GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Matt Puempel scored two goals to help the Grand Rapids Griffins earn a point in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Central Division-leading Milwaukee Admirals at Van Andel Arena on Friday.
The Griffins (8-7-0-2) hosted the Admirals for their 19th annual Teddy Bear Toss game, where a total of 2,200 stuffed animals were collected. All of the bears will be donated to the Hug-A-Bears Foundation of Kent County.
With the shootout loss to Milwaukee (11-6-4-0), the Griffins finished a four-game home stretch at Van Andel Arena. Grand Rapids returns to action with a pair of road games on Saturday, Nov. 24 and Monday, Nov. 26 against the Chicago Wolves and Iowa Wild, respectively. Both games have a start time of 8 p.m. EST.
At 9:19 of the opening period, the Griffins struck first courtesy of Matt Puempel. Joe Hicketts took a shot from the blue line that displaced Milwaukee goaltender Troy Grosenick, and Puempel cleaned up the shot on the doorstep before Grosenick could adjust to give Grand Rapids a 1-0 lead.
At 19:16, Puempel was called for hooking and the Admirals went into the second period with a 5-on-4 advantage. With 1:10 left on the penalty kill, Hicketts was issued a two-minute minor for delay of game.
Despite the early two-man advantage, the Admirals didn’t tie up the game until 16:23. During a Milwaukee penalty kill for slashing, Jarred Tinordi brought the puck down the ice and took a shot near the right-wing circle. Hicketts blocked the shot, but Mathieu Olivier collected the rebound and slung the puck past goaltender Patrik Rybar stick-side for a shorthanded goal.
The 1-1 stalemate lasted until 11:09 of the third period, when Puempel found twine for the second time. Filip Hronek took a shot near the point, and Matt Ford attempted to stuff in the puck on the rebound. A scrum around the net sent the puck drifting out of reach on Grosenick’s right side, and Puempel was there to slot it past him for a one-goal lead.
But just 20 seconds later, the Admirals tied it up again. Alexandre Carrier passed the puck from the blue line to the slot where Tanner Jeannot was waiting to finish it off, pushing the score to a 2-2 tie after regulation.
Three seconds into the five-minute overtime period, Wade Megan was penalized for high-sticking and the Griffins had a 4-on-3 penalty to kill for two minutes. However, Grand Rapids escaped at the hands of Rybar, who tallied the only five saves of the frame.
After three scoreless rounds of the shootout, Milwaukee’s Anthony Richard finally netted the game-winner.
Grosenick faced 40 shots on the night and tallied 38 saves for the win, while Rybar finished with 26 saves.
Notes: The Griffins finished 4-for-4 on the penalty kill and 1-for-5 on the power play...Grand Rapids finished the four-game home stretch with a 2-2 record...The Griffins held the Admirals to 23 shots through regulation, marking the ninth game of 17 where Grand Rapids has held its opponent to less than 25 shots.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Grosenick (W, 38 saves); 2. GR Puempel (two goals); 3. GR Rybar (26 saves)