Admirals Cap Off Successful Road Trip; win 3-2 (OT)

(Photo Credit: Toronto Marlies // Twitter)

Joe Piskula and the Admirals have plenty to smile about ahead of the team’s Christmas break. They have now won three of their last four games. (Photo Credit: Toronto Marlies // Twitter)

The Admirals won 3-2 in overtime on the road against the Toronto Marlies Sunday afternoon. Taylor Aronson was the overtime hero today as his third goal of the season gave the Admirals their third win in four games. Not a bad road trip if I do say so myself.

It wasn’t a pretty start for the Admirals. After Viktor Arvidsson was called for holding Mike Liambas nearly was sent to the showers two-minutes into the game after a nasty boarding incident that put Stuart Percy down and out. The Marlies defenseman would not return to the game following the hit into the boards.

The two early penalties resulted in a lengthy 1:39 of five-on-three power-play for the Marlies and they were unable to cash in from it. However, they had a head of steam off of it and scored after a scramble in front of Magnus Hellberg. The initial shot by Carter Ashton was pushed aside but the puck spilled out and wasn’t found until Brandon Kozun cradled and fired into a near empty net for his second goal of the season.

The Admirals answered right back in the first period. Similar to the Marlies they were able to score after a rather lifeless power-play. Arvidsson was flattened by Matt Frattin to as the Swede got the puck out to Mark Van Guilder. It looked as if many were focused on the hit behind the play but, before the Marlies could react, Van Guilder passed over to Austin Watson on the opposite wing to score his twelfth goal of the season. Watson has scored a goal in four straight games for the Admirals.

In the second period the Admirals were able to take a 2-1 lead through Felix Girard’s third goal of the season. It was an innocent looking rush down the left wing by Girard who then decided to hit the brakes and fire on Antoine Bibeau in net. The shot was wired right into the roof.

Toronto’s twenty-seventh ranked power-play in the league then tied this game up at 2-2. Sam Carrick’s shot from the left point found the stick blade of Ryan Rupert en route to goal. The deflection beat Hellberg and Rupert scored his third goal of the season.

After a tennis match of a third period the game pushed on into overtime. The Marlies had the better of the chances made during the four-on-four portion of overtime but things were finished off in the three-on-three with just thirty seconds remaining in OT.

Colton Sissons faceoff win put himself in on goal. Bibeau disrupted Sissons bid but the puck fell back to Taylor Aronson at the top of the faceoff circles and his wrist shot flew in for his third goal of the season to cap off the Admirals four game road trip in style.

Hellberg’s start in net was his first taste of game action in eleven days. The rust didn’t show one bit. He made thirty-one saves against the Marlies and now has seven wins on the campaign with a stellar 1.50 goals against average and a 0.942 save percentage.

After losing seven straight games, dropping all five of a five game homestand, the Admirals went on a four game road trip and are coming home for Boxing Day with three wins. It would seem the ball is rolling the right way again.

Ramblings: Today’s scratches for the Admirals were exactly the same as last night against the Rochester Americans: Miikka Salomaki (illness), Garrett Noonan (healthy), and Johan Alm (upper body). Triston Grant played in his 600th game as a professional hockey player today. Marek Mazanec’s run of four consecutive starts in net finally came to an end today with Magnus Hellberg getting the back half of the two-in-two. Per Aaron Sims on Twitter: the Milwaukee Admirals players scheduled to get mumps booster shots today in Toronto.

Thoughts on today’s game? How were the Admirals able to bounce back with this four game road trip? What performances have been standing out from these road games and can the Admirals maintain this current momentum?

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Marlies: Scouting the Enemy

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Last year’s playoff meeting against the Toronto Marlies was, as displayed by Patrick Cehlin’s facial expression, scary. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

When last we met it was the Calder Cup Playoffs and these guys were white hot. The Toronto Marlies swept the Milwaukee Admirals out of the playoffs and it was all rather deflating. This could be viewed as a quasi-revenge game but I feel as if that match up was played out on opening night when the Admirals put five goals past Drew MacIntyre – who was really the monster that stopped anything and everything the Ads threw his way.

