The Admirals lost 4-2 against the Iowa Wild Wednesday night. The defeat is the Admirals first of the year and saw the end of their franchise best six-game winning streak to start the season.
“That team wanted the game more here tonight,” said head coach Dean Evason of the Iowa Wild. “We didn’t figure it out until the end and we were close. But they took it out of us early with their drive and compete. They played hard.”
Iowa managed to get on the board first in this game and did so inside of three minutes. A one-timed shot by Jake Parenteau flew clean through Marek Mazanec like a hot knife through butter. The goal was credited to Michael Keranen for his second tally of the season. Perhaps the slightest of deflections was the reasoning behind Mazanec missing the save completely.
With the Admirals forward lines getting a shake-up tonight because of Viktor Stalberg’s inclusion. There was an opportunity to spread the wealth and link up Viktor Arvidsson with Miikka Salomaki. The rookie Swede’s rush into the zone started a rebound rodeo around Johan Gustafsson. Salomaki would be the man on the spot to deliver a first period equalizer for his first goal of the season.
After Mark Van Guilder was called for a holding penalty in the second period – the Wild went back out in front with a power-play goal. Former-Admiral Jonathon Blum picked out Marc Hagel in front of the net with a shot pass that was redirected past Mazanec for Hagel’s first goal of the season.
The Wild followed up with a second power-play goal in the second period. Tyler Graovac’s run to the net held all of Mazanec’s attention but the 21-year old forward dropped a pass off on the backhand to Zack Mitchell. With the Admirals netminder overcommitted to the left of goal – it was an easy take for Mitchell to score his second goal of the season and make it a 3-1 Wild lead. It was the first time this season that the Admirals trailed by two-goals.
In the third period there was a pair of teammate collisions. First up, the Wild’s captain Stephane Veilleux ran over defenseman Danny Syvret. Then the Admirals has a collision between Swedes. Stalberg bulldozed Pontus Aberg and left him down and out on the ice. The Admirals rookie went back to the locker room and didn’t return to the game.
“I think, at the last second, we thought the other guy was going to go,” said Viktor Stalberg. “It goes quick out there sometimes and we both kind of thought the same thing going below each other. Ended up on a pretty big collision there. Hopefully he’ll be alright here.”
Just at the halfway point in the third period the Admirals found the back of the net. After the Wild missed an opportunity to catch Mazanec out of position, Brendan Leipsic ran back the other way and started an attack that resulted in Austin Watson’s fifth goal of the season.
The Admirals pulled Mazanec and were surging with an extra attacker on. Yet, Wild defenseman Syvret scored the long range empty netter to seal the Ads first defeat of the 2014-15 season.
“They came out hard and had a bit of an edge in their compete level,” said Austin Watson. “It showed in the first two periods and we weren’t able to battle back from that.”
Ramblings: The Admirals roster tonight included the names Viktor Stalberg (#25) and Rich Clune (#36) as the pair were sent to Milwaukee from the Nashville Predators. Stalberg is on a conditioning assignment – meaning he will be with us no longer than fourteen days. Clune, however, cleared waivers from the Predators as he was sent down to make room for the return of Matt Cullen from IR.
Thoughts from tonight’s game? Where did it go wrong tonight? Was this more a case of the Wild winning the game than the Admirals losing it?