There are not many A.M. starts on the AHL calender. After the performance the Admirals endured after their early wake up call Tuesday morning, Milwaukee should be hoping to avoid another.
Well rested Peoria, playing in front of 7,082 at Carver Arena, gave the Admirals a beat down reminiscent of elementary school bully. Riding a stretch of four straight goals after Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead, the Rivermen cruised to a 6-3 victory.
The flaming hot Chris Mueller picked up his 19th of the season just over seven minutes in to draw the Admirals first blood, but that’s when the vaunted Peoria power play went to work. Extra man tallies by Danny Syvret and Phil McRae gave the Rivermen their first lead, then captain Adam Cracknell and AHL dynamo T. J. Hensick (the AHL’s third leading scorer with 50 points) made it 4-1 just under five minutes into the third period.
Defenseman Victor Bartley and forward Ryan Thang gave Milwaukee some life in the third period with respective goals, but Cracknell’s second and Jonathan Cheechoo’s empty netter sunk the Admirals ship.
At points the game resembled a shooting gallery on Milwaukee goaltender Jeremy Smith, who stopped 34 of 39 shots. Jake Allen made 27 stops for Peoria to earn the win.
Lots of disappointments for Milwaukee. Jonathon Blum certainly played like he could have used more sleep as he finished with just one assist and played as a -3. Similar morning for Teemu Laakso (-2). Neither looked ready to return to Nashville anytime soon.
The lone Milwaukee highlight: A fight by Admirals defenseman Jeff Foss seemed to spark a resurgence in the third period. Still Milwaukee managed just eight shots in the final frame.
With the win Peoria moves within one point of Milwaukee and Chicago at 21-19-2-1. This is Peoria’s third straight win over Milwaukee after the Admirals won the first five games of the season series all in regulation.
Milwaukee slips to 22-16-1-1 (just 8-10-0-1 playing away from the Bradley Center), winning just one game on its four-game road trip.
At least Milwaukee gets to return home for a game against Chicago on Friday night.
So Roundtable . . . Some questions for discussion:
1) What did you think of the morning start and did you get to watch/listen to the game?
2) Do you think the early start effected Milwaukee’s play?
3) Can the Admirals overcome a struggling a penalty kill and poor road record and still make the playoffs, or do these problems need to be fixed pronto?