The Admirals lost 3-2 in a shootout against the Lake Erie Monsters Tuesday night. The Monsters came back from a 2-0 deficit for the second time against the Admirals this season.
“We were happy with the way we played,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We played hard. We played right. They wanted it as bad as we did.”
In the pre-game skate Mike Liambas and Daniel Maggio had a chat at center ice. I’m going to assume it wasn’t about the weather or tonight’s attendance. The first chance they shared the ice in the first period they dropped the gloves. That bout lasted a good while. The officials really let them go. All in all, I would score that even in the fight card. Maggio had the start and Liambas had the take-down finish.
The second period was cruising along with the Monsters enjoying the better part of attacking hockey. After the Admirals first power-play things did start to even out. Then came the breakthrough courtesy of Triston Grant’s fifth goal of the season. Taylor Aronson managed to skate all the way up to the lower left faceoff circle and throw a low shot on Calvin Pickard. The puck kicked off the pads and right to Grant who popped in the rebound.
It only took the Admirals 3:25 of ice time before capitalizing again. This time it was Colton Sissons who was in the right place at the right time. Karl Stollery fell over in the left wing pocket and gifted the puck right to Sissons who passed over to Viktor Arvidsson. The puck seemed to knuckle up on the Swede but bounced to Sissons with Pickard reading the play wrong big time. Sissons was free in space to the left wing circle and had a wide open net to lay a wrister off on for his fifteenth goal of the season.
Lake Erie got on the board in the third period with a shorthanded goal. Ben Street and Colin Smith were off to the races with only Taylor Aronson between them. Street passed up to Smith in neutral ice before getting the puck right back once Aronson clamped down towards Smith. The pass hit Street clean and he tagged Magnus Hellberg for his third goal of the season. It ended a shutout streak for Hellberg of 137:19 over the last three games.
After a Zach Budish tripping call the Monsters were able to equalize with a power-play goal. Smith, who set up their first goal, repeated the feat on the second tally as he raced into the zone off the right wing before nailing a perfect pass to Paul Carey on the backdoor of Hellberg. It’s Carey’s twelfth goal of the season and his fourth scored against the Admirals in five games.
In overtime, the Admirals were in complete desperation mode with a power-play in three-on-three that gave an extra attacker to the Monsters. Hellberg made crazy stop after crazy stop including a play that needed to be reviewed before determining that it wasn’t an overtime game-winning goal.
After surviving on the penalty kill in overtime the Admirals ended up taking their chances in the shootout. Every skater missed their shootout attempt until the last man in the third round, Joey Hishon, beat Hellberg off a slow backhander that flicked up and over the Swede and into the back of the net to seal the Monsters’ comeback after trailing 2-0.
“I don’t think we should have even gone to overtime in the first place,” said Magnus Hellberg. “I thought we played really well. We dropped the 2-0 lead in the third and that shouldn’t happen.”
When the Admirals played in Lake Erie on December 18 they lost a 2-0 lead and allowed four straight goals to the Monsters. Tonight they lost their 2-0 in the third period through a pair of special teams plays. It might not be the best setup game for the Admirals with the Rockford IceHogs coming in this weekend. Devil’s advocate, perhaps this was just the sort of game the Ads needed before such a showdown.
“Coach liked how way we played,” said Triston Grant. “We played good before Saturday as well in Grand Rapids so I think we’re just playing the right way. Sometimes you find, when you’re making mistakes, it ends up in the back of your net. I think we have to tweak a couple of things and get ready for a big weekend.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were all due to injury: Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Rich Clune (lower body), Jimmy Oligny (lower body), and Johan Alm (upper body). The loss tonight was the first experienced for the Milwaukee Admirals when Zach Budish was in the lineup. The team had won all fourteen games he factored into prior to tonight.
Thoughts on tonight’s performance? What happened in the third period? Does the finish to this game worry you for the Admirals upcoming weekend three-in-three?