Dec. 3, 2010 - GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 5 at Milwaukee Admirals 2
MILWAUKEE – Tomas Tatar’s three-point night (2-1—3) led Grand Rapids to a 5-2 victory Friday night over Milwaukee at the Bradley Center, as the Griffins earned their second straight road victory and handed the Admirals their first regulation loss on home ice this season.
Making his first start for the Griffins since a 3-2 home loss against Milwaukee on Oct. 22 and after spending 15 games with the Detroit Red Wings, Joey MacDonald earned third-star honors and finished the night with 26 saves. With his 91st career win in a Grand Rapids uniform, he passed Jimmy Howard for sole possession of first place on the franchise's all-time list.
Meanwhile, in addition to Tatar, Cory Emmerton (1-1—2), Francis Pare (1-2—3) and Brendan Smith (0-2—2) all had multi-point outings for the Griffins, who improved to 8-4-0-0 on the road this season with the victory.
Milwaukee (12-7-1-4) struck first just 4:06 into the contest on its first shot of the night when Mike Bartlett sped behind the Griffins’ defense and slid a backhander between the pads of MacDonald after taking a pass from Gabriel Bourque at the blue line.
The Griffins (10-9-0-4) battled back, ultimately firing 17 shots in the first period and gained a 2-1 lead midway through the frame. At 8:22 during a power play, Tatar gobbled up a loose puck between the circles and snapped a shot past Jeremy Smith. Tatar then picked up his second point of the night on a great give-and-go, setting up Emmerton in the slot for a quick snipe over the blocker of the goaltender at 11:10.
Tatar’s hot hand carried over to the middle stanza, as he gave the Griffins a 3-1 lead and netted his second goal at 1:40 by throwing the puck at the net from 60 feet away and watched it deflect and flutter over the shoulder of an unsuspecting netminder.
Shortly after, Grand Rapids extended its lead to 4-1 at 6:38 during a power play. Appearing in his first contest after missing three due to injury, Ilari Filppula roofed a quick shot from the right side of the net that chased Smith from the Milwaukee crease in favor of Chet Pickard.
Swapping goaltenders breathed life into the Admirals, who netted their second goal at 12:17 when Chris Mueller buried a rebound off of Brett Palin’s point shot. But both teams remained scoreless until Pare tallied the lone goal during the final period on a vacated cage at 19:09 to seal the 5-2 victory for Grand Rapids.
Smith had 18 saves on 22 shots through 26:38 of action for the Admirals before Pickard stopped all six shots he faced in 32:20 of relief.
The Griffins return home Saturday at 7 p.m. to kick off a back-to-back set against the San Antonio Rampage. The contest also begins a stretch during which the Griffins will play 12 of their next 15 games at Van Andel Arena, as well as a 10-game home slate for December.
Three Stars: 1. GR Tatar (2 goals, 1 assist); 2. MIL Bourque (1 assist); 3. GR MacDonald (25 saves)