Pressure situations are nothing new for the Milwaukee Admirals, who will be playing their fourth winner-take-all game in the last three postseasons today.

Head coach Karl Taylor knew his team was in for a fight, so it’s no surprise the Central Division Finals are coming down to a Game 5.

“It’s hard to win this time of year,” Taylor told reporters after Milwaukee’s 4-2 loss in Game 4 on Friday night. “It’s disappointing but the good news is we’ve got another game to play.”

The Admirals built a 2-0 lead in the second period of Game 4 but couldn’t extend it further, failing to score during three minutes and 11 seconds of 5-on-3 power play time. Grand Rapids pulled out the win by scoring four times in quick succession during the third period.

“They’re a good team. They pushed back,” Taylor said. “We played a really smart, mature game. And unfortunately we didn’t get it done.

“There are five teams left out of 32. We’re excited to play [tonight].”

Joel L’Esperance was in the middle of the Griffins’ Game 4 comeback, scoring the tying goal on a power play with 10:27 remaining.

“We found some emotion, and we got some big goals at a big time,” the Michigan native told reporters after the game.

“We have a relentless group here. We can be down two, three goals and we know we have a chance.”

During the second intermission on Friday, head coach Dan Watson reminded his team to stay focused.

“Now it’s our time to not get too high,” he said, looking ahead today’s deciding game. “Make sure that we stay level. What we talked about after the game is remembering the feeling, remembering the emotion, remembering the intensity. Remembering how hard it was.”

L’Esperance echoed his coach’s message. “You don’t want to ride that high too long, but you want to hold onto that feeling that we had.”

“You want to talk about a hard Game 4?” Watson said. “Just wait until Game 5 in their building.”

― with files from Patrick Williams


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