MILWAUKEE — In their first game of six consecutive on the road, the Grand Rapids Griffins earned a 3-2 shootout win over the Milwaukee Admirals at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
Saturday’s matchup saw Matt Puempel score once during regulation and again in a shootout to close scoring, while Harri Sateri finished the night with 30 saves for first-star honors. The effort was aided by a stellar second period in which the penalty kill unit finished 4-for-4 and limited the Admirals (26-24-13-2) to just three shots through 20 minutes.
The win moves Grand Rapids (34-18-6-4) into a tie with the Iowa Wild for second in Central Division standings with 78 points. Both teams trail the Chicago Wolves, who lead with 79.
The Griffins continue their season-high six-game road trip early next week with a visit to Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday. Grand Rapids will face San Antonio on Tuesday night, followed by a trip to the Stars on Wednesday. Both games are slated for 8 p.m. EDT.
Phil Di Giuseppe ended Milwaukee’s 186-minute scoring drought to Grand Rapids late in the first period of the contest. From behind Sateri’s net, Admirals forward Yakov Trenin passed the puck to Di Giuseppe out front, and the winger sent it inside Sateri’s left post for his first goal of the season at 14:09.
Early in the second period, Libor Sulak put the Griffins on the board off a feed from Chris Terry along the right-wing boards. After working around Milwaukee defenseman Adam Plant, Terry lobbed the puck to Sulak near Grosenick’s net. The defenseman chucked it over Grosenick’s right shoulder, scoring his fourth of the season and tying the game at 1-1.
Grand Rapids’ penalty kill saw success shortly after Sulak’s goal, extinguishing two back-to-back penalties to Matthew Ford. Less than a minute after the penalty kill burned out the second penalty, Puempel gave the Griffins their first lead of the game. At 9:02, he tipped in a shot from Vili Saarijarvi along the boards, equipping Grand Rapids with a one-goal lead.
Soon after, another pair of penalties just 20 seconds apart granted the Admirals a 5-on-3 for 1:40 of the second period. Despite the disadvantage, the Griffins’ penalty kill remained dependable, not allowing Milwaukee a single shot on net during the time frame and restraining the Admirals to just three shots through the entire period.
Late in the third period, Milwaukee netted the equalizer with 6:16 left in regulation off a goal from Colin Blackwell. Admirals forward Anthony Richard dropped the puck off in the left-wing circle for Blackwell, and though his first shot was blocked, his second attempt from the edge of the circle blew past Sateri stick-side to force the overtime period.
The Griffins surged in extra period, ripping off seven shots through the five-minute frame while holding Milwaukee to one. Grosenick remained stalwart between the pipes though, making all seven saves to send the game to a shootout. Puempel’s goal in the second round put Grosenick’s save total at 38 for the night.
Notes: Brian Lashoff, who is currently on assignment with the Detroit Red Wings, logged 11 minutes in the Red Wings’ 2-1 win over the New York Islanders at Little Cesars Arena earlier today...Filip Zadina made his appearance back in the lineup after playing nine games with the Red Wings.
Three Stars: 1. GR Sateri (W, 30 saves); 2. MIL Di Giuseppe (goal); 3. MIL Grosenick (38 saves)