saw him penalized. Tom Galvin took advantage of the extra ice to rip a bullet over MacIntyre's shoulder, stick side for his first of the season. Thirteen seconds later Dietrich let a shot go from the point that pinballed its way in past Larsson to knot the score at one. The Ads took the lead a minute later when Jessiman made a nice pass from behind the net to Thuresson for a one-timer. Grand Rapids tried to turn up the pace by starting their hitting game, with both sides throwing some big hits. Ritola tied things up at the half way point of the period when his bad angle shot went over MacIntyre and into the net for his fourth of the season. Grand Rapids was guilty of standing around in their own end on the third Milwaukee goal allowing the ads to get several free shots on Larsson before one hit him, popped up, and fell behind him to dribble in. A fourth Admirals goal spelled the end for Larsson, and Howard came on at the 16:04. Grand Rapids trying to keep it together enough to get out of the period and regroup, but another defensive breakdown and O'Reilly scores to make it 5-2 Milwaukee. Shots on Goal: GR 13 - Mil 9.

The Ads started the second with more of the same. Grand Rapids is back on their heels and is losing all of the little battles. Milwaukee scores again, but the goal is waved off because of goaltender interference. A two many men penalty on the resulting powerplay leave GR with a 5-on-3 advantage. This is where Wilson picked the team up and carried them on his back. Leino made a nice cross ice feed to Wilson backdoor and he didn't miss slamming it home for his fourth of the year. Twenty seconds later, GR 5-on-4 Wilson took a pass from Helm and converted on the rush to pull the Griffins to within one. The Griffins ran into penalty trouble late in the period but Helm, Stafford and Galvin killed off a 5-on-3 to escape the period only down by one. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Syr 11.

As the third period went on, Grand Rapids really started to play, showing some passion missing from earlier in the game. Coach Fraser shuffled his lines as captain Darren Haydar was benched for most of third along with Aaron Downey. The Griffins dominated the period, but were unable to get the equalizer. Jimmy to the bench for the extra attacker with 52.9 left on the clock. Kindl comes out of the box three seconds later leading to a 6-on-4, but after some great pressure the puck is played with a high stick, sending the face-off to the Griffins end and necessitating Howard back in the net as time ran out. For the Game: GR 38 - Mil 25.

Leino - Helm - Haydar/Wilson
Mursak - Emmerton - Wilson
Ritola - Abdelkader - Tardif/Downey/Mursak
Lemieux - Oulahen - Downey/Tardif

Ericsson - Galvin
Kindl - Pyett
Stafford - Kolosov

Starter: Larsson
Backup: Howard


Leino - Helm -Abdelkader/Wilson
Haydar/Galvin - Ericsson

Mursak - Emmerton - Wilson
Kindl - Stafford

Ritola - Abdelkader - Mursak

Ritola - Emmerton
Ericsson - Galvin

Leino - Helm
Kindl - Stafford

Oulahen - Gagnon


I can't say enough about the game that Wilson had tonight. He has played well all season, but tonight he stepped it up a notch. Watching him pump up the other players on the bench and between plays on the ice it was very obvious the respect afforded to him in the room. It is easy to see why this guy spent so many years in the NHL.

Larsson got hung out to dry, and deserved better than he got, but Jimmy really came up big in relief.

Tom Galvin had a very strong night for GR despite the -2 on the scoresheet. he moved the puck as well as I have ever seen him, and was very determined in his own end. Nice to see him get a goal to reward his hard work.

Logan Pyett's defensive game can be summed up in one word - Brutal! I can't believe how many times he left the puck in front of the net and skated away. He needs to tighten it up if he is to remain in the lineup.

Leino had a good night racking up three assists, and was one of the few consistent offensive threats this game. His skill with the puck is NHL calibre. At times he seemed to have the puck on a string and was daring someone to take it away from him.

If Jakub Kindl is going to rmain on the point on the powerplay, he has got to learn to shoot the puck. He passed up several opportunities and killed the possession passing up high percentage shots, and at one point tripped up his partner Stafford by switching sides four or five times in a row eventually coughing up the puck.

Official Game Sheet