The Admirals won 6-5 in overtime against the Rochester Americans Sunday evening. Today’s story was about really bad bounces with Admiral leads coming and going. In the end, it was a clean sweep of the weekend three-in-three for the Admirals.
“That was a crazy game,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “I don’t even know where to begin. Our heads are still spinning. Bounce after bounce. It was just a really funky game.”
It took the Americans 4:40 before they registered their first shot on goal. Fortunately for them, the Mark Pysyk shot deflected off of Joe Piskula’s leg and fooled Magnus Hellberg in net to the near post. It was Pysyk’s third goal of the season.
The Admirals struck back with a pair of power-play goals in the first period. Ian White belted a slap shot through traffic for his fourth goal in the AHL this season, third since joining the Admirals, and first scored as an Admiral that wasn’t an empty netter. The second tally was a lightning fast series of passes that sent goaltender Andrey Makarov scrambling once the shot was put on net. Triston Grant buried the loose puck out in front for his seventh goal of the season.
In the second period the Admirals scored their third power-play goal through Brendan Leipsic. It was a tight to the cage effort for Leipsic as he hacked away twice on a loose puck while two defenders closed him down. His last swat had enough on it to go up and over Makarov for his sixth goal of the season.
Just as they did in the first period the Americans were able to score a goal off of a deflection off an Admirals defenseman. Zac Dalpe’s wrister off the right wing wall hit off Anthony Bitetto’s right leg and in past Hellberg on the glove side. It was Dalpe’s eleventh goal of the season.
The Amerks clawed back from the two goal deficit to draw level in the second period. Jerry D’Amigo passed over to Phil Varone who was all alone on the right wing faceoff circle. The 2015 AHL All Star was able to beat a fellow All Star in net as Hellberg wasn’t able to slide over fast enough to stop Varone’s twelfth goal of the season.
That level score wouldn’t be around for long though. Leipsic made a Play of the Year candidate. As the Amerks were looking to get back out of their zone Leipsic raced in and picked the puck clean off of Jake McCabe’s stick and controlled the puck with pace in on Makarov, threw some quick stickhandles in, and buried the goal for his second of the game and seventh of the season.
“I just tried to finish my hit and caught the defenseman being a little too casual and poked [the puck] through,” said Brendan Leipsic. “I was fortunate enough to beat the goalie.”
After the goal by Leipsic the Amerks swapped goalies. Makarov had stopped 15/19 shots before getting pulled. He was replaced by Matt Hackett.
Midway through the third period the Americans equalized once more. Dalpe flicked a backhander in on Hellberg that was coughed up into the air. As it was coming down Dalpe managed to bat the puck through the right arm of Hellberg and in for his second goal of the night and twelfth of the season.
Sick of hearing the Admirals gain a lead and then lose it? Well I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. The two traded goals late in the third period en route to forcing overtime. Viktor Arvidsson unleashed the howitzer slap shot of his off the crossbar and down. Just to be sure it would count as a goal, Mark Van Guilder cleaned up the loose puck behind the back of Hackett to make it 5-4. It is recorded as Van Guilder’s sixth goal of the season. Only forty-eight seconds later the Amerks tied the game on their third goal scored off of a bank shot off an Admiral. McCabe’s shot hit clean off of Felix Girard and into an open net for his fourth goal of the season.
The moment the game shifted to three-on-three overtime was the decider. The Amerks had iced the puck and the Admirals had an attacking zone faceoff to work with. Austin Watson won the draw back to Taylor Aronson who fed right back to him. Watson delivered a powerful slap shot that blew past the glove of Hackett for his team leading eighteenth goal of the season to win it in overtime.
The Admirals swept the weekend three-in-three and now have a four point gap to the Rockford IceHogs who will be stationary until Friday. The Admirals play on the road against the Chicago Wolves on Wednesday. Good news for all is that this weekend was the last three-in-three of the Admirals season.
“Those two games, the back to back with Rockford, kind of felt like a mini playoff series,” said Leipsic. “Definitely a lot of energy and emotion goes into those but you have to find enough to get another game Sunday. Obviously, guys are spent right now.”
Ramblings: Rich Clune made his return from a lower body injury after missing the Admirals previous four games. The scratches were Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Pontus Aberg (healthy), Jimmy Oligny (right knee), and Johan Alm (left wrist). Joe Piskula was injured in this game and did not return. This comes with the additional news that Mattias Ekholm was injured for the Nashville Predators today as well. After the game, Evason said that the team will most likely call up Jaynen Rissling from the Cincinnati Cyclones, have a played called up, and the Admirals will need to look into bringing in more defensemen.
Thoughts on today’s game? As far as wacky games go where does this rank? How well has the Admirals offense played lately and has it masked defensive issues?