~Struggling~

The Marlies are having a hard go of things this season. They have a record of 10-15-3-0 (23 points) which has them a leg up on the Rochester Americans in the North Standings and twelfth in the Western Conference.

While the record isn’t great it certainly is something that can be turned around. That said, it is going to take some serious work. The Marlies goal differential this season is alarmingly bad: -25 goals (57 goals forced, 82 goals allowed). When they lose they seem to lose big time. Example. Last night the Marlies lost a road game to the Grand Rapids Griffins by a final score of 7-1.

~What’s What~

With such a wide goal differential you might think the goaltending is a major talking point. The truth is that things in net are fine. Christopher Gibson and Antoine Bibeau have been grinding away and doing quite well. Gibson has a 2.63 goals against average and a 0.911 save percentage. Bibeau has a 2.73 goals against average and a 0.915 save percentage.

The struggle lies with the Marlies offense. The Admirals have played one less game this season than the Marlies but have managed to score 17 goals more than Toronto.

Connor Brown is the go-to guy for the Marlies on offense and leads the team, as a rookie, with 22 points (8 goals, 14 assists) in 28 games. The next closest on the team is Spencer Abbott with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 24 games.

The Marlies are twenty-seventh in the AHL with a 12.4 conversion rate on the power-play. They also have the twenty-seventh rated penalty kill with a 79.1 success rate.

On paper, this match up is pretty close to what happened with yesterday’s game. Two teams with some hit and miss form looking to find a groove and get on a roll. The Admirals win vaulted them from fourth place to second place last night in the Midwest Divisonal standings with all teams not named the Rockford IceHogs tied at 31 points. It’s getting a bit wild ahead of the Christmas break. Both the Admirals and Marlies want to end on a high note.

Expectations for this afternoon’s game? Should the Admirals rotate in Magnus Hellberg on the back half of a two-in-two? What, if any, would you change to the Admirals lineup right now?

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We’ll Take It; Ads defeat Rochester 4-2

(Photo Credit: @TheAHL // Twitter)

Brendan Leipsic has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in his last 3 games. Is the offense coming back to life? (Photo Credit: @TheAHL // Twitter)

The Admirals won 4-2 on the road against the Rochester Americans Saturday night. It wasn’t pretty. It was actually quite a hot mess. But, for how things have been going lately, who cares! The Admirals overcame a 2-0 deficit before winning this game in a period that saw them only record three shots on goal.

It was the Amerks that did the early damage. They scored two goals from their first three shots and scored them twenty-five seconds apart from one another.

Directly off of a faceoff the home-side picked up the opening goal after the faceoff was kicked behind Felix Girard. Ian White made a bad read on the faceoff and went left as the puck fell to Joel Armia to the right of him. Armia had the time and space to flip back on his backhand and beat Marek Mazanec to score his seventh goal of the season.

Only twenty-five seconds later the Admirals were tossing a puck out of their own net again. Zac Dalpe was racing along the right wing wall and drew the attention of four Admirals on the ice. Dalpe lost his balance and made an amazing pass while spinning on his back to find Tim Schaller breaking down the slot. The only man tracking Schaller was Brendan Leipsic but the damage was done before he could have any say. Schaller scored a wrister to make it 2-0 off of his eighth goal of the season.

In the second period a big check by Matt MacKenzie on Girard caught the eye of Mike Liambas. This was a quick scrap directly following the hit and Liambas got a few blows on before earning a take down. This is one of those instances where I feel like throwing a fight card out the window because, even though it wasn’t called on the ice, it was an instigator job from Liambas protecting his teammate. Like Girard on the check, I’m not sure MacKenzie knew what hit him.

The Admirals made a nice push following the bout by Liambas. Joe Pendenza, not a regular on the Admirals power-play, had a great chance to score from out in front of Andrey Makarov on an early power-play bid that was shot off the pads. He was put right back on the next power-play and scored off of a redirection with four seconds left in an Admirals power-play to score his fifth goal of the season.

