Admirals Take Another Point; lose 3-2 in shootout

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
Kevin Fiala is good at hockey. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals lost 3-2 in a shootout against the Texas Stars Friday night. For the fourth consecutive game the Admirals went past regulation to earn a point. Sadly, it is the third time in that span that they could only earn a single point.

“That was a hell of a hockey game,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We played great, goalie played great, [defense] played great, got good goals. What else can you ask for? The result, as far as that one extra point isn’t there, but my gosh we played the way that we need to play. It was very positive.”

There was a really good start for the Admirals that all went for naught when Derek Hulak scored from a rebounder to give the Stars a first period lead. Justin Dowling beat Taylor Aronson on the left wing and skated in on goal. His shot banked off Marek Mazanec’s chest and into the path of Hulak for a quick backhanded swipe on the rebound to score his nineteenth goal of the season.

Kevin Fiala would respond by the end of the first period with his eleventh goal of the season. Branden Troock’s outlet pass for Jamie Oleksiak was botched and Fiala raced in to intercept the soft pass. The 18-year old proceeded to dangle through Oleksiak and then Stars team captain Maxime Fortunus before burying a wrist shot on the near post past the blocker of Jack Campbell.

“He’s a special player,” said Evason. “Nashville obviously knew it when they drafted him. We know why we brought him here to get North American-ized. He’s just responded great. His skill level is one thing but he wants to play, he wants to win, he’s a good teammate, he’s got everything to set himself up to be a great great pro. He just needs a bit more time because he’s eighteen.”

The Admirals took their first lead of the game after a power-play goal scored by Austin Watson. Anthony Bitetto stepped in from the right point to deliver a hard shot towards the net. Watson wasn’t picked up by the Stars penalty kill as he moved off the wall and towards the front of the net. He caught Bitetto’s shot with his stick blade and deflected the shot up and over Campbell’s glove for his team leading twenty-fourth goal of the season.

A defensive breakdown with less than five minutes remaining in the second period leveled the score back up again. Greg Rallo swooped down the right wing and was able to catch the trailing Travis Morin racing to the backdoor of Mazanec. Joe Piskula and Jonathan Diaby were both occupied with Brendan Ranford’s net front presence and Morin won the foot race to the back post against Colton Sissons for the tap in on the left wing. It goes down as Morin’s twentieth goal of the season. It is his fourth career twenty goal season in the AHL.

This game ended up being decided in the shootout after flying through overtime without ever needing to go into three-on-three hockey. The Admirals went first in the shootout and, after Frederick Gaudreau and Fiala both scored, it was up to Mazanec to get a stop against Morin for the win. That didn’t happen. Gary Steffes stepped up next for the Admirals and scored on a backhand forehand move. Mazanec was once again beaten with a chance to win the game and missed out on the Devin Shore forehand shot. After Pontus Aberg was stopped by a glove save from Campbell it was Dowling finishing off the shootout with a wrister to the blocker side of Mazanec. The Stars scored on the last four shootout attempts that they had and three of them burnt the blocker side of Mazanec.

The Admirals will get a slight bit of a rest with the weekend off. Their next games are both on the road and will take place Tuesday and Wednesday. The first stop is against the Rockford IceHogs and the following day they’ll face the Grand Rapids Griffins. It’s not going to be an easy task facing the top two teams in the Midwest Division on back-to-back nights but it’s playoff time for the Admirals right now. Each game should be treated as such. These are teams that the Admirals would have to beat to make it to the Calder Cup. The same has to be said to make it into the Calder Cup Playoffs.

Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Eric Robinson (healthy), Joe Pendenza (healthy), and Jimmy Oligny (healthy). The Admirals played their twenty-third overtime game tonight. They are tied with the St. John’s IceCaps for the AHL lead in overtime games played this season.

What is your take from tonight’s game? Was this still a positive result for the Admirals? How do you feel the playoff picture is forming right now.

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10 thoughts on “Admirals Take Another Point; lose 3-2 in shootout”

  1. One point at a time isn’t going to do it for the Ads. It is win some games or go home in 2 weeks!.

  2. I don’t think win “some” games is going to do it either. There really was no room for anything other than wins in these last 7 games. One more loss and I think they may be toast. Unfortunately their next game is against the Griffins.

  3. With Rockford, Grand Rapids and Chicago next week we’ll find out where the team is. Maz looked lost at points during the shoot out. After the first one, it was all but over. He looked tired and frustrated. At least Hellberg gives more of a chance to win.
    Maybe Nashville is forcing Maz on us, but it hurts the Admirals to fight and claw back ino the game only to find they get beat in the shoothe out.
    What is Maz’s record in the shoot out?

  4. Maz may have looked bad in the shoot out, but give credit where credit is due. He was tremendous in the game. He made two or three spectacular saves that kept the Admirals in the game yesterday. I was thinking about this yesterday, but Maz has played two great games now. At this point I think we have to roll with Maz the rest of the year. We can’t afford a loss (no points) so we need to roll with who’s hot.

    As of right now our magic number is 13. Toronto is on our tails… they have a tough schedule to end the year including the last four games on the road AND 6 games in 10 days! That can either be good for them if they get hot, or bad if they play like crap! Either way, we’ll need some help but we NEED to win vs Chicago and Toronto.

  5. Oh come on Maz definitely lost this game again. Doesn’t protect the pipes in a shoot out. He skaters so far up as to ask the opponent out and is blind on his left side. The Press shouldn’t even want him.

  6. Congrats Mandy! I also believe that Maz has a vision problem on his left. Teams go for that side more than usual for a goalie. How many goals have we seen in recent weeks go by the blocker?

    Fan in the Falls, I haven’t done the math, but you are probably correct. The one point games are killing the Admirals chances. They need every point! Chicago has played 3 fewer games and won their last 7 in a row. Neither of those is good for Milwaukee. I don’t think that the Admirals can beat any of the division leaders at the moment, so #6 to #8 will be deadly in the playoffs. BTW, Texas has the #6 seed and Chicago has the #7. OKC is #5 with 5 more points and one less game played.

    Where is Paul Fenton? He should be asked if the orders from Nashville are to keep playing Maz until the Admirals get knocked out of the playoffs. It sure looks that way to me as a 1/2 STH!

  7. It would be quite interesting to know if who plays in goal is a coach’s decision or heavily influenced by “requests” from the Preds. If the latter, I am curious to know why they have so heavily gone with Maz this season, even when he was playing poorly. Considering the AHL is a league to help the NHL teams gauge their prospects, wouldn’t you want to see both goalies more (in the Maz/Hellberg situation)

  8. I think Maz is on his way out. Hellberg and the guy from Europe (Saros?) will be here in 2015-16.

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