The Admirals lost 4-3 in a shootout against the Chicago Wolves Sunday afternoon. The Admirals held a two-goal lead twice only to see them fall in the shootout to their Amtrak Rivals.
The Admirals were able to jump on the board first after a great solo effort from Miikka Salomaki. In his return to the ice after his match penalty on Friday, he was able to fly in off of the right wing wall, put a shot on Jake Allen, skated around David Shields, and popped in his own rebound. It was a great showcase of Salomaki’s relentless hustle. That goes down as his twelfth goal of the season.
In the second period the Admirals tallied for a power-play goal with two great passes setting it all up. Marek Mazanec, yes. Marek Mazanec with a pin-point saucer pass from his goal crease all the way to Filip Forsberg on the blue line. The great feed caught the Wolves as they were changing and set Forsberg into the zone with plenty of time to operate with. He patiently waited towards the left wing faceoff circle, found Patrick Cehlin on the opposite wing, passed through traffic, and it was a tap in for Cehlin on the power-play. It’s Cehlin’s fourth goal of the season.
As the period crawled to the end, both teams decided to engage each other in a “who can have the ugliest power-play” contest. The Wolves had a brief five-on-three chance – that they killed off themselves on a missed shot that cleared the zone. Then the Admirals rallied on the second half of that chance – basically controlling the puck possession while killing off the penalty.
The Wolves did one better when the Admirals went to the power-play at the end of the second period. The Ads had a race down the slot at one end, missed a scoring chance, and then conceded a two-on-one shorthanded break down at the other end. Taylor Chorney was able to get his pass right to the tape of Nathan Longpre – who one-touched it over Mazanec’s left pad for his fifth goal of the season.
Just moments after that Longpre has a clean shorthanded breakaway. His shot missed high and wide to the glove side of Mazanec. In total, the Admirals have given up ten shorthanded goals this season. All of last season they only conceded five shorties.
The Admirals were able to restore their two-goal lead in the third period after a rebound effort from Kevin Henderson. Mathieu Tousignant’s net front shot stayed low to the ice and hit off of Allen’s pads. The puck spilled down the slot and right to Henderson who cleaned up the garbage for his sixth goal of the season.
Directly after the goal from Henderson the Wolves fired a beautiful pass through the Admirals that sent Keith Aucoin behind a Mike Liambas and Joonas Jarvinen. Liambas had a slash on his arm. Jarvinen practically tackled him. The referees rightly called for a penalty shot – and Aucoin delivered with a soft shot that went through the five-hole of Mazanec.
Of the two previous goals allowed by Mazanec – it’s hard to really fault him. Shorthanded odd-man break. Penalty shot. The one he would probably lost like to have back came on goal number three when the Wolves went wing to wing and saw Cade Fairchild beat him moving to the far post. The game was equalized from Fairchild’s second goal of the season – and it remained 3-3 all the way through regulation and overtime.
When it came to the shootout the Admirals went with: Salomaki, Saponari, Cehlin, and Beck… Wolves: Rattie, Aucoin, Jaskin, Wannstrom, and Cracknell. If you couldn’t tell, the Admirals didn’t use as many skaters because the Wolves buried the game with shootout goals from Wannstrom and Cracknell. The Admirals failed to convert a single goal from the shootout.
The Admirals have now played in sixteen games that have gone to overtime or further. No team in the AHL has lost more time in overtime than the Admirals – who have lost six times. In the shootout, the Ads have now lost five times out of eight opportunities. Playing past regulation has been a very rough area for the team all season long – and it continued again tonight.
Ramblings: Colton Sissons returned to the Milwaukee Admirals after his late afternoon recall to the Nashville Predators yesterday. Bryan Rodney was a scratch for the third straight game due to personal reasons.
What are your thoughts from this game? What needs to be addressed over the AHL All Star break for the team to comeback strong next weekend?