The Admirals lost 4-3 against the Texas Stars Saturday night. This was another just another game in which the Admirals did all the right things that they needed to get the result but ultimately lost.
After Triston Grant and Austin Watson were both sent to the box, the Texas Stars were able to score from a five-on-three power-play via Greg Rallo’s twenty-first goal of the season. The Stars were cycling the puck heavily along the right wing before Travis Morin passed to his opposite wing for Rallo who buried his one-timed shot past Magnus Hellberg.
Kevin Fiala threw his name in the hat for the Admirals Goal of the Season in the first period. Fiala was matched up one-on-one with Jamie Oleksiak and burned him with a crafty move that turned the defenseman inside out and put Fiala in all alone on Jack Campbell. The finish was just as good as the deke before it. Fiala calmly out-waited Campbell off the left wing before pulling in a shot on the forehand for his ninth goal of the season.
Mentioned in the rant column of today’s “Scouting the Enemy” was a section on Admirals mistakes. Allowing teams to answer back so quickly after scoring was one of those mistakes and it struck again after the crowd was in a frenzy for Fiala’s highlight reel goal. Only forty-three seconds after the Admirals scored a defensive breakdown had Devin Shore alone in the slot for a one-timer that knuckled through Hellberg to put the Stars right back into the lead. It was Shore’s first career goal as a pro.
In the second period Stars captain Maxime Fortunus scored his eighth goal of the season to make it a two-goal game. A puck kicked out from the left wing faceoff circle right back for Fortunus who hammered a shot immediately. The puck fluttered clean past Hellberg on the glove side.
The Admirals third period push would come in the closing minutes with an extra attacker on the ice. With 3:03 remaining they emptied their net. With 2:07 remaining they used their timeout. And then, with 1:52 remaining, Austin Watson scored his team leading twenty-second goal of the season as the Admirals crashed numbers on Campbell in net.
It felt like when Scott Glennie put away the empty net goal with a minute remaining in the game that the drama was all over. That just wouldn’t be the case. Mark Van Guilder batted a puck out of the air in front of Campbell to score his ten goal of the season with 0:44 seconds remaining in regulation to make it a one-goal gap yet again.
For all the pressure that the Admirals put on the Stars in the closing seconds they had one last chance to send this game into overtime. Watson very nearly sent this game past regulation with a wrist shot that buzzed through traffic and narrowly missed hitting its intended target. It didn’t. And the Admirals, who once again performed quite well, fell short.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Felix Girard (upper body) and Jimmy Oligny (healthy). Jonathan Diaby made his return to the ice after being a healthy scratch for the Admirals last three games. Tonight marked the return to Milwaukee ice for Scott Ford for the first time since game two of the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs when the Admirals lost to the Toronto Marlies 5-2 on 4/26/14. After the game Kevin Fiala received five stitches after a skate hit him high on the neck. The Admirals power-play went 0/6 tonight and are currently on a run of 0/35 over their last nine games. The Grand Rapids Griffins point streak of nineteen games finally came to an end with a 4-3 loss on the road to the Lake Erie Monsters.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? What is wrong with this Admirals power-play? Is it safe to tip your cap to Jack Campbell in net and move on to the next game?