The Admirals lost 6-2 against the Chicago Wolves Friday night. This is the Admirals sixth consecutive loss on home ice. The defeat to the Wolves sees the gap in the Midwest Division between the two grow to four points.
“We felt good about playing good on the road,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Clearly we don’t feel good about playing at home which absolutely makes no sense. No sense at all.”
The Wolves scored the opening goal moments after the Admirals had a goal reviewed and called off.
A net front scramble for the Admirals led to netminder Jordan Binnington getting bowled over. Rich Clune appeared to push the puck across but, upon further review, the call on the ice went down as no goal.
Just moments after the goal review the Wolves found themselves on an odd-man rush. Pat Cannone and Shane Harper had a two on one with Jonathan Diaby choosing to attack the puck carrier Cannone. The pass flew over to Harper and he buried a wrist shot to the blocker side of Magnus Hellberg for his eleventh goal of the season.
In the second period the Wolves extended their lead to 2-0 off of their first power-play chance of the game. Jeremy Welsh was stationed low to the right wing side of Hellberg’s cage when he received a pass from Philip McRae. It appeared as though Welsh was looking to toss a no-look spinning backhand pass to his opposite wing but, as the puck was en route, Joe Piskula deflected it past his goaltender to gift Welsh his eighth goal of the season.
The Wolves added another goal only thirty-five seconds later. Brent Regner stepped up from the right point, caused Brendan Leipsic to blow a tire, skated in closer, eyed up Hellberg, and ripped a shot top shelf for his fourth goal of the season.
The spin-o-rama might be banned from the shootout but it can still be displayed in on-ice action. Ty Rattie had enough space on the puck, standing in front of Hellberg, to pull off a spinning backhander over the big Swede’s blocker to record his fifteenth goal of the season.
Miikka Salomaki marked his return to the Admirals lineup with a goal late in the second period. Joe Pendenza chucked a shot off of Binnington’s pads from a bad angle and the puck spilled kindly to the on-rushing Salomaki for his fifth goal of the season.
That was the high. Then came another low. With less than a minute remaining in the second period, on a four-on-four, Wolves defenseman McRae scored after skating himself off the left wing wall and into space at the middle of the point. His slap shot had Hellberg flailing his glove at thin air. It was McRae’s tenth goal of the season and the Wolves fourth of the period.
Hellberg’s night of horrors ended after that second period. He faced seventeen shots and allowed five goals. Marek Mazanec was given the net for the third period and was signaled that he was going in following the fifth goal allowed by Hellberg. The Swede entered the game with the best save percentage and goals against average. That was thumped down to Earth courtesy of tonight’s game.
“We’re professional hockey players and we have to be ready when the puck drops and it starts with me,” said Magnus Hellberg. “I have to be a lot better than I was today. I’m accountable for my actions out there. I have to make the saves to make the team able to get a chance to win and I didn’t do that today.”
The final kicker from the Wolves came from their second power-play goal of the night. Colin Fraser’s shot took a deflection off of Taylor Aronson’s stick as he got low to block the shot. The puck knuckled to goal and right to Cody Beach on the backdoor of Mazanec for his second goal of the season.
The Wolves would end the night 2/2 on the power-play. The Admirals finished the night 0/5 and have a run of 0/27 on the power-play on home ice in their last seven games.
With twelve seconds to go there was a small silver lining for the Admirals to take from this game. Jimmy Oligny was able to score his first professional goal. He skated from the left point and into space before letting a wrister fly through traffic. Binnington never picked it up.
“Felt good,” said Jimmy Oligny in regards to scoring his first professional goal. “It would have felt better in a win. I can’t really celebrate because it wasn’t a good game for us.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Frederick Gaudreau (healthy), Garrett Noonan (healthy), and Johan Alm (upper body). After the game, Evason stated that Alm is not close to returning to the team as he has yet to participate in skating drills. Miikka Salomaki returned to the Ads lineup after missing the final two games of the recent road trip due to illness. Attendance for tonight’s game was 7,089.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Where does the fault fall tonight? What do the Admirals need to do to ignite their power-play on home ice?