Milwaukee bounces back to take 2 of 3 in hat trick weekend

Photo Courtesy of Milwaukee Admirals

Photo Courtesy of Milwaukee Admirals

Saturday should’ve been Michael Liambas’ special night. The recent Admirals acquisition celebrated his 23rd birthday yesterday, but an 8-2 loss to Charlotte wasn’t the best gift.

Fortunately, his time to blow out the candles came Sunday as Liambas scored the game-winner in the third period of Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory over Abbotsford. It was his first career AHL goal in just his sixth career AHL game.

Despite Juuso Puustinen’s calls for the puck, Liambas saw his shot and took it, a theme the Ads have been trying to stress recently. A grinning Puusty joked about it after the game.

“I was calling for it, saying pass to me, pass to me,” Puustinen said from the side during Liambas’ postgame interview. “But he wants to be the hero tonight. And I’m cool with that.”

The Admirals were more than happy to put last night’s loss behind them, returning to winning form Sunday against the Heat.

The victory was Milwaukee’s fourth in five games, keeping Dean Evason’s two out of three campaign alive and kicking.

It was another solid start for Magnus Hellberg after getting the rest Saturday night. He won his fourth in a row stopping 23 shots.

Evason was happy with Hellberg’s job at keeping it close, particularly in the third period.

The Ads were outshot 11-5 in the first 20 minutes, and Abbotsford tallied the first goal of the game late in the period. Tyler Ruegsegger fired a nice shot from the top of the right circle that Hellberg never really saw.

Kevin Henderson answered for Milwaukee 2:08 into the second period with his second goal in as many games and 12th of the season.

With Michael Latta behind the net, Barry Brust unwisely tried to play the puck. Latta was able to beat him out and feed it to Henderson in front of the empty net.

After Liambas’ goal at 8:02 of the third period, the Heat pulled Brust with about a minute and a half to play.

Abbotsford didn’t even get a shot on net with the extra attacker, as Taylor Beck gathered a clearing attempt and fired an absolute bullet from just behind the red line that trickled into the empty net.

After both Beck and Puustinen had been scratched from the lineup last night, Evason was pleased to have both players back today.

Notes:

The penalties were there again for Milwaukee today, but fortunately so was the penalty kill. The Heat were held scoreless in six power play attempts and Evason felt the PK unit was much more agressive as a whole.

The Ads finished up the homestand 4-2 against some very tough opposition. Now comes a four-game road stretch with stops in Lake Erie, Toronto, Hamilton and Lake Erie again before they host Grand Rapids two Fridays from now.

Sunday’s big crowd helped bring in 22, 462 charity dollars in support of Milwaukee Children’s Hospital. Nice job, Admirals fans.

Questions:

Coach was all about throwing out last night’s game and a game the next day certainly helped. What did you see that you didn’t see last night? What made the big difference?

The Ads have battled back to within striking distance of the eighth spot in the West with 27 games left. Did their performance over the homestand change your opinion of their postseason chances at all? Does two out of three seem more fathomable to you now?

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5 Responses to Milwaukee bounces back to take 2 of 3 in hat trick weekend

  1. CreedFeed says:

    I just want to say I think that Josh Quinn is the best anthem singer we’ve had in Milwaukee since Tom Green the Elvis impersonator (from back in the 80’s). He’s always done a great job with it. I wish the team would get him to do the singing for every single game… keep some consistency with the anthem!

    The team needed that win. As Kramp and Adler on 102.1 said earlier in the week… how about that Magnus “What The” Hellberg?!? I think he’s the new number 1 for the time being. Nothing against Smitty, but as I commented on another post, we have to roll with who’s hot, and right now it’s Hellberg. I think he gets 2/3rds of the starts going forward until something bad happens.

    How about McGratten? No offense to him, but I don’t like his spot on the top line. It’s like a handi-cap to our top scoring line. He’s not an offensive player. He’s much slower than anyone on the team and his stickhandling and passing just aren’t there. I understand why he’s here and I’m sure the team has instructions to give him ice time, but why hinder our top scoring line? Stick him on a 2nd or 3rd line and just give that line a bit more ice time.

  2. Griffin says:

    Yes, CreedFeed, a million times yes. Just because McGrattan is a NHL’er, and I use that term loosely, doesn’t mean he should be on the first line. Always a step behind Mueller & Beck. They might as well be playing four on five. But I don’t want him playing with Watson either. Loved the games Friday & Sunday. They have to be exhausted.

  3. Fan in the Falls says:

    I have to agree that Hellberg should move to the #1 position. The similarities to last year are eerie as Engren earned the #1 position mid-season as Smitty’s play deteriorated. With how many years he has under his belt now, he needs to be more consistent if he wants to play in that other league.

    I’m not ready to jump on the playoff train just yet. I was there Friday and Saturday and it was like two different teams. If they can do well on the road trip I may get on board, but they need to stop the penalties and prove they can be more consistent than just having a good weekend overall.

    One other point, it seems the Ads really need to practice faceoffs. We seem to be constantly outshined in that area. I think I could have counted the number they won on my hands at the two games I was at this weekend.

  4. Ouch! says:

    It sure seems like the team isn’t supporting Smith in the same manner as they do with Hellberg. Why that’s happening and what that means is anyone’s guess. It’s frustrating to watch a total flop like Saturday bookended with a nailbiter (Friday) and a relatively solid game (Sunday).

    49 games played
    52 points, average 1.06 points per game
    23 wins, average .47 games won
    3 OTL
    3 SOL

    With 27 games left, if those paces are maintained, the Ads will add (rounding upwards)

    29 points
    13 wins
    2 OTL
    2 SOL

    Making a total of ( realizing some rounding errors)
    81 points
    36 wins
    5 OTL
    5 SOL

    Not exactly a barn-burner of a season… There’s no doubt that we can rule out a 100 point season, considering that if they win every game going forward the season would tap out at 106 points.

  5. Adsfan says:

    A season with 90 points will make the playoffs; 85 is borderline, 80 is golfing time.

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