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Milwaukee Musings: Griffins Pick Apart Admirals

New year, same story for an inconsistent Milwaukee team.

After a lengthy holiday break, and a flurry of roster moves, Milwaukee finally returned to action last week to take on the Grand Rapids Griffins twice over New Years' weekend. The Admirals dropped both contests to a shorthanded Griffins team, relegating them to a 12-15-2 record. Their 0.448 points percentage is good for sixth in the Central Division as the calendar flips to 2022.

Quick Hits

  • Since the NHL’s return after Christmas, Milwaukee has been involved in a number of transactions, including forward Mathieu Oliver being recalled to Nashville and then returned last weekend
  • Forward Cody Glass was reassigned to Milwaukee on December 28
  • Defender Matt Tennyson was recalled to Nashville’s taxi squad on Monday
  • Defenders Jake McLaughlin and Xavier Bouchard and forward Bobo Carpenter were recalled to Milwaukee from Florida on December 29; Bouchard was reassigned to Florida yesterday
  • As of the Admirals’ last contest, Rocco Grimaldi, Jeremy Davies, Frederic Allard, and Graham Knott have been sidelined due to COVID-19 protocols
  • Milwaukee’s game against Rockford, originally scheduled last week, has been rescheduled to April 29
  • As we’ve noted ad nauseum, Milwaukee has a discipline problem:

Milwaukee Admirals (4) @ Grand Rapids Griffins (5)

For their first game in a week and a half, the Admirals traveled to Michigan to take on a Griffins team that iced just 14 skaters due to COVID-19 absences. Milwaukee was missing some big names too, but they were still able to ice a complete lineup in front of Connor Ingram, and Matt Tennyson and Marc Del Gaizo returned to the lineup.

Despite being shorthanded, Grand Rapids jumped out to a quick start, collecting a 2-0 lead in the first period. Mitch McLain responded on his own scoring off a laser of a wrist shot and then deflecting a Cole Smith attempt to level the game at two.

Momentum aside, Grand Rapids doubled their lead again, but Cody Glass and Cole Schneider responded to tie things with a little over half of the third period remaining. Five minutes later, Josh Healey failed to clear a rebound in front of Ingram, and Riley Barber put home the game-winner for the Griffins.

Milwaukee’s top line that night—Cody Glass, Cole Schneider, and Kole Sherwood—generated 13 shots on net and two goals. At even strength, that line posted a 62.9%, 62.2%, and a 56.5% Corsi, respectively. Glass led the way with nine individual shot attempts, and each skater had two primary shot attempt assists. In terms of zone entry success rate, Glass was 66.7%, Schneider was 75.0%, and Sherwood was 100.0%. Curiously though, Sherwood was effectively benched in the third period and replaced by Tommy Apap; Glass and Schneider were double-shifted in the last five minutes of the game.

Milwaukee Admirals (2) vs. Grand Rapids Griffins (4)

On Saturday, both Milwaukee and Grand Rapids traveled to Wisconsin to meet again on New Years Day. The Griffins welcomed a couple of skaters back but still only iced 16 players, while the Admirals were still without Davies, Allard, and Farrance on the blue line.

With Devin Cooley starting in net, Mitch McLain kept up his impressive weekend with his third shorthanded goal of the season to give Milwaukee a 1-0 lead after period one. Then period two happened, and the Admirals—specifically Marc Del Gaizo and Matt Tennyson—were torched with four unanswered Grand Rapids’ goals. The Griffins had everything go their way, scoring on high-danger rebounds, against defensive lapses, and versus a couple of odd-man rushes.

The Admirals responded with a strong third period, but it was too little, too late as they could only muster one goal from Egor Afanasyev before the final horn.

Nashville Defense Prospects | Possession play per 60
@OnTheFutureOTF

Their poor boxscore performances aside, Tennyson and Del Gaizo actually had an okay game. Del Gaizo posted a 66.7% Corsi at even strength and Tennyson was at 61.8%. They combined for nine individual shot attempts and five primary shot attempt assists. Defensively, though, they were hit in transition, allowing nine of 14 controlled zone entries against them; They also allowed a combined four high-danger shots while on the ice. Ultimately, the loss was a story of Grand Rapids converting when it mattered and Milwaukee failing to answer in a meaningful way.


The Week Ahead

  • Wednesday, January 5 @ Grand Rapids Griffins
  • Friday, January 7 vs. Cleveland Monsters
  • Saturday, January 8 vs. Rockford IceHogs

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, theAHL.com, or manually tracked.