Amtrak Rival Chicago Continues Milwaukee’s Woes

With a week to prepare for a rivalry and a fresh face in the lineup, Milwaukee looked to break out of its January funk Friday night against Chicago at Allstate Arena.

Instead, the Wolves made it five losses in six games for the Admirals, pitching a 2-1 decision over the Admirals in an entertaining affair.

Former University of Wisconsin forward Michael Davies proved the difference maker for Chicago, picking up his second goal in as many games, then assisting on Bill Sweatt’s game winning goal with 61 seconds remaining in the second period.

Both goals came off of defense breakdowns by the Admirals. On the Wolves first tally, Nolan Baumgartner found a streaking Davies with a long pass eluding Milwaukee defenseman Scott Valentine. Davies then scored on his own rebound. On the second Admirals defenseman Jonathon Blum couldn’t handle a breaking Sweatt, who finished off Davies’ feed.

The Admirals lone goal came from All-Star snub Michael Latta (Milwaukee’s best player in the game), who had Blake Geoffrion’s centering pass go in off of him. Latta would add a fight in the third period.

The Admirals’ other star was Jeremy Smith, who turned in one of his best performances of the season by stopping 34 of 36 shots. However, Matt Climie was even better, allowing just one fluke-variety goal while saving 30 Milwaukee shots.

The loss makes it five in six games for the reeling Admirals, who return home Saturday night to face a Texas team that has won its last two games, including a 6-4 victory at Grand Rapids this evening. Milwaukee is now 20-13-0-1 on the season and stuck in a 3rd place tie in the Midwest Division with Peoria, which lost 2-1 to Houston tonight.

Notes for the Game:

-Not many thrills out of Brody Dupont in his season debut. Here are a couple of quotes from his interview with Aaron Sims prior to the game:

“This is going to be a full year process and I won’t be 100% until summer,” Dupont said. “The ankle is what it is, but conditioning wise I feel great and I am excited to (get into the lineup).”

-Latta’s tussle came at 7:48 mark of the third period with Chicago’s Byron Bitz. Latta scored the decision on the former Boston Bruins grinder in his second fight against the Wolves this season (strangely the only two of the season series).

-Bitz later took a penalty in the final minute. The Admirals mounted some chances, but ran out of time.

-Chicago registered more shots than Milwaukee for the first time in the eight game season series to date.

-Prior to the five losses in six game funk, the Admirals last win came against Chicago, 4-2 on home ice back on December 28. For more on the Amtrak rivalry, check out my feature this week on MilwaukeeAdmirals.com.

-Geoffrion remains without a goal in his ten games with Milwaukee. Not a good sign for a return trip to Nashville. Blum wasn’t much better.

-Friday was a former Badger reunion night in Rosemont. Davies and Geoffrion were linemates at Wisconsin, while Steven Reinprecht played from 1996-2000 at Madison before embarking on a 663-NHL game career.

-All three goals were scored in the second period. Milwaukee outshot Chicago 14-12 in the middle frame.

-The win is the Wolves’ fifth straight allowing Chicago (21-12-1-3) to move into a first place tie in the Midwest Division with idle Charlotte. The Wolves have two games in hand on the Checkers.

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