With how the Admirals have been playing of late you might have thought a goal like this would have happened against them. Instead, another team in a miserable run had the bad bounce beat them. Leipsic appeared to be skating up to center ice to shoot the puck deep and finish his shift. Instead, the puck clipped the stick blade of Jake McCabe and managed to fool Makarov in net and go in. Fluke or not it goes down as Leipsic’s fourth goal of the season.

Just over a minute into the third period the Admirals took a 3-2 lead. Leipsic wired a stretch pass that sent Colton Sissons off on a breakaway. He stayed near post and beat Makarov to the glove-side to score his eighth goal of the season and give the Admirals their first lead of the night.

The Admirals managed to seal this game up with an empty net tally for Austin Watson. It’s his eleventh goal of the season, third goal in three games, and third empty netter. Another fun stat to think about. The Admirals scored twice in the third period to win tonight. They only registered three shots on goal in the frame.

A well-deserved shout out must be given to Mazanec for his efforts in net tonight. He may have allowed two goals in rapid succession in the first period but was lights out from that point forward – making twenty-eight saves when all was said and done. He’s been in net over Magnus Hellberg these last four games not necessarily as a knock on Hellberg but just because of how solid Mazanec has played recently. While plenty of poor performances have been happening on this spell for the Admirals it’s hard to point a finger at the performance in net.

If there was one moment in the game that the Amerks will be tearing their hair out over tonight it shouldn’t be the Leipsic long range howler. It should be their failed conversion of a full two-minute five-on-three power-play in the first period when they had scored two-goals so quickly. The Admirals were pressing. Mark Van Guilder even played the bulk of the penalty kill without a stick. And the Amerks couldn’t do anything. Game changer.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches included Miikka Salomaki (illness), Garrett Noonan (healthy), and Johan Alm (upper body). Marek Mazanec made his fourth consecutive start in net for the Admirals. The last time he did such a feat was at the start of this season when he made five straight starts in the Admirals first five games.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? Could the fluke goal for Brendan Leipsic symbolize that the bounces are going to start going the Admirals way? Where would the Admirals be right now without Marek Mazanec and Magnus Hellberg in net? Has quality goaltending bailed the Admirals out of massive struggles this season?

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Americans: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Rochester Americans // flickr)

The Rochester Americans photo gallery is so out of date the last game gallery featured on their flickr account sees our captain Joe Piskula playing for an AHL team that doesn’t exist anymore. (Photo Credit: Rochester Americans // flickr)

Tonight the Admirals are looking for a bounce back performance with a road game against the Rochester Americans. If there is any other team in the AHL who could sympathize with recent struggles it’d be the Amerks who have gone 3-7-0-0 (6 points) in their last 10 games. They are currently seated last in the North Division and are second to last in the Western Conference. Something should give for someone tonight, right?

~Battle Between the Pipes~

 When looking at the Amerks issues this season you end up looking at the amount of goals they have allowed. They have scored 81 goals, not too shabby, but allowed 91 goals… only the St. John’s IceCaps (101 goals) and Norfolk Admirals (95 goals) have allowed more this season.

In net, they have had a tandem of just two goaltenders all season: Andrey Makarov and Nathan Lieuwen. The split between the two for games played is a difference of just one game with the rookie Makarov leading the way. The Russian has a record of 7-8-1-0 from 17 appearances this season with a 2.81 goals against average and a 0.912 save percentage. Meanwhile, Lieuwen appears to be having a regression style season (at least by the numbers): 4-9-0-0 record, 3.29 goals against average, 0.883 save percentage.

~The ‘Merican Offense~

There are four players really pacing the Amerks on offense: Phil VaroneJohan LarssonMikhail Grigorenko, and Tim Schaller. All have had good offensive seasons to date and, with the trade that was made sending their go-to offensive guy Luke Adam in a deal to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it’s nice to see for a Rochester perspective.

Varone was great last season. He is doing great again: 24 points (7 goals, 17 assists). That’s the player I wouldn’t want to see single-handedly taking it to the Admirals tonight.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? How important is it that the Admirals win these next two games against, on paper, lesser opponents? Will Marek Mazanec make his fourth consecutive start in net for the Admirals tonight? Scoreline prediction?

