Wednesday night’s matchup pitted Jeremy Smith and the Admirals against former Team USA World Junior goalie Jack Campbell and the Texas Stars.
Campbell looked like he was back in Juniors stopping 23 of the 24 shots he faced, while Smitty made 25 of 27 saves.
It marked the first time the Admirals have been outshot this season, as they fell 3-1 and dropped to 2-3-0 overall.
The Admirals had made their living so far this season by coming back after surrendering the first goal. But Campbell’s finesse combined with a lot of time in the box built too big of a mountain for Milwaukee to climb.
The Ads came into the game ranked second in the league in penalty kill percentage on the road (88.2 percent). Nevertheless, following a tripping call on Patrick Cehlin, an early power play goal gave the Stars the lead.
After outshooting the Admirals 7-0 in the first five minutes, Texas got on the board when Travis Morin deflected a Francis Wathier pass in on the left post.
After becoming the first team in the AHL this season to not register a shot on goal in the first 15 minutes, the Ads quickly responded with seven in the final five.
The score stayed the same for the rest of the period and through the second, as more penalties from the Ads kept them out of the offensive zone longer than they were in it.
Coach Dean Evason had said he was happy with team’s discipline going in, but that was before the Ads allowed seven Texas power play opportunities after giving up just 17 all season.
On the other side of the ice, the Stars’ PK started the game last in the league at 60 percent, but the Admirals still couldn’t capitalize on their four power play opportunities.
Jamie Oleksiak scored his first professional goal at 10:46 of the third period to put the Stars up 2-0. He smartly trailed play, the puck dropped to him and he fired a wrister past Smith’s glove side.
The Admirals did finally get on the board late in the third.
A shot from the left point by Mattias Ekholm deflected off MVG’s skate and found the back of the net at 15:33 to cut the Texas lead in half.
Smitty headed for the bench with 56 seconds left, but Antoine Roussel quickly picked the puck off at center ice and fired home the game-clinching empty netter a few seconds later.
The loss wasn’t without its positives.
Captain Mike Moore had a nice night putting Francis Wathier on his back in his first fight with the Ads and taking a team-leading 4 shots for the game.
Van Guilder added to his hot streak picking up his second goal in as many games, and Ekholm recorded another assist. Ekholm continues to be one of the bright spots for the Admirals as a brilliant two-way threat thus far.
Milwaukee will finish up its Texas trip with a Saturday night rematch in Houston, before returning home on Halloween for its second game against the Checkers.