Milwaukee Admirals beat Griffins on New Year's Eve

John Leonard scored two goals, leading the Milwaukee Admirals to a 4-2 win over the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday, Dec. 31 at Van Andel Arena.

Milwaukee won its second straight game, both against the Griffins. It’s the first time the Admirals have won consecutive games since a three-game winning streak that started Nov. 26.

With the game tied 2-2 in the third period, Luke Evangelista scored a power-play goal at 11:53 to give the Admirals the lead. It was Evangelista’s fifth goal of the season and his second on the power play.

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Milwaukee scored the first goal of the game at 12:51 of the first period. Cole Schneider freed the puck along the right wing boards in the Griffins zone for Leonard. Leonard skated into the slot and snapped a shot over the left shoulder of goalie Jussi Olkinuora for his fifth goal of the season.

Grand Rapids tied the game after a couple good shifts just 1:03 after the Admirals goal. Pontus Andreasson’s shot from the left circle clanged off the crossbar over the right shoulder of Milwaukee goalie Devin Cooley to make the game 1-1.

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Late in the first frame, Cooley slid to his left to make a brilliant glove save on a Jakub Vrana one-timer. Soon thereafter, in the waning seconds of the period, Phil Tomasino sped into the offensive zone on a breakaway and scored his eighth of the season at 19:57.

The teams played 19:39 of scoreless hockey in the second period before Griffins defenseman Brian Lashoff’s shot from the left point found its way past Cooley to tie the score at 2-2.

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Leonard added an empty-net goal at 19:20 of the third period to close the scoring.

Cooley stopped 32 shots to earn the victory.

The Admirals return to Milwaukee Friday, Jan. 6 for a home game against the San Diego Gulls.