Rocco Grimaldi scored a hat trick and Cole Schneider scored the game-winner as the Milwaukee Admirals defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 5-2 Saturday at Van Andel Arena.
It was the 200th meeting between the teams in a rivalry dating back to the 1996-97 season when both teams played in the International Hockey League (IHL). Milwaukee won its 86th game in the series. Grand Rapids has won 107. The teams tied on seven occasions
Milwaukee scored the first goal of the game at 4:25 of the first period. Tommy Novak received a pass in the right corner of the Griffins zone. He tapped a pass to Grimaldi at the right circle. Grimaldi’s shot was turned aside by Griffins goalie Victor Brattstrom but the rebound spilled to Ads defenseman Matt Donovan in the left circle. Donovan slapped the puck into the open net for his fifth goal of the season.
Grand Rapids tied the score at 5:19 of the first period. Dennis Yan crossed the middle of the Admirals blue line and waisted a shot into the goal.
The Admirals reclaimed the lead at 5:19 of the second period when Grimaldi scored his 15th goal of the season. Matt Luff led Novak with a pass to the bottom of the right circle. Novak’s backhander was stopped but the rebound came to Grimaldi in the left circle and he slapped the puck into the empty goal.
The Griffins tied the game at 2-2 when Matt Berry’s shot from the right circle went through a screen into the net at 13:06 of the second frame. It was Berry’s first goal of the season.
Schneider camped in front of the Griffins net and deflected a one-time shot from Freddy Allard at 5:30 of the third period. It was Schneider’s 15th goal of the season. Allard and Anthony Richard earned the assists.
Grimaldi scored his second goal of the game to assure the win for Milwaukee when he shot the puck from the bottom of the right circle into the net at 16:49 of the third period. It was Grimaldi’s 16th goal of the year. Cody Glass and Schneider assisted. That goal made it 4-2 in the Admirals favor.
Grimaldi scored an empty-netter to complete the hat trick at 19:36 of the third period. Grimaldi recorded 10 points in three Admirals wins in the past week. He has collected four points in back-to-back games.
Admirals goalie Connor Ingram stopped 29 shots to earn the victory.
Milwaukee visits Grand Rapids again Wed., Jan. 26. The Admirals return home Fri., Jan. 28 to host the Rockford IceHogs at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
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