That wasn’t the start we were hoping for.
Another loss (one very similar to last Friday’s 5-2 contest against Chicago) ended a week-long break for Milwaukee and kicked off the stretch of six home games in 10 days.
Depite a glimmer of hope right out of the gates, the Ads’ offense ultimately started slow and wasn’t able to recover after digging a big hole despite a well-played third period.
Milwaukee’s newest face, left winger Michael Liambas, started his AHL career with a bang. On just his second shift, Liambas dropped the gloves to announce his presence and showcase his knack for fighting. In the end, Liambas pulled the taller Ryley Grantham to the ice.
Coach Dean Evason talked about what Liambas brought early and the role he expects him to play.
Cam Reid opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games about three minutes later. Taylor Beck fed Reid with a nice pass from behind the net and he put it in past Matt Hackett easily.
The Aeros answered at 11:09 when Justin Fontaine fired an unassisted shot from the slot that beat Jeremy Smith cleanly.
With 5:39 left in the period, Jason Zucker was called for roughing, giving the Ads their first power play. Just a few seconds in, however, a diving Chris Mueller unintentionally tipped a pass to Houston’s Carson McMillan that set up a 2-on-1 rush the other way.
McMillan fed it to MacDonald and MacDonald whipped it back to McMillan who beat Smitty right in front for the shorty.
The next 20 minutes were pretty uneventful as the Ads killed off a five-minute boarding penalty to Daniel Bang and whiffed on a couple of power play chances.
Houston added to its lead with 1:14 left in the second period when Zucker fired a wrister from the left circle that went in off Smitty’s glove. Milwaukee finished up the second down 14-4 in shots.
It didn’t get much better seconds into the third, when Kyle Medvec made it 4-1 on a shot behind Smith from the far left.
At 3:19, the Ads showed some life, finally scoring on the power play when Austin Watson pulled off a spinning shot from point blank. Austin Watson swats in the goal. Try saying that five times.
Despite outshooting Houston 15-6 in the final 20 minutes, the Ads couldn’t rally. Smith left the net with about 2 minutes left, but Fontaine grabbed an empty netter to seal the deal with 1:08 left.
Evason said the team’s sense of urgency really needs to improve as these last two games have shown.
The loss was a blown chance to gain ground on the Aeros who currently sit in the eighth spot in the West. With five games left in the homestand, Evason reiterated that Milwaukee needs to capitalize on home ice.
Coach said the lack of offense was more to blame for the loss than Smitty’s night, but what did you think? He made some big saves, but were those goals against all good ones in your opinion?
What did you think of Liambas in a Milwaukee uni for the first time? He obviously showed a lot of physicality, but made some really nice plays on the puck as well.