The Admirals lost 4-2 against the Iowa Wild Saturday night. It was an all-around sloppy performance for the Admirals who, yet again, find themselves on the losing end of a game against the AHL’s worst team by record the Wild. The Admirals have lost three out of four times to the Wild on home ice this season.
“They’re kind of our Achilles heel or kryptonite,” said Austin Watson. “They work. We know that no matter what they’re situation is with their players, who is up – who is down, that they’re going to come out and work. Unfortunately we haven’t met that work quite enough.”
Iowa got the game’s opening goal in the second period. Brady Brassart appeared to enter the zone slightly offside as he fed back to Kurtis Gabriel. The pass back allowed Brassart to skate around Jaynen Rissling and receive the return feed with only Marek Mazanec in front of him. Brassart’s shot to the near post fooled Mazanec and beat him for his fifth goal of the season.
The middle of the second period became scramble mode for the Admirals. They faced back-to-back five-on-three power-plays for the Wild and conceded from the first opportunity. After Austin Watson blocked a shot in a place that no man wants to block a shot, the puck fell forward to Zack Mitchell on the left wing side of the net and he had a clean passing lane for a tap-in shot by Tyler Graovac on the back door of Mazanec. It was Graovac’s seventeenth goal of the season.
In need of some type of jolt to the system Rich Clune took things into his own hands. With the second period winding down Clune ran into Justin Falk after a whistle and Ian Schultz made the breakup leading to a fight. I give the edge in that bout firmly to Clune. Both were swinging wildly, pun not intended, but Clune got some in with the takedown. He left the ice waving his arms up and getting the crowd the life it was lacking through two frames.
After a stiff arm styled high stick from the young upstart Ruslan Fedotenko – the Admirals were able to draw back a goal on the power-play to make it a 2-1 game. Kevin Fiala made a perfect wing-to-wing feed that Viktor Arvidsson unleashed his wrath upon with a slap shot. Johan Gustafsson had no chance on the blocker side to prevent Arvidsson’s seventeenth goal of the season.
Having read my quip, Fedotenko decided to score his first goal since joining the Wild on a PTO contract and restore Iowa’s two goal cushion. Greg Wolfe was able to jar a puck free on the forecheck and skate in-behind the net and deliver a pass to Fedotenko on the doorstep of goal on the left wing. It was the Ukrainian’s first goal in North America since 4/6/13 as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers.
With the third period dragging towards its finish the Admirals were given successive chances on the power-play. On the latter chance, Iowa managed to break in numbers shorthanded. It would turn to be an awful mistake for them as the Admirals broke straight back with a three-on-one. Colton Sissons and Viktor Stalberg managed to juggle around the puck before Fiala popped home his seventh goal of the season to close the gap back to a one goal game with five minutes remaining in regulation.
The Admirals pulled Mazanec in favor of the extra attacker with a minute and a half remaining. Still not liking my snarky comment, Fedotenko scored the empty netter to seal this game at its 4-2 final. The defeat for the Admirals is their third straight and the win for Iowa snaps their seven game losing streak.
Ramblings: The Iowa Wild were without John Curry to back up tonight so it meant an emergency goaltender was needed. Jeff Dotson, goalie coach to the Junior Admirals, was their man. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Joe Piskula (lower-body), Ian White (family), Miikka Salomaki (upper-body), Jimmy Oligny (right knee), and Johan Alm. The good news was that prior to the game Oligny participated in pre-game warm ups and is close to making his return to game action.
Thoughts on tonight’s performance? What is it with the Iowa Wild? Why are the Admirals unable to secure points against them on home ice?