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Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Milwaukee Admirals / Opening Night 2013 Highlights

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Published on Oct 19, 2013

A BANNER NIGHT, DESPITE THE SCORE - October 18, 2013
Milwaukee Admirals 3 at GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS 2

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- While the final score of Friday's home opener wasn't what the Grand Rapids Griffins wanted, they began their 2013-14 slate of home games with the same result as their 2012-13 debut at Van Andel Arena: a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals.

And things turned out pretty well for the Griffins last season.

In fact, the Griffins celebrated their 2013 Calder Cup championship with a pre-game ceremony and banner-raising that had the capacity crowd of 10,834 -- Grand Rapids' 18th consecutive home-opening sellout -- on its feet and roaring long before the puck dropped.

Fueled by the emotion of those pre-game festivities, the Griffins took only 80 seconds to score their first home goal of the new season. From the bottom of the right circle, Gustav Nyquist attempted a pass that deflected off a Milwaukee defenseman and eluded Marek Mazanec, marking his third goal and seventh point in just four games.

Milwaukee (2-0-1-0) tied it during a power play at the 12:46 mark, with Anthony Bitetto blistering a one-timer from the right faceoff dot past Petr Mrazek. The Griffins (2-1-1-0) answered with their own power play goal less than three minutes later, as Jeff Hoggan tapped home Teemu Pulkkinen's centering feed at 15:31 to stake Grand Rapids to a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.

The Admirals scored twice in the final 2:04 of the middle frame to jump ahead 3-2. Colton Sissons slapped a loose puck behind Mrazek at 17:56, before Bitetto struck for his second power play goal 49 seconds later, popping a rebound into a gaping cage from the right circle.

Despite a 20-13 advantage in shots over the final 40 minutes, the Griffins were unable to get anything more past Mazanec, who finished with 24 saves. Grand Rapids nearly forced overtime in the closing seconds with Mrazek pulled for an extra attacker, after beginning a power play in the Milwaukee zone with 11 seconds remaining, but Cory Emmerton's shot clanged hard off the left post and out of harm's way as time expired.

Mrazek stopped 17 of 20 shots for the Griffins, who will look to build upon their impressive 2-0-1-0 road start when they pay an 8 p.m. EDT visit to the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday.

Notes: Playing just his second game in a span of 19 months due to a string of injuries, Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm began his conditioning stint and donned a Griffins jersey for the first time since April 11, 2009. He had a pair of shorthanded breakaways while taking a regular shift and finished with three shots.

Three Stars: 1. MIL Bitetto (two power play goals); 2. GR Nyquist (goal); 3. GR Hoggan (power play goal)

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