The Admirals finished their second of four games this week in the Lone Star State, improving to 2-2-0 with a 1-0 loss on Saturday night and a 5-4 overtime win in Houston Sunday.
Jeremy Smith was on his game against San Antonio, but was outshone by former Admiral goalie Dov Grumet-Morris. Grumet-Morris stuffed Milwaukee’s offense all game long, stopping all 25 shots he faced.
Jared Gomes scored the only goal of the game on a close call. It appeared that Gomes’ wrister had bounced off the post, but upon video review, it was confirmed that the puck crossed the line.
The bad break ended up being the difference as the Ads failed to score despite outshooting the Rampage 10-3 in the final period. Milwaukee couldn’t take advantage of its four power play opportunities thanks to Grumet-Morris’ lights out performance.
Heading into the Houston game, Coach Dean Evason said his team needed to get more shots on net by getting more involved in the dirty areas.
Magnus Hellberg’s first AHL start certainly wasn’t pretty out of the gates. The big goalie let in the first two shots he faced giving Houston an early lead. The Ads battled back, like they have in each game so far this year.
On a 5-on-3 power play, a Chris Mueller shot deflected back to Taylor Beck who tapped it in to cut the Aeros’ lead in half with 20 seconds left in the first period. It was one of those dirty goals that the Ads desperately needed, and they kept on coming.
Austin Watson did a good job keeping the puck alive in the Houston zone and freed it up for MVG who tallied his first goal of the year 17:54 into the second period to knot the score at 2-2.
Houston retook the lead in the third period when Chad Rau won a faceoff and fed Jonas Brodine who shot it over glove of Hellberg.
Less than a minute later, Mueller gloved the puck out of the air and fired a backhander between the right leg of Matt Hackett and the post to tie the game.
Milwaukee found the back of the net again at 12:19 of the third, when Watson forced a turnover and Kevin Henderson found himself alone in the right circle. His shot bounced off Hackett and in for his first of goal of the year, and Milwaukee’s first lead of the game.
Houston pulled Hackett with 63 seconds left and forced overtime when Nick Palmieri deflected the puck through Hellberg’s legs to tie it with 57.8 to go.
A delay of game penalty on Rau ended up giving the Admirals a power play that extended into the overtime period, and Milwaukee took the opportunity to seize the win.
51 seconds into overtime, Mattias Ekholm fired a blast from the slot past Hackett to send the Ads to their first overtime victory of the season.
Milwaukee outshot Houston 31-18 for the game, and a majority of those shots weren’t pretty. But it was that “dirtier” approach that came through and gave the Ads a new winning streak to work with in the upcoming second half of the Texas trip.