The Admirals lost 4-1 against the Chicago Wolves Friday night. The Amtrak Rivals came back to win their first game of the entire season after trailing in the second period. Jordan Binnington was dominant in net for the Wolves as he made thirty-nine saves to allow the Wolves to win this year’s Amtrak Rivalry trophy.
This game started off with a quick fight between Mike Liambas and Jacob Doty. A net front scrum in the Wolves end escalated into a bout between the two and there was at minimum one haymaker landed from each before the pair spilled to the ice.
Viktor Arvidsson’s twentieth goal of the season opened up the scoring in the first period. Anthony Bitetto was able to keep a puck in the Admirals attacking zone and passed up to Arvidsson. The Swede, skating away from his eventual target, wired a wrister over the glove shoulder of Jordan Binnington, off the crossbar, and down. Arvidsson joined Austin Watson and Colton Sissons as Admirals with twenty or more goals scored this season.
In the second period the Admirals pelted twenty shots on goal. The story was Wolves netminder Binnington who was lights out in the sandwich stanza. He was making some sensational saves and was responsible for the second period scoreline staying exactly as it was after the first frame.
After weathering the second period storm the Wolves equalized 2:20 into the third period. Jani Hakanpaa leapt up from the point to work towards the right wing of Mazanec’s cage. As he swooped down he dished to the net front presence of the first period combatant Doty who scored over the glove shoulder of Mazanec despite Joe Piskula draped all over him as the shot was released. It was Doty’s second goal of the season – all of which have come in Milwaukee.
Close to eight minutes into the third period, Mark Van Guilder went to swat a puck out of the air and got the puck followed by Pat Cannone’s face. The officials called a double-minor for high sticking on the play but failed to call a slashing penalty when Joe Pendenza had his stick swatted out of his hands. Shortly after Pendenza retrieved his stick the Wolves had scored a tic-tac-toe goal with Shane Harper sliding across the front of the net from the low left wing to score his thirty-first goal of the season.
With 2:25 remaining in regulation the Wolves capped off an odd-man rush to put the game out of reach. Harper was in a shooting position forever and a day before Magnus Paajarvi finally dropped back to him. The shot rifled past Mazanec for his second goal of the period and thirty-second of the season.
Adam Cracknell added an empty netter almost instantly following the Admirals decision to go for the extra attacker. It was his tenth goal of the season but it was pretty much unnecessary. Binnington only ever needed the Wolves to get him two back after Arvidsson tagged him. He stopped thirty-nine shots in the game. His performance allowed the Wolves to win their first game of the season after trailing heading into the third period. They were 0-25-3-1 before tonight.
Not only was the Admirals loss crushing but the rest of the league responded against them as well. The Toronto Marlies defeated the Rochester Americans 3-1 and the Hamilton Bulldogs won 4-3 over the Texas Stars. The Admirals no longer control their destiny and it is going to take something miraculous at this point to continue their playoff consecutive appearances streak.
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Jonathan Diaby (healthy), Felix Girard (out for the season), Miikka Salomaki (out for the season), Zach Budish (healthy), and Pontus Åberg (healthy).
Did the officials get the Mark Van Guilder high sticking call right? Blown calls aside, where did the Admirals high rate of attack go from the second period to the third period?