Two nights after Milwaukee scored five goals in a win over Charlotte, the Admirals had a hard time getting anything past Calvin Pickard.
While the Ads launched a season-high 43 shots on goal against the Lake Erie Monsters, good, quality shots were few and when they were there Pickard swallowed them up.
Things were looking good for Milwaukee early in the game as it got the first goal for the first time this season courtesy of Michael Latta.
Latta was able to position himself in front of Pickard and put back a rebound off a hard slap shot from Mike Moore at 12:24 of the opening period.
The goal came on a power play that then allowed the Admirals to infiltrate what coach Dean Evason calls the “dirty area.” For the rest of the way, however, the Monsters’ defense was thick in the middle, forcing the Admirals to try and engineer chances from the perimeter.
The Monsters crashed the net and tied the game with 47 seconds left in the first when Brian Lerg collected the bouncing puck and put it past a diving Jeremy Smith.
Smitty had a tough night holding onto the puck, but Evason was hesitant to blame the loss on him given the fact he only allowed two scores.
After a scoreless second period, the game came down to a costly turnover by Mattias Ekholm that led to a wild shorthanded goal with 11:56 left to play.
After Ekholm coughed it up, a sprawling Luke Walker kept a 2-on-1 chance alive by flinging the puck to Paul Carey who knuckled it back to Walker cross-ice to beat Smith at the other end of the net.
Here’s Ekholm on the play.
Smitty headed for the bench with a little under two minutes remaining, but Pickard wouldn’t be beat and the tight Lake Eerie defense kept the puck out of the offensive zone as the final seconds ticked away.
As they often do in close contests, Evason said the turnovers made all the difference.
Some positives from the night: Laata picked up the third star after a solid showing. He was at the center of some good scoring chances and was rewarded for one, and in an early scrap he landed some big blows on Brad Malone.
Evason said the team is obviously looking forward to putting this one behind them but learning from it.
The Ads won’t have long to dwell on the 2-1 loss anyway, as they head to Peoria tonight to take on their old buddy Scott Ford and the Rivermen.