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There And Back Again: A Stålberg Saga

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Well this has been a fun time in the life of Viktor Stålberg hasn’t it? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Yesterday we had the news in regards to Viktor Stålberg being placed on waivers by the Nashville Predators. The waivers process was completed and he was assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. Then came an M. Night Shyamalan level twist and he is heading right back to Nashville after Paul Gaustad was placed on injured reserved this afternoon.

Stålberg’s last twenty-four hours sort of sum up his season, quite possible his entire tenure, with the Predators. What a wild ride. This season he has played only 5 games in the NHL and has no offensive output to speak of. This may come through the injuries he started off with and tried to work out, but it just hasn’t gone well for him ever since he signed that four-year $12 million contract back in the summer of 2013.

Were he to have joined the Admirals, which he was about to, he would have been joining a team that he played 4 games with and tallied 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) before Brennan Evans decided to layeth the smackdown knee on knee to sideline him until this point in the season. Now that Gaustad is on IR, due to a lower-body injury that has kept him out the past three games, it is up to Stålberg to show not just the Predators he deserves his place on the roster… but each and every team in the NHL who didn’t claim him just what they were missing.

Thoughts on this wild ride for Viktor Stålberg? With the injury to Paul Gaustad, was Stålberg the ideal candidate to be called up to the NHL off the Milwaukee Admirals pool of players?

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The KHL Financial Crisis

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Could Vladislav Kamenev be destined for Nashville/Milwaukee in the not so distant future? (Source: Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Earlier today, Admirals Roundtable Editor-in-Cheif Daniel Lavender, offered some terrific reporting on former/future Admirals during his where are they now update.

To expand on Lavender’s post, I thought I would bring up a little situation that is brewing half a world away in the Kontinental Hockey League, which might (also might not) have a huge impact on the future of the NHL/AHL.

The mainly Russian-based KHL is suffering quite a bit right now with the collapse of the ruble, combined with Russia’s economic santions resulting from the Ukraine crisis, all tied into that country’s oil-dominated economy. Many players that went to Russia over the past few years looking for big pay days in the “K” and low taxs are feeling the heat right now as their contracts are now worth about half of what they were this past summer.

Some teams are being rumored to fold up shop during the season (even in the good times very few KHL teams are actually profitable, a situation that never made much sense to me in the first place).

What does this all mean? Well some NHL prospects currently playing Russia, might be on their way over to North America sooner than later. A couple of notables with ties to the Admirals/Predators playing in the KHL right now are defenseman Joonas Järvinen and prospect Vladislav Kamenev, Nashville’s second pick (42nd overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

From my knowledge Kamenev’s team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, is one of the league’s more stable franchises (they are also the defending KHL Champions, coached by “iron” Mike Keenan), but this situation is certainly something worth keeping abreast of. Usually, Milwaukee or other AHL teams rarely are development ground for Russian players with interest in playing in the NHL. Same goes for a lot of Finns, Swedes and so on, with the obvious exception being Milwaukee.

However, if the financial benefits to playing in the KHL continue to go south, expect a lot of international players to start looking for other playing options.

Here are a few more tweets in regards to the ongoing Russian financial/KHL crisis:

So Roundtable . . . Any thoughts on the crisis in the KHL? Are there any players currently overseas that you would like to see back in North America?

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The Then & Now Report

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This is Joonas Jarvinen. He’s an intense fella on the ice. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

There certainly could be a rant in regards to last night’s 4-3 defeat to the Lake Erie Monsters. It was an ugly looking game that seemed to sucker punch the Admirals after their 4-0 shutout on Tuesday that appeared to be a return to form. Sadly that wasn’t that case.

As optimistically as I can put it. This spell is still a good thing as far as the learning process is concerned for so many of the prospects on the Admirals roster. The good start was just that. But it is seeing these players overcoming adversity, time and time again, that will help long term. The rest of the teams in the AHL have gotten better since the start of the season. So must the Admirals. The answer as to “how” they get out of this funk may just define their season.

