The Admirals lost 5-2 against the Toronto Marlies Saturday night. This defeat puts them in a 2-0 series deficit heading off to Toronto for the last, if necessary, three games in the best of five series.
After a very strong start to this game by the Admirals – the Marlies scored with 1:09 remaining in the first period to make it a 1-0 game. Despite a shots advantage of 15-7 favoring the Admirals a left wing rip by Brandon Kozun took deflection en route to Marek Mazanec. It may have been the only real sustained attack Toronto had the entire period and they found the back of the net.
The second period became a penalty fest for the Admirals. First Joonas Jarvinen and David Broll engaged each other to get minors for roughing. Then Calle Jarnkrok took a trip. And Joe Piskula was called for boarding.
All things in order, that gave the Marlies a lengthy stint of five-on-three power-play. With five seconds left from that opportunity Toronto worked the puck low around Mazanec, went post to post with a pass by Trevor Smith, and Sam Carrick had a tap in for a 2-0 lead.
It’s worth mentioning the lack of penalty calls for the Admirals in the closing stages of the second period. Mathieu Tousignant and Filip Forsberg were hit in the mouth with high sticks but each weren’t granted under the pretense that they Marlies were following through on shots. Francis Wathier was also barreled over near the Admirals bench – all of whom were livid by the absence of calls going their way in the frame.
Milwaukee finally found the back of the net in the opening minutes of the third period. Jarnkrok took a pass from Forsberg and hammered a one-timer past Drew MacIntyre to the blocker side. Including the playoffs, Jarnkrok has now scored in eight straight games as an Admiral.
The penalty fest continued in the third period with an Austin Watson double-minor dor high sticking, Mike Liambas interference, and a Wathier slashing call. The Marlies failed to convert two five-on-three chances in that spell but converted in the last push of the power-play. A puck popped up above Mazanec, fell at his skates, kicked inbetween his legs, and Brandon Kozun shoved the loose puck across the line for a 3-1 Marlies lead.
Just for good measure, Wathier was called for another penalty as he raced in on the forecheck and was given a minor for boarding. The Marlies won the faceoff and scored seconds into that power-play. A long range wrist shot from the right point by Korbinian Holzer goes went against the grain of Mazanec’s glove to extend the Marlies lead to 4-1.
The Admirals did attempt some late theatrics by scoring another goal. A point shot led to a rare juicy rebound from MacIntyre and Bryan Rodney smacked home a late tally making it 4-2. The Ads emptied their net, Jerred Smithson cleared from long range, Jerry D’Amigo chased it down, and scored the final goal of the game. 5-2 on the scoreboard. 2-0 in the series. Milwaukee has been on the outside looking in from the start.
I feel a lot must be said of the Admirals power-play. They went 0/6 tonight and couldn’t even generate gas. The Marlies blanketed them, boxed out numbers in front of the net, and read all puck movements from the point down low. This game, and quite possibly last night, changes dramatically with an effective power-play. I have to believe the build up to game three in Toronto will mean revisions to how that man-advantage operates because the Marlies have it scouted pass for pass.
Ramblings: Tonight’s lineup change for the Milwaukee Admirals saw Mike Liambas in and Vinny Saponari out. Admirals Scratches: Diaby, Rissling, Vainonen, Pendenza, Pimm, Valentine, Noonan, Saponari, and Rask. Marlies Stratches: Gibson, MacWilliam, Abbott, Ashton, Staubitz, Devane, Holland, Yuen, Herzog, Verhaeghe, Gauthier, and Loov.
What’s going wrong for the Admirals in this series? What has happened to the high-powered depth in the forward position? Are the defense and penalty woes costing Marek Mazanec a wonderful playoff performance?