In my humble opinion Milwaukee’s 3-1 win over San Antonio on Sunday afternoon was the Admirals’ most complete effort of the season to date.
Here are five reasons why:
1) Despite playing in Grand Rapids the night before, Milwaukee had its skating legs for sixty minutes in Sunday afternoon’s matinee.
Yes, San Antonio was playing in their fourth game in six nights, but Milwaukee played a road game in Grand Rapids the previous night and had to travel back for Sunday’s matinee (their third game in three nights). Rather than use excuses, the Admirals gave a 60-minute effort and never allowed any signs of life to a team that won its previous two games in their own 3-in-3.
2) Milwaukee pushed a tenacious defense on San Antonio’s defense.
The Admirals’ forecheck was a relentless Sunday afternoon, bottling the Rampage in their own zone for extended periods. Milwaukee constantly checked San Antonio’s defense and won most of the battles for loose pucks.
3) Defensively, Milwaukee allowed the Rampage few chances against and the entire team competed in both ends of the ice.
Effective defense at the professional level requires a commitment from every player on the ice. Milwaukee’s whole roster provided that Sunday afternoon allowing San Antonio just a handful of scoring chances and only limited minutes in the offensive end. The only goal the Rampage scored was on a brilliant individual effort by Bracken Kearns off his own rebound, a hard goal to fault any Admiral on.
4) Every Milwaukee player executed their role to perfection.
Milwaukee’s scores scored, their checkers checked, their defensemen smothered away San Antonio’s offensive chances and the entire squad skated effectively in transition. All that was missing was a fight from the Admirals’ scrappers, but in all Milwaukee took just three penalties– a near perfect way to play with a lead.
5) When the saves needed to made, goaltender Jeremy Smith made them.
Jeremy Smith had a quiet game in the Admirals’ net, making just 14 saves on 15 shots. Sometimes limited shot games can be difficult on a goaltender, who can struggle to find rhythm while seeing rubber few and far between. Smith stayed in the game the whole way, making the saves when he needed to, while allowing few rebound opportunities.