The Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves Sunday afternoon. Outside of a power-play goal from Viktor Stalberg in the second period this was nearly a carbon copy performance for the Ads from Friday night when they were outworked by the Grand Rapids Griffins. Shane Harper took over for the Wolves in the second period with two goals and the game just never came in gear for the Admirals – who are now on a five game winless stretch.
This game kicked off with a dust up. Cody Beach caught Taylor Aronson up high with a check and was called for a rough on the hit. Rich Clune wanted to send the early message back at the Wolves and went right after him for a fight. By doing so, it nullified the power-play because Clune was tabbed with an instigator and misconduct.
What resulted was a poorly executed breakout play that led to a Wolves goal moments later. Kevin Fiala was starting the breakout from behind the net and Adam Burish got a stick to the pass to keep the puck in zone. The bouncing puck kicked on up towards the net and Burish got his shot off in front of teammate Ty Rattie to score his ninth goal of the season.
Things went from bad to worse as the first period went on. Mike Liambas suffered a scary looking leg injury after trying to deliver a check to Jani Hakanpaa following an offensive zone faceoff for the Admirals. Liambas got the check on Hakanpaa, bounced off of him, and crashed legs first into the boards with speed. He immediately clutched his lower shin and called for help off the bench. He required trainer Doug Agnew to get off the ice. Early report from Aaron Sims was that the team has stated Liambas did not suffer a break or sprain.
Having earned a power-play that carried over into the second period, the Admirals got level with the Wolves early through Viktor Stalberg’s eighth goal of the season. Viktor Arvidsson carried the puck down deep into the left wing and sucked the penalty killing unit of the Wolves in on him. He passed over to the opposite wing for the one-timed shot of Stalberg which bashed off the post and off of Jordan Binnington’s back and in for the power-play goal.
It then became the Shane Harper show. The Wolves winger scored two flashy goals back-to-back to give the Wolves a 3-1 lead. His first of the game saw him deke Jimmy Oligny off the right wing, power off Aronson, and poke the puck in past Hellberg. His second was a bit more simple. Harper set up low on the right wing circle and wired a shot against the grain of Hellberg high blocker side. Harper now has twenty-five goals on the season.
In the final minute of the second period the Wolves were able to net goal number four. Yannick Veilleux was able to get a redirect of a Hakanpaa point shot while fending off Aronson to score his sixth goal of the season. With the end of the second period came the end of Hellberg’s game in net. He stopped 17/21 shots on goal before giving way to Marek Mazanec for the third period.
The third period would cruise on by with no real quality chances on goal for the Admirals who are now on a five game losing streak. In their last four games the Admirals have also allowed four goals in each game. The Admirals only have a single win from their last eight games and are seeing the likes of Grand Rapids and Rockford both climb a little bit farther away in the Midwest Division standings.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Miikka Salomaki (upper body), Zach Budish (healthy), Joe Piskula (lower body), and Jonathan Diaby (healthy). After leaving the game with what would probably best be described as a “lower body” injury – Mike Liambas did not return to the game. The Admirals next play on Wednesday night when they take to the road against the Lake Erie Monsters. Of the next nine games on the schedule for the Admirals seven are road games.
What are your reactions from today’s game? What’s it going to take for the Admirals to get back on a roll? Is there any one particular issue that you’re noticing during this bad spell or is it a multitude of problems creeping out at once?