12/08/2010 9:26 PM
Dec. 8, 2010 – Milwaukee Admirals 2 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 3
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – A stifling defense and an opportunistic offense led the Grand Rapids Griffins to a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena.
After suffering 3-2 losses in three of their last four home games, the Griffins earned a victory by that same count to snap a seven-game winless streak on home ice while earning points for the third time in their last five games (1-2-1-1) in friendly confines.
The Griffins (11-10-1-4) will conclude a four-game homestand by hosting the Texas Stars on Friday at 7 p.m.
The teams traded goals during the opening period. The Griffins struck first during a 5-on-3 power play just 2:10 in, when Jamie Tardif camped out in front of goaltender Jeremy Smith to redirect Derek Meech’s blast from the right point.
Milwaukee (13-8-1-4) didn’t get its first shot on goal until 17:55 had elapsed but made it count, as Ryan Thang beat Joey MacDonald with a backhand from the bottom of the left circle. Oddly enough, the Admirals also scored on their first shot against MacDonald during the Griffins’ 5-2 win at the Bradley Center last Friday.
The Griffins tallied the only goal of the second period to take a 2-1 lead, with Chris Minard finishing off an odd-man rush by potting Jamie Johnson’s pass into the top of the net from the left side at 5:08. After enjoying an 11-5 advantage in shots during the first period, the Griffins out-shot Milwaukee 8-4 in the second for a 19-9 margin through 40 minutes.
Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak joined forces to give Grand Rapids a 3-1 cushion 8:11 into the third period. After collecting an outlet pass from Tatar at center ice, Mursak sped around his defender and beat Smith to give the Griffins their first two-goal lead at home since their last victory at Van Andel Arena, a 4-2 triumph over Chicago on Nov. 6.
Teemu Laakso cut Milwaukee’s deficit in half with a power play goal at 15:06, blistering a shot over MacDonald’s glove from high in the left circle. Two and a half minutes later, Linus Klasen nearly tied matters when he went wide around the netminder and tried to stuff the puck inside the right post, but MacDonald dove back to somehow smother the puck and maintain the lead, which he and his teammates preserved over the final few minutes.
MacDonald made 17 saves to improve his personal record to 4-2-1, while Smith made 20 stops in defeat.
Notes: Defenseman Jakub Kindl, playing his first game as a Griffin this season after being assigned by Detroit for conditioning earlier today, was scoreless while logging two shots and 19:48 of ice time…Tardif appeared in his 265th game as a Griffin, moving past Derek King into sole possession of seventh place on the franchise’s all-time list…The Griffins improved to 3-0 when Minard scores a goal and 8-1-0-1 when Johnson earns a point.
Three Stars: 1. GR Mursak (game-winning goal); 2. MIL Laakso (power play goal); 3. GR Minard (goal)