The Admirals lost 2-1 against the Rockford IceHogs Wednesday night. The losing streak for the Admirals is now up to six-games. The last time the Admirals suffered a losing streak this long was the six-game skid in the 2012-13 season from January 11-23.
“Absolutely terrible,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We didn’t win any puck battles. Our power-play *pause* there is no power-play. We defend ok and then we lose in a tight game because of that.”
It was a relatively quiet first period. The IceHogs had the better of the Admirals in terms of shots, 8-4, but no team found the back of the net. The standout highlight of the opening frame was a check Triston Grant delivered to Garret Ross that sent the IceHog forward head over heels into the Admirals bench. The reaction from Jonathan Diaby and Jimmy Oligny, who Ross split between the bench, was priceless.
Another big hit along the boards ended up triggering a fight in the second period. Diaby pasted Cody Bass into the boards near the IceHogs penalty box and it caught the attention of Brandon Mashinter. Diaby answered the bell and, despite the size advantage, was knocked down to the ice. Decent blows from both were landed. Score things Mashinter 10, Diaby 9 in your fight cards due to the knock down for the IceHog forward.
1:06 after the fight came the game’s opening goal scored from a tic-tac-toe passing play by the IceHogs. Dennis Rasmussen broke into the zone from the right wing and dropped off for Phillip Danault. As he edged in towards Hellberg from the faceoff circle he picked out the center lane drive by Ross for a one-touch finish. It’s Ross’ eleventh goal of the season.
Then some relief. Viktor Arvidsson passed off from the right wing wall to Pontus Åberg. IceHogs netminder Michael Leighton appeared to be over-committed to the near side post and Åberg unloaded a Gatorade smasher against the grain to beat the veteran netminder blocker side. The goal for Åberg, his tenth, makes him the first Admiral to reach double-digit goals this season.
Forty seconds into the third period and the IceHogs regained their lead. It was a goal for T.J. Brennan that was eerily similar to his sniper shot from last Thursday. The defenseman flew up on the left wing for the rush and ripped a shot from the wall over the shoulder of Hellberg. There was next to no room where he was aiming but the puck dinked off the crossbar and in for his sixth goal of the season.
The Admirals pushed for the final minute with their net empty and an extra attacker on but, just like their power-play work, couldn’t get the job done. On this current homestand, four-games in, the Admirals are a baffling 0/17 on the power-play.
“Our power-play is not only not giving us any goals it’s not giving us momentum,” said Evason. “It has to be better.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals included Johan Alm (upper-body), Mike Liambas (healthy), and Joe Pendenza (healthy). Speaking of scratches, after not being included in eight-straight games for the Chicago Blackhawks – Jeremy Morin was sent to the Rockford IceHogs on a conditioning assignment starting with tonight’s game. Morin had failed to score a point from fifteen NHL games this season after being a point per game player for the IceHogs last season. Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon was in attendance tonight potentially taking a look at the IceHogs forward. Rich Clune made his return to the ice after suffering a lower-body injury the last time the Admirals and IceHogs met last Thursday. Clune missed the Admirals two games this past weekend.
Behind the scenes tonight a very tragic story unfolded in which a fan died of an apparent heart attack. I would like to personally extend my thoughts and prayers to the family and friends associated with this incident.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? What would you fix to make the Admirals power-play run better? Is this simply a matter of the offense running out of steam or are more issues at work during this losing streak?