The Admirals lost in a shootout 2-1 on the road against the Iowa Wild Sunday evening. There were no goals scored until the final two-minutes of play and the Ads needed a goal from Austin Watson, with the extra attacker on the ice, to force overtime with forty-eight seconds remaining. Sadly for the Ads – earning that lone point would be the best they could do tonight as the Wild claimed the lot from the shootout.
There was no score after the opening twenty-minutes. Yet, the shooting output that we saw from the Admirals last night in Rockford appeared to spill over into Iowa. The Ads ripped fourteen shots on Wild goaltender John Curry in the first period. Curry came up huge with a late Admiral surge coming from a five-on-three power-play opportunity to make sure the game stayed deadlocked heading into the first intermission.
Through two periods of play there was still no goal scoring. The teams traded quality chances within seconds of each-other just as an Admirals power-play expired. Triston Grant had an opportunity to score his first goal of the season as he was stationed out in front of Curry. The Wild defended the centering pass well and instantly countered with a home run feed to Jordan Schroeder as he exited the penalty box. He had a clean breakaway but Magnus Hellberg was able to shut the door on him to keep things scoreless.
With 2:23 remaining in regulation the game received its first goal. Schroeder was racing in on another breakaway for the Wild and Hellberg flew from his net for a flying poke check. The puck went over to Tyler Graovac who outwaited Hellberg’s last ditch dive and fired past the make-shift goaltender Anthony Bitetto for his sixth goal of the season.
Hellberg came to the bench and the Admirals burned their timeout to press for a final minute attack in the hopes of avoiding a backbreaking defeat. It may not have been exactly what they drew up but we’ll all take it. Brendan Leipsic’s shot from the point was coughed up by Curry and right into the path of Austin Watson as he crashed the net. He popped home his team leading seventh goal of the season to force overtime with forty-eight seconds remaining in regulation.
Considering how the game was played, it may have been fitting that the game would go all the way to a shootout so that either Hellberg or Curry could decide things in goal. Unfortunately, like their recent string of bad luck from breakaways, the Admirals were not able to score a single shootout attempt against Curry. Zack Phillips would score the lone shootout goal from a snapshot low to the blocker side of Hellberg.
This is the first time the Admirals have lost to a team in Iowa since 2/28/09 when the Chops were around. The Ads were a perfect seven-for-seven dating back to last season against the Wild in Iowa prior to tonight’s shootout loss. The Wild have now won three-straight games against the Admirals this season. It also means that Hellberg’s perfect start to his 2014-15 season has come to an end.
Ramblings: After last night’s defeat in Rockford – the Admirals decided to rotate some players. Joe Pendenza came back into the lineup in-place of Frederick Gaudreau and Jonathan Diaby stepped in for Jimmy Oligny on defense. All went as healthy scratches. Patrick Cehlin still remains out as he regains fitness from off-season hip surgery.
Is there cause for concern that a team like the Iowa Wild are getting the better of the Milwaukee Admirals? With each team playing the last of a three-in-three, was the inability to find the back of the net down to fatigue or was John Curry just good enough tonight?