The Admirals lost 8-4 against the Chicago Wolves Friday night. The rough keeps getting rough for the Admirals who have now lost four straight and have only one win from their last ten games.
“We scored four goals in this hockey game,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “That’s enough to win. We shoot ourselves in the foot to not allow ourselves to be in that hockey game.”
This game started with the dreaded Admirals power-play allowing its tenth shorthanded goal of the season. Nathan Longpre’s shorthanded rush and pull back to the right wing wall sucked in three Admirals while no one picked up the on-rushing Jeremy Welsh. Longpre passed across and it was a breakaway that ended forehand to backhand for Welsh’s fifteenth goal of the season and sixth scored against the Admirals.
The Admirals were able to level things up after some solid net front work out of the Pontus Aberg, Joe Pendenza, and Austin Watson line. Watson swatted a puck off the stick of Joel Edmundson and it fell to Pendenza who quickly backhanded a shot towards goal. His shot ended up deflecting off the leg of Brett Regner who was camped out in front of goaltender Jordan Binnington and the puck fell to Aberg for a quick wrister and his sixteenth goal of the season.
After Mike Liambas was given an elbowing minor for a check in neutral ice on Colton Parayko – the Wolves special teams was able to retake a first period lead. Pat Cannone passed from the left wing wall into the front of the net where Shane Harper whirled off a backhander to the opposite wing. The pass from Harper was immediately stabbed past Marek Mazanec by Magnus Paajarvi for his sixth goal of the season.
It took the Wolves only twenty-seven seconds into the second period to make it a 3-1 game. Parayko’s shot from the right point was spilled into the path of Adam Cracknell who continued to whack away at the puck until it was forced across for his fifth goal of the season.
Eric Robinson scored his first career goal as a professional hockey player to pull the game back to a one-goal deficit. Robinson skated into a soft spot in the zone as his linemates worked away on the forecheck. Mark Van Guilder passed from behind the net and Robinson took it first-time and wired his shot over the blocker of Binnington for his first pro goal.
“It was a good feeling,” said Eric Robinson. “It’d be nicer if we won. Hopefully I can take that confidence into the next couple games.”
The Admirals enigma wrapped inside of a mystery and packaged into a riddle, aka their power-play, finally made good to end a previous drought of 0/39 that ran for eleven games. On chance number forty, Colton Sissons threw a shot pass looking for a stick-blade en route to the net. Gary Steffes was able to get the deflection and received an even bigger redirect courtesy of Wolves defenseman Regner. The puck deflected off Regner’s leg and past Binnington for the ever elusive Admirals power-play goal. It was Steffes’ second career AHL goal and first scored since 2/9/13 as a member of the Lake Erie Monsters.
Less than three minutes later it was a Wolves lead. Jacob Doty scored his first career AHL goal after a hard shot from the left point deflected off a stick and proceeded to flutter on past the glove of Mazanec and in.
Mazanec’s night would come to an end moments later as he conceded his fifth goal of the night. Cracknell scored from the bottom of the left wing circle after taking a swipe on a puck that skipped over to him. His shot beat Mazanec near post for his second of the night and sixth of the season. Mazanec stopped 17/22 shots on goal before getting replaced in net by Magnus Hellberg with 9:32 remaining in the second period.
“I have no idea,” answered Evason when asked about what’s happening to Mazanec in net. “We’re still trying to figure it out. He’s trying to figure it out.”
The Admirals did what they had to in the third period which was to score first in the hopes of chipping away on the Wolves two-goal lead. Zach Budish whipped a wrister from the right wing boards the kicked off the pads of Binnington. Mike Liambas was able to swat the rebound with a backhander that flipped past the blocker side of the Wolves netminder for his fifth goal of the season.
The inability of the Admirals to gather or maintain momentum within games has been an issue of late. With the game at a 5-4 deficit the Admirals seemed primed to get on a third period run like that of the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday night. Then a puck went airborne in the Admirals defensive zone with Paajarvi camped under it and waiting to fire. He managed to slam a slap shot off the puck’s initial bounce and beat Hellberg high to the blocker for his second goal of the night and seventh of the season to immediately restore the Wolves two-goal lead.
With a late power-play the Admirals went for the extra attacker with 2:35 remaining. That was instantly punished after Welsh forced a turnover and spun a backhander from his own zone into the empty net for a shorthanded goal. It was his second shorthanded goal of the night, sixteenth goal of the season, and sixth goal scored against the Admirals.
For a laugh, the Admirals pulled Hellberg for the extra attacker once more only to allow the hat trick tally for Paajarvi that finished this game off at 8-4 Wolves. The goal for Paajarvi was his eighth of the season. And the loss for the Admirals was their worst of the 2014-15 campaign.
Ramblings: Kevin Fiala was assigned to the Admirals yesterday before getting recalled once again under emergency conditions earlier today. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Felix Girard (upper body) and Jimmy Oligny (healthy). After the game head coach Dean Evason said that Girard will not be back with the Admirals for the rest of this season due to injury.
When the Admirals claw back to tie the game at 3-3 what happened to the team? What will it ultimately take for the Admirals to jolt back to life? Are you concerned in the Admirals goaltending right now?