Message Board
Contact Us
Training Camp
Howard Roughed Up in Return to Grand Rapids
Admirals score early and often to hand Griffins 5-4 loss...
By Jason Kasiorek
February 4th, 2017

Former AHL and NHL all-star netminder Jimmy Howard suited up for the Grand Rapids Griffins for the first time since 2009, when he graduated full time to the NHL. Unfortunately his first injury rehab start did not go according to plan as the Milwaukee Admirals victimized him for five goals and defeated the Griffins 5-4 at Van Andel Arena. The home team's offense got tallies from Kyle Criscuolo (12), Brian Lashoff (3), Colin Campbell (5) and a powerplay marker from Eric Tangradi (5). Howard made 24 saves and suffered his first AHL loss in nine years.

Milwaukee came out of the gate with a lot of jump, establishing a quick pace to game early and ramping it up from there. Fiala caught a lucky break five minutes into the period when he tried to center from behind the net and the puck hit Howard's stick, popped-up, and rolled down his back into the net for a 1-0 lead. A few minutes later Aberg was the recipient of some puck luck from the hockey gods when his pass hit Paetsch and deflected just inside the post to run the lead to 2-0. Grand Rapids finally got on the board a minute later, with Svechnikov in front, Criscuolo snuck into the circle and chipped a shot in over Saros for his twelfth of the campaign. Grand Rapids had a 3-on-1 chance and Bertuzzi had a brilliant chance. Steal by Campbell on the forecheck across to Hicketts, but he couldn't get a shot off. Renouf played the body and broke up a dangerous looking rush by the Admirals. Steal by Tomas Nosek and a good shorthanded chance by Mitch Callahan. Gaudreau just beat the buzzer to give the Admirals back their two goal cushion, banging a rebound under Howard with 2 seconds left. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Mil 9.

Tyler Bertuzzi tried to tap the puck out of Saros' glove and got knocked on his butt by O'Brien. Matt Lorito threaded a pass to Nosek all alone in the slot, but he couldn't get it in the net. Big drive up the slot by Tangradi, but it hit Saros and stayed out. Lashoff doing battle with Army in front of Howard trying to keep the crease clear, very physical. Nice positioning by Renouf to take away a breakaway stretch pass that would have resulted in a great scoring chance by Milwaukee. Tic-tac-toe passing play and Hicketts in the slot with a blast that Saros stopped. Big save by Howard on a 2-on-1, the defenseman didn't take away the pass, and Howard had to side to side to stop the shooter. Lorito with patience held onto the puck for an extra second before hitting Lashoff sneaking in back door for a beauty of a goal. Shots on goal: GR 11- Mil 9

Milwaukee scored again early in third, Howard was down and Fiala went around the net for the wraparound and buried it. Campbell made it 4-3 when he followed up the rebound of a Bertuzzi shot and knocked it behind Saros. Tangradi and O'Brien pushing and shoving and it escalated enough for both of them to be sent off for roughing. Aberg took advantage of the extra space to notch his second of the game, skating by the net and floating a bad angle shot in over Howard's shoulder to restore the two goal lead. Murphy went off for tripping setting up a Griffins 4-on-3 powerplay. Frk in the circle back to Street at the point for a great chance. Tangradi went to the box to cut the Griffins powerplay short, but they killed it off and were rewarded with another shortly after. Tangradi established the final margin, tipping in a Ben Street powerplay point shot from right in front. Grand Rapids was unable to get the eqaulizer and the game ended with a 5-4 Griffins loss. Shots on goal: GR 8 - Mil 11. For the Game: GR 26 - Mil 29.

Lorito- Nosek - Frk
Tangradi - Street - Callahan
Bertuzzi - Criscuolo - Svechnikov
Ford - Turgeon - Campbell

Renouf - Russo
Paetsch - Hicketts
Lashoff - Allen

Starter: #33 Jimmy Howard
Backup: Heeter

#11 Cleary - Veteran
#17 Caito
#21 Borkowski
#29 Sadowy
#32 Drew Miller #40 Pasquale

Lorito - Nosek - Callahan
Frk - Street

Tangradi - Criscuolo - Svechnikov
Beretuzzi - Russo

Callahan - Street
Renouf - Paetsch/Russo

Nosek - Campbell
Lashoff/Paetsch - Allen

Ford - Tangradi


Grand Rapids had their hands full with Milwaukee this game. The Admirals were really playing with pace, the game was so fast and intense it seemed like a playoff game. Jimmy Howard looked rusty, though the goals were not all his fault. The Griffins at time had trouble adjusting to Milwaukee's speed and had to adjust their game plan as things went on to have someone back, and try to get a stick on the puck through the neutral zone to slow them down. In the latter stages of the game, GR was matching their pace and if not for Saros, probably could have gotten this game back.

Official Game Sheet