~The Then & Now Report~

In another effort to get all of our minds off of last night’s game I thought it would be fun to look at some recent and (possibly) future Admirals. Plenty of names worth discussing and worth giving a look. Let’s start with some former Admirals to start things out.

Then

Scott Ford. What better place to start than with The Sheriff? Since joining the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL he has played 6 games, tallied an assist, has a plus/minus rating of +1, has 12 penalty minutes, and 2 fights.

Braden Pimm. Why talk about him? Because, fun fact, he remains teammates with fellow  Fort St. John, BC native Ford with those very same South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. Pimm has played in 20 games, is fourth on the Stingrays in scoring with 12 points (7 goals, 5 assists), and has 8 penalty minutes.

Michael Young. Hey! Remember this guy? He made his professional playing debut with the Milwaukee Admirals last season and was injured in that debut, never to be seen again. At least not until this season where he, you guessed it, joined the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. How trendy? He was actually a roster camp invitee of the Boston Bruins in pre-season. Thus far with the Stingrays he has played 9 games, hasn’t produced offensively, and is a -7 player.

Kirill Gotovets. Hey! Another “remember this guy?” player. He wasn’t really sure how he even became an Admiral last season but, like Young, made his professional playing debut as a member of the Admirals. This season he has been a member of the Indy Fuel of the ECHL and has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games.

Joonas Järvinen. I was always a fan of Järvinen. He was a no nonsense stay at home style defenseman that could hit like a hammer and just seemed to be getting better. He joined the newly formed  HK Sochi of the KHL in the off-season and… well, I wonder if he is dreaming of Milwaukee. In 29 games he has an assist, 20 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus rating of -11… which is a 25 point drop off compared to his last season as an Admiral… oof..

Bryan Rodney. The man I nicknamed “Thunderdome” due to his hit and miss, hot and cold, fan reception joined HC Bolzano in Austria in October. He has played 19 games, scored 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists), and has 14 penalty minutes.

Charles-Olivier Roussel. Another likable guy on this list – it has actually proved to be a busy year for Rouss on the loose. He had signed an ECHL deal with the Utah Grizzlies in late September but found himself traded in November to another ECHL squad in the Greenville Road Warriors. In total, his ECHL numbers this season read as such: 21 games, 7 points (1 goal, 6 assists), 8 penalty minutes, and a -2 rating.

Vinny Saponari. He signed a deal with the Hartford Wolf Pack in September and has spent the majority of this season in the ECHL with Roussel and the Greenville Road Warriors. He did get a quick AHL stint where he picked up an assist in 3 games. Yet, it’s been mainly ECHL duty to this point: 17 points (7 goals, 10 assists) in 22 games.

Scott Valentine. Last season ended on a sad note for Valentine. He had a shoulder injury that required surgery and he ended up missing the playoffs. He healed up and signed with the Idaho Steelheads of the ECHL before getting signed to an AHL contract by the Texas Stars exactly one month later. He has played 10 games for the Stars and has himself 29 penalty minutes so far.

Kevin Henderson. Similar to Ford and Pimm. Let’s stay on the same team! Henderson remains with the Texas Stars, who he won last year’s Calder Cup with, after Nashville shipped him off at the start of the season. He has a single assist from 16 games. 4 penalty minutes, and a -4 rating. In his 15 game stint with the Stars last season he had 9 points (5 goals, 4 assists).

Paul Crowder. The man with the longest neck in the entire world, probably, joined the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL) and Fort Wayne Komets (ECHL) ahead of the 2014-15 season. His season, like most, has been spent at the ECHL level where he has played 17 games for the Komets, scored 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists), and has 4 penalty minutes

Simon Moser. He wasn’t happy that he wasn’t guaranteed his place on the Nashville Predators NHL roster. So he said, “something something I’m going home.” It’s proving to be a very poor decision on his part because a combination of injuries and bad form has seen him play 9 games for Bern in his native Switzerland and register no points of offense and 4 penalty minutes.

