The Griffins got out to a 2-0 lead before allowing the admirals back in and losing a tough 3-2 contest. Joakim Andersson opened the scoring, and Landon Ferraro added a highlight reel, breakaway shorthanded goal, but the team couldn't hold on allowing Milwaukee three unanswered goals. Jordan Pearce absorbed the loss, stopping 23 of 26 shots for Grand Rapids. Ferraro and Tomas Tatar each had 4 shots for the Griffins. After the normal beginning of the season pregame player introductions, Jeff Hoggan was announced as the Griffins' captain, and the puck was dropped to start the 2012-13 season. Raedeke got knocked down and then was hit again while he was down setting up the first Griffins powerplay. Billins lost a stick at the line setting up a nice Milwaukee rush and scoring chance. Tatar and Andersson pressuring the puck around the net. Nyquist hit Tatar in the slot and Andersson shoveled Tatar's shot past Smith to make it 1-0. Great save by Pearce late in the period to preserve the one goal lead. Shots on Goal: GR 11 - Mil 7.
Great hustle by Callahan on the forecheck to force a turnover and set up a great scoring chance in front for Hoggan. Shorthanded breakaway by Ferraro who streaked in behind the defense and roofed a shot over Smith. Pearce came up big again stoning Cehlin on a point blank attempt. The Admirals finally got on the board with 42.8 seconds left in the period when the Griffins got caught up ice and Mueller got a pass behind the defense, went in alone on Pearce and tucked the puck under him to cut the lead to one. Shots on Goal: GR 5 - Mil 9.
Milwaukee got a hold of a loose puck in the slot and it ended up behind Pearce with Cehlin notching his first. Grand Rapids had a three on one break, but Grant rang it off the crossbar. A big scrum breaks out in the corner, Raedeke and Moore joust and Evans tried to go with Latta. It results in an Admirals powerplay. Things are getting really ugly as another scrum breaks out after a hit by Smith. Cehlin put Milwaukee ahead on the powerplay, burying a back door pass for a 3-2 lead. The Griffins spend a fair part of the third in penalty trouble giving Milwaukee a 5-on-3 advantage, but manage to kill it off. Pearce is called to the bench with 1:21 left but the Griffins are unable to get the equalizer and drop the home opener. Shots on goal: GR 5 - Mil 10. For the Game: GR 21 - Mil 26.
Prior to the game, newcomer Jeff Hoggan was named captain with Nathan Paetsch and Brennan Evans drawing the A's.
The team looked very organized and methodical tonight, despite the loss there were some positive things. The defensive support was very noticeable as was the organized attack. A lot of the usual game one things, errant passes, etc. as it generally takes a few games for the new guys to start jelling.
Chad Billins stood out in limited time. He has quick feet and knows what to do with the puck.
I was a bit surprised to see Raedeke centering a scoring line, and hope he can show enough to keep the spot. The same goes for Aubry who I think could do better than the fourth line with grant and Callahan as regular linemates. Aubry got a few shifts with the top line as Blashill tried to get the tying goal late in the game, and didn't look out of place in Andersson's spot.
Smith didn't look like he was comfortable yet, and had a hard time handling the puck all night.
Tatar looks to have gained a half step and was all over the ice. his start in the Slovakian league seems to have done him some good. Hopefully it will end up with him putting the puck in the net soon.
Ferraro looked very good tonight, showcasing his speed and vision. He was an ace on the penalty kill and looked to have some chemistry with uber-rookie Jurco.