The Grand Rapids Griffins, the Detroit Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, are heading to the second round of the post-season thanks to a series sweep of the Nashville Predators-affiliated Milwaukee Admirals, but they should also be thankful for the keen eye of the officiating crew working Game 3 of their first-round series.
The Griffins fell behind early on a goal by Admirals winger Adam Payerl, but stormed back on two goals in the first three minutes of the second period by defenseman Brian Lashoff and winger Anthony Mantha. The Griffins may have been lucky to get both goals up on the scoreboard, though, given that both pucks were shot hard enough to burst through the net in almost the exact same spot.
Lashoff’s goal, especially, caught some off guard. The goal isn’t shown in the AHL-provided game highlights, and it’s only thanks to the Griffins that there’s footage of the puck breaking through the net at all. Take a look:
Play continued on after Lashoff’s shot for at least half a minute, but at the next whistle Lashoff’s shot went under review and it was determined that the blueliner’s blast got past Admirals goaltender Marek Mazanec and had enough on it to break through the mesh. Less than two minutes later, it was Mantha’s turn to fire a puck past Mazanec’s blocker, and this shot found the same spot in the net, going clean through the netting just as Lashoff’s had.
Thankfully, the officials didn’t waste any time blowing the play dead, and Mantha’s shot was quickly ruled a goal. It was an important one, too, because Mantha’s goal to make it 2-1 was enough for the Griffins to lock up the series.
Mantha would add a second goal late in the second period and winger Colin Campbell would notch his first of the post-season midway through the third frame as Grand Rapids swept Milwaukee with a 4-1 victory.
The Griffins, who have made it to the second round in each of the past three seasons, now have a date with the Lake Erie Monsters, who are the farm club for the Columbus Blue Jackets. And as impressive as shots ripping through the net are, let’s hope the Griffins test the meshing before the second round begins.