Joonas Rask. Meanwhile, in another tale of going home, Tuukka’s brother is finding some success in his return to Liiga in Finland. He joined fellow former-Admiral Juuso Puustinen at HIFK and has produced 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists), 2 penalty minutes, and is a +12 player in 23 league games. His team is also in the Champion’s Hockey League and Rask has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 4 games.

Francis Wathier. The man we saw effectively get swapped for with Henderson and the Texas Stars last season was a nice addition in the late goings of last season’s playoff push. He joined the Portland Pirates in October on a PTO contract before making the deal an official contract to last the rest of this season. He has played 20 games for the Pirates and has 3 assists and 10 penalty minutes.

That’s last year’s group. Certainly worth looking at many more. Whether it is looking at someone such as Michael Latta who has been up with the Washington Capitals all season. Alexander Radulov getting sent airborne. There’s been some pretty good stuff going on.

There are a certain few players worth keeping a major eye out for. The recent draft class for the Nashville Predators was a solid one. To boot, there is another outstanding Finnish goaltending making major strides in the pipeline.

Now

Kevin Fiala. The 11th overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft has 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 20 games for HV71 in the SHL this season. He certainly looked impressive in the Predators pre-season. At 18-years old he’s probably playing his final season of hockey in Europe.

Vladislav Kamenev. This was the first of two second round draft selections in the 2014 NHL Draft for the Preds. Kamenev, another 18-year old forward prospect, has produced 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) in 31 games for Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the KHL.

Jack Dougherty. This would of course be the second of those second round picks by the Preds. For all you Wisconsin based readers, you could skip this section and cheer this defenseman on the flip-side of the calendar when the Wisconsin Badgers season gets back and running. (side note. You think the Admirals run is bad? Look at the Badgers record this season.) Dougherty has played in 10 games, is a -11 player, and has 2 points (1 goal, 1 assist).

Justin Kirkland. Another one of the forwards selected by the Predators in the 2014 NHL Draft, Kirkland has tallied 21 points (9 goals, 12 assists) in 24 games for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He has some work to do if he wants to match Colton Sissons numbers for the Rockets, though.

Juuse Saros. This Finnish netminder is in his second full season of professional hockey for HPK in Liiga… at 19-years old. This season he has a 2.30 goals against average and a  0.924 save percentage in 24 games. Last season he had a ridiculous 1.76 goals against average in 44 games. Just another quality European goalie in the Predators system.

What players are you most excited to see coming through the ranks in the Nashville Predators prospect pipeline? Any former Admirals you still following? Are there any names listed above, who played last season in Milwaukee, that you wish we kept?

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The Return of Anguish; Admirals lose 4-3

(Photo Credit: Lake Erie Monsters // flickr)

“But why don’t the Admirals shoot the puck,” Roman Will pondered to himself. (Photo Credit: Lake Erie Monsters // flickr)

The Admirals lost 4-3 on the road against the Lake Erie Monsters Thursday night. This game saw the Admirals lose a two-goal lead that they established in the first period before withering under relentless pressure from the home-side Lake Erie.

This game may have started with a good minute of in-zone pressure and a power-play for the Admirals but the Monsters quickly found themselves up in faceoff wins and shots. Against the run of play, Taylor Aronson threw a puck from the blue line and into traffic standing in front of Roman Will’s net. The puck was redirected by Felix Girard and put the Admirals up 1-0 on his third goal of the season.

For a second consecutive game the Admirals tallied a power-play goal. Pontus Åberg was the last man at the end of a great series of quick passes to put away his team leading eleventh goal of the season. Brendan Leipsic’s primary assist was a quick one-touch pass to Åberg on the opposite wing after getting a puck from Miikka Salomaki.

Åberg was then on the receiving end of something else. Mitchell Heard hit the Swede from behind and sent him head first into the boards. This triggered Jimmy Oligny to drop the gloves with Heard and, fight card-wise, it was an even bout. Oligny fell down initially but regained his balance and both put in some decent work on each other. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the AHL reviews the hit Heard dished out on Åberg.

