It happened again. Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly happen any more than it already has. It happened again. The Milwaukee Admirals played a good game. They did. They genuinely did. And they still lost 4-1.
It took one of the better snipes of the entire season from Viktor Arvidsson to solve Jordan Binnington. The Chicago Wolves 21-year old netminder was incredible last night. He really was. He stopped Triston Grant, Austin Watson, and Rich Clune on breakaway chances. He stopped them cold.
Despite all of the superlatives that could be given to Binnington the Admirals had a lead entering the third period and were coming off of a second period where they launched nineteen shots on net. Where did that momentum and confidence moving forward in attack go?
There can be some solid discussion on last night’s officiating in regards to some key points. (1) There were only three assigned officials to last night’s Admirals/Wolves game as opposed to four. (2) Was Mark Van Guilder guilty of a double-minor for high sticking or was he wrongly penalized for doing-so because he had made contact with a puck and it was the follow through of his swing that hit Pat Cannone? (3) As you’ll hear head coach Dean Evason answer in regards to my question on the matter. Joe Pendenza had his stick slashed out of his hands on the back-end of the double-minor for high sticking. That wasn’t called because the official didn’t see it happen. The result was a go-ahead goal for the Wolves scored on the power-play. If the officiating crew was a four man unit the slash probably gets caught and the power-play would have ended, there would have been a brief four-on-four, and the Admirals would have had a power-play to jump start their offense the same way it did in the first period.
The hardest part of all of that above discussion is the harsh reality that it doesn’t matter. None of it. The Admirals should have never been in the positions to be beaten the way that they were in the third period. The effort that was produced in the second period couldn’t be replicated and the team wilted under the Wolves attempt to shove back in response to allowing nineteen shots on goal.
Reality may have finally sunk in last night that the Admirals final game at home this season is next Friday. The team needs to win their next two games and get some serious help from around the Western Conference. The odds of the Toronto Marlies, Hamilton Bulldogs, or even the Adirondack Flames crashing to a halt the way that the Admirals have while the Admirals claim wins in their final two games feels like a massive impossibility. The Admirals have won two games… in their last seventeen games. The last time they won consecutive games… was more than a month ago with a road win in Lake Erie and an overtime thriller against Grand Rapids. Stranger things have happened, sure. If the Admirals pull this one off it’d have to be the strangest.
After the game I believe I asked more questions to coach Evason than I probably have in any post-game presser I’ve taken part in. Dave Boehler started it (did you know he has a blog?). And I ended it by unloaded what was in my head in regards to the talking points in the game and this tailspin to end the season. In addition, I sat in on Mario Tirabassi‘s interview with Admirals captain Joe Piskula. Then the two of us talked with MVG on the high-sticking incident and more. Here is what was said after the game.
Dean Evason on the Ads no longer controlling their own destiny:
Evason’s assessment of the high-sticking penalty against MVG:
Evason on the following no-call for a slash during the Ads PK:
Evason on Binnington’s performance for the Wolves:
Evason on the February 15th tailspin:
Joe Piskula’s thoughts on the week ahead:
Piskula on the Admirals third period:
Mark Van Guilder’s perspective on his high sticking call:
Van Guilder’s view on the no-call for slashing:
Van Guilder on what has happened to the team since February:
Van Guilder on Binnington’s effort:
Van Guilder’s approach for the rest of the season:
Comments on the comments? Evason said a ton in regards to the Admirals run of things. How much do you agree or disagree with his assessment of how things have gone this season?