GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Troy Grosenick turned aside all but one of the 39 shots he saw on Friday to spoil the home opener for the Grand Rapids Griffins and backstop the Milwaukee Admirals to a 4-1 win at Van Andel Arena.
Grand Rapids out shot Milwaukee 39-28 but could not replicate the proficiency of last Saturday’s season opener in Chicago, when the Griffins earned an 8-5 win despite logging just 26 shots on net.
The Griffins (1-1-0-0), who were attempting to start 2-0 for just the second time since 2007-08, will instead try to improve their road record to 2-0 on Saturday when they visit the Rockford IceHogs at 7 p.m. EDT.
The Admirals scored on consecutive power plays less than 90 seconds apart to jump on top 2-0 before the game was 10 minutes old. Yakov Trenin had a hand in both tallies, setting up shop with the puck along the right goal line and finding Anthony Richard in the slot for a shot that darted through Calvin Pickard’s five hole at the 7:36 mark, then planting himself between the hashmarks to redirect Jeremy Davies’ wrister from the point at 9:02.
After finishing the first period even in shots (11-11) but with a two-goal deficit, the Griffins fired the first six attempts of the second frame but continued to find no daylight around Grosenick, who flashed his glove to rob Filip Zadina on a point-blank try less than two minutes in.
Chris Terry gave the Griffins’ 24th consecutive home-opening sellout crowd of 10,834 a reason to vent its pent-up energy when he scored five seconds into a Grand Rapids power play at 7:22. Taking a feed from Joe Hicketts at the right point, he sashayed to the top of the circle before unleashing a cannon past Grosenick to make it 2-1. But the Admirals answered in quick fashion to re-establish their two-goal cushion, as Eeli Tolvanen beat a screened Pickard 1:15 later with a long slapper while drifting back toward the blue line above the left circle.
With Grand Rapids down 3-1 less than five minutes into the third, Michael Rasmussen had a chance to pull his team within one when he was sprung on a breakaway by Gustav Lindstrom’s deft stretch pass, but Grosenick closed the door on Rasmussen’s wrist shot before covering the rebound to maintain the visitors’ advantage. With just over six minutes remaining it was Pickard’s chance to deny a break, as he stifled Davies’ attempt to add a goal to his one-assist night.
After pulling Pickard for an extra attacker in the final three minutes and calling a timeout, the Griffins saw their hopes for a late rally extinguished by Mathieu Olivier’s empty-net goal with 2:05 remaining, and Milwaukee evened its ledger at 1-1 on the season.
Pickard stopped 24 of 27 shots for the Griffins, who went 1-for-5 on the power play. Milwaukee finished 2-for-3 with the man-advantage.
Notes: The Griffins’ only 2-0 start in the last 12 seasons came in 2016-17…Grand Rapids had won each of its last three home openers…Including his three-game conditioning stint last season, Rasmussen has five points (3-2—5) in five career games as a Griffin.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Grosenick (W, 38 saves); 2. MIL Trenin (game-winning goal, assist); 3. GR Terry (power play goal)