GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Magnus Hellberg yielded just one goal on 32 Grand Rapids shots to steer the Milwaukee Admirals to a 4-1 victory over the Griffins on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
Milwaukee (37-27-4-3) posted its third straight win to remain in a tie for second place in the Midwest Division behind Grand Rapids (40-25-3-4), which still possesses a six-point lead with just nine days remaining in the regular season.
The Griffins, who have been stymied by a pair of hot visiting goalies this week – including Matt Climie in Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Chicago – will continue their homestand on Saturday by hosting the Peoria Rivermen at 7 p.m.
The Admirals used a power play to strike just 3:32 into the contest, as Mike Moore’s wrister from the high slot was tipped by Zach Hamill into the top of Tom McCollum’s net.
After scoring on its first shot of the game, Milwaukee made it a 2-0 game on its third shot late in the period when Brad Winchester snapped a knuckler past McCollum from the top of the right circle at 17:41.
Grand Rapids tallied the lone goal of the second period to pull within one. Off a faceoff to the left of the Milwaukee net, Landon Ferraro won the draw back to Gleason Fournier, who slid the puck across to Brett Skinner at the right point for a long blast that beat Hellberg at the 2:09 mark.
But Kevin Henderson restored the Admirals’ two-goal advantage 4:22 into the final frame, finding some open ice in the high slot and teeing up a slap shot that sailed low to the ice, hit the left post and caromed across the goal line.
The Griffins continued to attack the Milwaukee net, finishing with a 32-26 advantage in shots, but their chances of a comeback were all but dashed when Luke Glendening was whistled off for slashing with 2:25 remaining. McCollum went to the bench for an extra attacker during the Admirals’ advantage, and Mattias Ekholm scored into the vacated net with 1:03 remaining for the final margin.
Three Stars: 1. MIL Hellberg (W, 31 saves); 2. MIL Winchester (goal); 3. GR Skinner (goal)
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