Admirals Sink Griffins in Shootout 3-2|
Matt Puempel snaps slump with a pair of goals in loss ...
By Jason Kasiorek
November 20th, 2018
This game came down to a battle of the goalkeepers, as Patrik Rybar and Troy Grosenick battled right up until the bitter end, both making highlight reel stops to keep the game close. In the end, Grosenick turned in a 38 save performance to steal a win for his team despite being badly outplayed for most of the contest. Patrick Rybar continued his impressive play, stopping 26 stops and 3 of 4 shooters in the shootout. Matt Puempel broke a lengthy scoring slump by adding a pair of goals and the Griffins penalty killers were perfect again, running their streak to seven straight penalty kills without allowing a powerplay goal.
Matt Ford off for tripping just a minute and a half in, setting up an early Admirals' power play. A long shot took a weird bounce off the end boards and Rybar had to be sharp to make a scrambling stop and then close off the bottom of the net. Grand Rapids carrying play through the period, shots 11-1 midway through despite the admirals having the only powerplay. Hicketts with a long point shot that hit Grosenick and pinballed around in front before bouncing out to the circle. Puempel pounced on it, chipping it in over Grosenick. The lamp lit, signaling a barrage of teddy bears raining down from the stands for the annual teddy bear toss for charity. Saarijarvi carried the puck way up ice before centering for Zadina burning up the slot. A shot form the circle hit the edge of Grosenick's glove and then the crossbar before deflecting over the net. Blackwell got twisted up with Puempel's stick and went hard into the boards where he lay motionless for a long time. They brought the gurney out, but he eventually left the ice under his own power. Puempel finished the period in the penalty box for a weak hooking call. Shots on goal: GR 18 - Mil 4.
Joe Hicketts shot the puck over the glass off the opening faceoff, leaving the Griffins down a pair of players. The penalty killing was very good and killed it off. Rybar great save to close off the post as the rebound came out to a shooter to the side of the net. Play went the other way and Wade Megan had a point blank chance, hitting the Admirals netminder high. Megan with a steal at the line and then in alone on Grosenick, but got whacked in the back as he took his shot. Delayed penalty, Hronek with a great chance on the rebound. Turnover and the admirals with a shorthanded chance. Olivier spun around in the slot but still managed to notch a shorty to tie the game at one each. In the closing seconds of the period Chris Terry had a great chance in front but couldn't get the puck past Grosenick. Shots on goal: GR 15 - Mil 12.
Terry and Olivier came to blows along the boards and Terry clocked him square in the face hard enough to knock his helmet off. Hronek feisty in the scrum not taking anything from anyone, but ended up with a penalty. Carter Camper with a steal in the slot but couldn't get the shot off. Griffins with another powerplay midway through the period. Lots of pressure on the Milwaukee net with good puck movement. Puempel again appeared in the right pace at the right time as the puck squirted loose of the scrum in front and he chipped it in from the top of the circle for his second of the game. The lead was short-lived as Milwaukee scored just 20 seconds later as Jeannot in front of the net, potted the rebound from a bounce off the end boards past Rybar stick side. Shots on goal: GR 7 - Mil 7.
Wade Megan ended up in the box just three seconds in to the extra session, resulting in a Milwaukee 4-on-3 powerplay. First Turgeon, Campbell and Lashoff did a great job of not allowing them to get a good shot off, then the next set of penalty killers came out to do the same. Hicketts broke a stick and was forced to use Matt Ford's right handed stick but they got the job done. Two-on-one Milwaukee late in the extra session but Rybar came up huge and made the stop. Shots on goal: GR 0 - Mil 5.
Rocco Grimaldi went first in the shootout for the Admirals, firing a shot that missed the net. Zadina was the first shooter for Grand Rapids and he tried to go five-hole but couldn't get it past Grosenick. The second round saw Kirkland for Milwaukee cut across the front of the net and Rybar made a pad save, then Terry for GR made a move and tried to go high glove side but was denied. Donovan tried to freeze Rybar and go to the side but the Griffins netminder stayed with him and took it all away, even sending the shooter to the ice in heap. Puempel missed the net to keep it scoreless through three rounds. Richard was the fourth shooter for Milwaukee and he froze Rybar and slid the puck past his leg for what turned out to be the winner. Hronek went last for the Griffins and made several moves before running our of room and not getting a good shot off. The Admirals got lucky, walking off with a win when they were badly outplayed for most of the game. Shots on goal: GR 0 - Mil 1. For the game: GR 40 - Mil 29.
#73 Puempel - #23 Turgeon - #45 Colin Campbell
#15 Elson - #19 Camper - #25 Terry
#55 Ford - #22 Megan - #11 Zadina
#12 Pope - #10 Holmstrom - #65 Shine
#18 Lashoff - #4 Sulak
#2 Hicketts - #13 Hronek
#27 Chelios - #9 Saarijarvi
Starter: #42 Patrik Rybar
Backup: #29 Harri Sateri
#52 McIlrath (Injured)
Several different combinations as the coaching staff tried to find a combination to break out of the man-advantage slump.
#22 Megan - #19 Camper - #11 Zadina
#2 Hicketts - #9 Saarijarvi/
#55 Ford - #10 Holmstrom/#15 Elson - #25 Terry
#73 Puempel - #13 Hronek
#22 Megan - #19 Camper - #10 Holmstrom
#11 Zadina - #2 Hicketts
#15 Elson - #23 Turgeon - #45 Campbell
#18 Lashoff - #4 Sulak
#15 Elson - #65 Shine
#18 Lashoff - #4 Sulak
#45 Campbell - #23 Turgeon
#2 Hicketts - #13 Hronek
For a team with so many offensive weapons, it remains a mystery why this club has such a hard time scoring goals.The powerplay alone should be filling the net regularly but struggle to generate quality shots. The Griffins dominated play for most of the game, but a lot of the shots were not particularly dangerous, and far to often they tried to force a play that wasn't there.
Filip Zadina in particular had a frustrating game as several times he was in prime scoring position and made a bad decision, trying to force a pass through only to have it picked off. Give credit to the Admirals goalie however, he was spectacular and made some huge saves.
It was no surprise to see Puempel break out of his slump, as the team did the same type of thing last season with Matt Lorito. The one-dimensional sniper was slumping and they placed him with the hard working pair of Turgeon and Campbell, and they did the work to get him the puck and he reaped the rewards by scoring in bunches. This trio looked similarly impressive last night as Puempel had several quality chances and looked much more engaged.
Coach Simon's big challenge right now is to figure out how to get someone scoring from the rotating scratches of Givani Smith, David Pope or Dylan Sadowy. Two of those rotating scratches were supposed to have much more of an impact in the early going then they have.