The Admirals lost 5-4 in overtime against the Lake Erie Monsters Tuesday night. This game saw the Ads overcome a three goal deficit and score with the extra attacker on late to force overtime. Unfortunately, the bounces just keep going against them.
“We played great,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “When things aren’t going you get a snowball effect. But we’re close now. We really believe we’re close. We’ll use this as a real positive.”
It was a comfortable opening period for the Monsters who ended the frame off with a 3-0 lead. They scored twice from the power-play and looked by far the more relaxed of the two teams on the ice.
The first goal of the game was a power-play goal from Stefan Elliott. The Monsters worked from the left point and on over to center point where Paul Carey who slide a pass to the right wing for Elliot. The shot burned Marek Mazanec for Elliot’s ninth goal of the season.
Then came a decent brawl between Rich Clune and Mitchell Heard. Both landed some pretty big blows and the fight ended with Clune losing his balance and some of his blood. Give the edge in your fight cards to Heard for the take down and drawing red.
Lake Erie would double up their advantage after winning an in-zone faceoff. Maxim Noreau and Carey would link up around the left wing side of the net with Carey getting a small flick that alluded Mazanec’s blocker for his ninth goal of the season.
The Monsters made it 2/2 on the power-play in the first period after Andrew Agozzino put away his sixth goal of the season. Despite having one of their own players bust a stick, the Monsters managed to hold the zone in a temporary four-on-four and pass themselves into yet another side of the cage tap in. Agozzino was crashing to the blocker side of Mazanec and had the Czech scrambling by the time the shot was taken.
Viktor Stålberg scored his second goal in an Admirals uniform in the second period to make it a 3-1 game. The Swede fought through a defenseman and went quickfire, backhand to forehand, on Calvin Pickard. The shot trickled through and only just crossed the line before being swiped away from goal.
“Viktor Stålberg got us going with that first goal,” said Evason. “Not only the first goal but the work ethic in which he scored the goal. It really jacked the guys up.”
The second period comeback continued with a goal from an unlikely source. Ian White’s shot from the right wing was redirected out in front of the net by Mike Liambas. The puck barely squeaked underneath the right pad of Pickard and, like Stålberg’s goal, trickled across the line before anyone could prevent the goal. It’s Liambas’ fourth goal of the season. He hasn’t scored this many goals in a season since his rookie year with the Erie Otters of the OHL when he was a defenseman.
In the third period the Admirals completed their comeback. Pontus Åberg stepped up on the blueline to challenge puck carrier Bruno Gervais before breaking out of his own zone. Stålberg sprung in on the loose puck which fell to the right of the sprawl for Åberg. After his initial defensive play he fell down, picked himself back up, got the puck, and roofed a shot past Pickard for his twelfth goal of the season to make it 3-3.
“That’s the perfect response that you want from somebody that you sit out to get a response,” said Evason of Åberg. “He’s got such gifts to score goals. He’s just learning to play the pro game. That was just an opportunity for us to give him a wake up call.”
It appeared as if the Admirals disaster button had been hit with 2:16 remaining in regulation. The Monsters broke off on a two-on-one with Mike Sgarbossa passing ahead to give Agozzino a breakaway. He pumped glove side and beat Mazanec to the blocker for his seventh goal of the season and second of the game.
Mazanec went to the bench to bring on the extra attacker. With Admirals jamming up the boards it appeared as if the Monsters defensive focus lost Åberg as he veered away and into the left wing pocket. The puck kicked out to him and he beat Pickard to the glove side to equalize with forty-eight seconds remaining in regulation. It was the Swede’s thirteenth goal of the season and second of the contest.
Despite the incredible theatrics the Admirals would fall short in overtime. Heard flew from the left wing and into the front of the net where he intercepted a backdoor feed from his own teammates, cradled the puck, and popped it in on the backhand before Mazanec could react to where the puck was. The game-winning goal for Heard was his third tally on the season.
“We were able to get a point,” said Evason. “We were down 3-0. We were able to get a point. Disappointed? Yeah, shoot. We want to get our home record back on track. We want to get our home games back on track. No question. But that was close tonight.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Triston Grant, Frederick Gaudreau, Garrett Noonan, and Johan Alm. The Admirals power-play drought on home ice has now reached thirty-two chances without a goal.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Content with claiming a point from this game? What improvements did you notice as this game went along for the Admirals? Can this game catapult them in the right direction?