With under three minutes remaining in the second period the Monsters finally put a puck past Marek Mazanec. Sam Henley’s rush into the zone was disrupted when he lost control of the puck which proceeded to skip around the skates of Aronson and Oligny. Heard was in the right place at the right time to control and fire a wrist shot to the glove side of Mazanec to score his second goal of the season to tighten the Admirals lead to 2-1.

In the third period Salomaki was caught in the face by Stefan Elliott’s stick. He went down hard and left the ice with his blood on it and in quite distress. The resulting four minute power-play came and went with an added four-on-four section following a slashing call against Rich Clune.

Then the second fight of the game broke out after a drive to the Monsters net between Girard and Maxim Noreau. The two grappled and didn’t seem to quite land anything. Girard gets bonus points for the firm take down. As far as fights go. There wasn’t too much in this one.

After wave upon wave upon wave of Monsters offensive pressure they finally equalized. The Admirals had iced the puck and the resulting faceoff was won, spun, and fired in on Mazanec by the Monsters. Heard’s shot to the net was deflected by Paul Carey for his seventh goal of the season to make it 2-2.

The countless waves of attack by the Monsters were then met with some serious mental errors on the part of the Admirals. Salomaki, in his own attacking zone, was called for a slash after knocking a stick out of the hands on a backcheck. It took forty-four second into that power-play but the rifle shot of Elliot put the Monsters up 3-2 with only 1:56 left in regulation. The goal for Elliot goes down as his seventh of the season.

It was then very apparent that the Admirals brains had switched off entirely. Only twenty-four seconds after allowing the go-ahead goal the Admirals went from trailing by one-goal to two-goals. Mazanec hadn’t even had the chance to get out of his net for the last ditch push before Andrew Agozzino zipped his fourth goal of the season in to make it 4-2 in a matter of seconds.

Despite this deflated third period, that only saw four shots on goal, the Admirals managed to claw one back with fifty-five seconds remaining. Åberg hammered a shot from the point and found a deflection from Austin Watson to make it a 4-3 game on the strength of the Michigan native’s tenth goal of the season.

In the end, the Admirals dropped their tenth decision in twelve games. They have only seven points from their last twelve games and continue to sputter in form. From the highs of Tuesday. To the lows of tonight. It is getting to the point when you just do not know which Admirals team is going to show up anymore.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals included the likes of Joe Pendenza, Garrett Noonan, and Johan Alm. Ian White made his Admirals debut tonight. He was paired with Anthony Bitetto at the start of the game and appeared to hop around quite a bit.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? How deflating is this result given last game’s performance and the Admirals first period effort? Who is to blame for the lack of energy and creativity in tonight’s contest? What could have been done to slow down the Lake Erie Monsters pressure?

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News of the Day: OKC Folding; Stalberg on Waivers; Milwaukee Streaking?

(Photo Credit: Lake Erie Monsters // flickr)

Just like every other Lake Erie power play on Tuesday, this one came and went in vain thanks to great work from Admirals captain Joe Piskula and goaltender Marek Mazenec. (Photo Credit: Lake Erie Monsters // flickr)

Remember when the only thing you could complain about as an Admirals supporter was that the team wasn’t in first place in it’s own division?

That sadly wasn’t a very long time ago, which shows how fast AHL teams can lose ground when they only earn two points in a seven-game stretch. As of Tuesday morning Milwaukee wasn’t even in the playoffs and needed a regulation win against Lake Erie to pass their Midwest Division rival from Cleveland to move back in.

Thanks to a 4-0 shutout of the Monsters, Bessie has fallen back below water (aka the eligible playoff team line) and Milwaukee and Lake Erie switched spots in the both the division and conference standings.

This time around the Admirals are gunning to start a winning streak. Prior to Tuesday’s win Milwaukee’s last victory came back on November 26 (pre-Thanksgiving) in a 4-1 beatdown of Chicago, aka the famed Rich Clune hate, hate, hating on the Wolves game.

