MILWAUKEE – Three goals late in the first period gave the Grand Rapids Griffins a commanding lead. The Milwaukee Admirals never got closer than two as the road team skated away with a 5-2 victory at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday.
The Griffins (20-18-1-4) fell to the Admirals (21-15-4-0) on Wednesday at Van Andel Arena to end a three game homestand. Grand Rapids returns home for a Saturday night tilt against the Rockford IceHogs at 7:00 p.m.
Corey Elkins lit the lamp up first with 4:36 left in the first period. His seventh goal of the season came from the top of the left circle after forcing a turnover in the Milwaukee zone. The shorthanded tally was assisted by Matthew Ford.
A minute later, Eric Tangradi added on to the lead with his 14th goal. The left winger deflected the puck into the net off of a Vili Saarijarvi shot that slid past Anders Lindback’s left leg for the 2-0 lead.
Before the intermission break, Joe Hicketts tallied his second goal of the year with just 11 seconds left on the clock. The power play strike was taken from just inside the blue line with a slap shot to give the Griffins a three-goal cushion.
The Admirals struck first in the second frame with a shorthanded notch from Justin Kirkland at the 9:33 mark. The Winnipeg native had a 2-on-1 advantage with Mark Zengerle who made the last second pass to Kirkland which sent a laser over Tom McCollum’s glove to make it 3-1.
Just 49 seconds later, Grand Rapids regained its three-goal lead when Ford added his team-leading 16th goal of the season. The power play goal was deflected over Lindback’s glove after Evgeny Svechnikov took a slap shot near the blue line.
The flurry of goals continued 1:37 later when Anthony Richard netted his 11th goal of the campaign. McCollum stopped the initial shot which was taken by Jack Dougherty, but there was a scramble in front of the net. Richard got to the puck first and sent it flying into the net to make the score 4-2.
Grand Rapids added an insurance goal with 13 seconds left in the stanza as Tangradi potted his second goal of the night. He finessed his way through two defenders and skated towards the net. A quick move later, he took a backhand shot that sent the puck between Lindback’s legs for the final three-goal lead.
Tom McCollum pushed aside 29 shots for his sixth win of the season while Anders Lindback stopped 24 pucks in a losing effort.
Grand Rapids went 2-for-2 on the power play and held Milwaukee scoreless in its four tries.
Three Stars: 1. GR McCollum (W, 29 saves); 2. GR Tangradi (two goals); 3. MIL Kirkland (goal)