Two third-period goals push Milwaukee to the brink

Photo Courtesy of TexasStars.com

Photo Courtesy of TexasStars.com

The Admirals got some familiar faces back Wednesday night, but it wasn’t enough to win Game Three and break the 1-1 deadlock in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

Along with the returns of Daniel Bang and Kevin Henderson, the Ads lineup card also featured Chris Mueller, Taylor Beck and Victor Bartley. However, in an entertaining contest, Texas scored twice in the final thirteen minutes to make Friday’s Game Four a must-win for Milwaukee.

The Stars’ Alex Chiasson, who rejoined Texas along with Reilly Smith for Game Three, ended up with the game-winner at 7:42. After making contact with Mueller on what could’ve been a crosschecking call, Chiasson was fed by Justin Dowling in the slot and redirected the pass past Magnus Hellberg.

It was the first road goal the Admirals had surrendered in 205 minutes and 33 seconds, and it didn’t get any better for Milwaukee from that point.

Kevin Henderson ran into Kevin Connauton behind the Texas net, drawing a roughing call that gave Texas a power play at 13:33.

Connauton would give Texas a late two-goal cushion just 24 seconds later, firing a slapper from near the blue line that zipped through traffic and over Hellberg’s glove.

That was more than the Stars would need to seal the win, as the Ads couldn’t sneak one past Christopher Nilstorp. Hellberg hit the bench with two minutes left, but it was for naught.

The game was very tightly played up to Texas’ first goal, as the Ads and Stars battled back and forth for two periods.

Milwaukee got off to a shaky start as it was outshot 5-1 in the first eight minutes and 15-6 total for the first period. The Ads bounced back to win the shots battle 7-4 in the second period, and finished the game with 21 total shots.

Texas fired the puck long on Hellberg all night, forcing him to play it and setting up a lot of offensive zone faceoffs. Though they didn’t win a majority of these faceoffs, this strategy kept the Ads at their own end for good chunks of the game.

Despite the loss, Helberg had another solid showing stopping 29 of 31 Texas shots and adding to his total of 93 saves on 98 shots for the series. Nilstorp has been just as good, allowing just three goals in his three games started.

After the game, assistant coach Stan Drulia said the team will need to find “a way to get more pucks to the net in Friday’s game.”

“We just didn’t get into it in the third period,” Drulia said. “We have to shake this one off and be ready to go Friday. We’ll also need to make sure we’re getting out of our end cleanly at key moments. In the end we try not to rush to judgments, so we’ll look at the video and see what adjustments we need to make.”

Milwaukee must now win on back-to-back nights in Cedar Park to advance to the Western Conference semifinals.

Questions:

How do you think the presence of Mueller, Beck and Bartley affected the team tonight, if at all? Mueller led the team with four shots, and Bartley was a close second with three. Zach Budish and Patrick Cehlin were the only other guys with more than one shot.

If you were at Goolsby’s (or if not), what adjustments do you see the Ads making in Game Four? Valentine back at wing possibly?

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14 Responses to Two third-period goals push Milwaukee to the brink

  1. Tough loss. I don’t believe in moral victories. But the Ads have given Texas everything they have. I was at both games in Milwaukee. You can never really blame the refs for losing a game, but they did not do a great job in that first game. It is almost impossible to win 3 in a row on the road. Taking one would not be much to ask for. They really needed to take both games at home. With all the injuries and call ups the Ads did a great job of getting in to the play offs. Here’s hoping they can find a way to win two more games.

  2. Bonander says:

    I was at last nights game and couldn’t believe the refs called the late third period penalty. I sit at the other end of the ice so i never saw it; was it a good call?

  3. Tough night for Milwaukee. As Ryan eluded to in an earlier post, I think the layoff hurt the Admirals. This for whatever reason wasn’t the best effort for Milwaukee, especially in the third and decisive period, and maybe it was because of having two key energy guys, Brad Winchester and Michael Liambas out of the lineup. I’d argue that the difference in this game was that the NHL players Texas got back out played the players Milwaukee got back.

    Earlier in the week I suggested that coach Dean Evason might go with seven D, just because of the options available to him, and sure enough he did. But with the lack of end of game energy shown means you almost have to get Valentine back in. I would think a lineup change would be in order for Friday, but who goes in and who comes out?

    Credit does belong to Texas. The Stars showed why they finished first in the West with how they dominated the third.

  4. Ryan says:

    I don’t think there should be a question of effort. Not the end result we wanted, but there wasn’t anything bad about their effort. They battled. And there’s another team pushing back out there. I don’t think it was a lack of energy at the end….The Stars just played excellent after the got the lead.

    I would agree that guys like Chiasson were difference makers. And I agree that Winchester and Liambas were missed. Two guys that were somewhat of the heart and soul of the team from February on.

    The Henderson penalty? Stan didn’t care for it after the game. The video feed didn’t really show what happened. Listening to Aaron, it sounded like it was a hit that didn’t need to happen after a whistle. Some nights those things are called, some nights they aren’t. That call isn’t why the Admirals lost. Texas was able to capitalize on their third period chances, and they played great D afterwards.

    They’ll look at video today and they’ll make adjustments. Maybe Valentine plays instead of Budish, maybe he doesn’t.

  5. Ryan says:

    And Bonander — thanks again for reading!

  6. frontrowjon says:

    Valentine I feel is a for sure start for friday, I felt he was big reason we won game 2. He should have played last night, I don’t give a rip who sits bacause of it, shalla, buddish, who ever get him in the game. His hitting and aggressive pursuit of pucks got texas off their game a bit in game 2. I feel that we just didn’t match the intensity that the stars brought. Really wish the 1st rd was still best of 7 I want another chance to see these guys one more time. I was at goolsbys and plan I being at city lounge friday, we can’t go down like this! Let’s go Ads!!!!

  7. Ryan,

    I’m going to go ahead and clarify my previous statement since you seemed to miss my point. By wasn’t Milwaukee’s best effort, I just wanted to say that I know the Admirals can play better than they did in the third period. Assistant coach Stan Drulia’s words echo my statement. That being said, the first two periods were excellent hockey and credit certainly belongs to Texas for shutting down Milwaukee in the third period.

    But if the Admirals are going to win this series, they will need the type of above and beyond play that showed for much of Game 2 when Milwaukee was taking the play to the Stars for prolonged stretches. I thought they found it in that game and wouldn’t look back in this series. Now the question is, can they find it again? This series is far from over, especially with Hellberg in net.

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