Meanwhile, the Admirals’ last winning streak? That requires a Mr. Peabody and Sherman way back machine to go all the way back to Nov. 21 when the Admirals survived the Wolves 3-2 in overtime for their third straight “W“. Therefore, in the famous words of Major League Skipper Lou Brown, it has happened before:

In fact the schedule sets itself up well for Milwaukee to turn things around and begin remembering just how good a team they can be.

After tonight’s second pit stop in Cleveland, the Admirals roll out to Rochester (currently 13th in the West at 10-17-1-0) and then to Toronto for a little playoff payback (currently 12th in the West at 10-13-3-0), before returning home after Christmas. At the very worst the following two games are not within the Midwest Division, where five the conference’s 10 best squads reside.

~Oklahoma City is Folding~

In other news, the Oklahoma City Barons have decided to cease operations at the end of the season. The team just recently lost coach Todd Nelson, who was promoted to interim coach with OKC’s NHL affiliate, Edmonton, when the Oilers fired Dallas Eakins.

Via TSN’s Darren Dreger, big realignment changes are afloat for the AHL. Take a look at his latest series of tweets:

~Stalberg Placed on Waivers for Purposes of Returning to Milwaukee~

The Nashville Predators placed Viktor Stålberg on waivers today ahead of the Holiday roster freeze. The Predators intend to have the oft-injured forward clear waivers and reach Milwaukee:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the team has placed forward Viktor Stalberg on waivers with the intention of assigning him to the American Hockey League’s Milwaukee Admirals.

After missing six weeks of action due to a knee injury, Stalberg is prepared to return to action. The move was necessary before the team heads out for its final three games before the holiday break.

“A couple of injuries early in the season have prevented this from being the season Viktor trained all summer for,” General Manager David Poile said. “He has worked hard to return to the lineup. With Paul Gaustad and Taylor Beck day-to-day and still on our 23-man roster, the best option for Viktor and the organization at this time is to place Viktor on waivers with the hope that he will clear, go to Milwaukee to play games and continue his efforts to be ready for NHL game action.”

So Roundtable . . . Do you think Milwaukee can get a winning streak started during this all-important road trip? What do you think of the rumored new AHL West Division? Are you expecting Stalberg to clear waivers and rejoin Milwaukee?

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Admirals Sign Ian White to PTO Contract

The Milwaukee Admirals have officially added veteran defenseman Ian White on a PTO contract. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The Milwaukee Admirals have officially added veteran defenseman Ian White on a PTO contract. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

After some ramblings on Twitter in regards to this roster move taking place it is now official. The Milwaukee Admirals have signed veteran defenseman Ian White to a professional try-out contract (PTO).

Press Release via Milwaukee Admirals:

The Admirals have announced today that they have signed veteran defenceman Ian White to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO).

Ian White is an NHL veteran with over 500 games and (45-134) 179 points. He was drafted in 2002 by the Toronto Maple Leafs and made his NHL debut in 2005. He has also played for the Calgary Flames, Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks, and most recently the Detroit Red Wings during the 2012-2013 season.This season he has one goal and two assists with the Providence Bruins.

The Milwaukee Admirals next game is against the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday night in Cleveland and the Admirals return to play their next home game on Friday December 26th against Chicago at 7pm.

This move not only adds a veteran presence to the team but a well-needed right handed shot to the Admirals defense. Keep in mind, of all that has been rolled out this season, only Taylor Aronson has a right shot from the Admirals blue line.

White hasn’t played too many games these last few seasons. During the lockout season of 2012-13 he played 25 games for the Detroit Red Wings and then only 10 games for Traktor Chelyabinsk of the KHL last season. He is coming fresh off of a nice PTO stint with the Providence Bruins though: 9 games, 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists), 4 penalty minutes, and a plus/minus of -3.

He should be taking part in tomorrow night’s contest when the Admirals scrap with the Lake Erie Monsters. By doing so it would be his 155th career appearance in the AHL. White already has 503 career games of NHL playing experience.

Thoughts on the addition of Ian White? What are your impressions of the Admirals signing a veteran defenseman? What impact can he have and what does it mean for the younger defenseman that will be losing a spot in his place?

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