MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee Admirals earned a critical two points Saturday night by defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins 3-1 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Josh Shalla scored his first goal as an Admiral, while Mark Van Guilder and Juuson Puustinen also lit the lamp for Milwaukee.
The win was a season high fourth straight for the Ads, who moved into a tie for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 16 games.
Despite being outshot 10-4 in the first 15 minutes of the game, the Admirals really poured on the pressure for the final five minutes going into the intermission leading in shots 11-10.
Milwaukee got on the board first when Van Guilder scored his first goal since February 10th at 4:59 of the first. Kevin Henderson won a battle for the puck in the Griffins zone and fed it to the point to a waiting Taylor Beck. Beck fired it immediately and the puck redirected off of Henderson’s skates to a charging Mark Van Guilder who backhanded it in to put the Admirals up 1-0.
The Griffins tied the game up just two minutes into the second when Andrej Nestrasil fired a wrister immediately off the draw and beat Magnus Hellberg high glove side.
The Admirals power-play broke the tie midway through the second period. Mike Moore made a perfect pass across the ice to a waiting Puustinen who put his one timer over the glove of Mrazek making it 2-1 Milwaukee.
Shalla earned his tally when he was given a golden opportunity after two Griffin defenders knocked each other down and left Shalla with a breakaway. Shalla made a couple moves and stuck it right between the pads of Mrazek to make it 3-1 Admirals.
The Admirals had to kill off two 5-on-3 penalty to end the second period and into the third. The Admirals penalty kill however met the task and kept the score at 3-1. Magnus Hellberg stopped 22 of 23 shots thrown his way earning second star of the game, and upped his record to 13-8 on the season.
The Admirals continue their four-game homestand next Friday night, the 22nd against Peoria at 7:00 pm at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. American Idol winner Phillip Phillips will be performing after the game.