The Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime against the Toronto Marlies Friday night. In the final home game of the Admirals 2014-15 season things went as they have lately. The Admirals showed some spurts of genius but ultimately couldn’t get a two-goal lead and fell in overtime. The Marlies have now locked up the AHL Western Conference playoff picture by securing their place tonight.
The Marlies opened up the scoring in the closing seconds of an abbreviated power-play opportunity. Rich Clune was called for a holding penalty to end the Admirals power-play and William Nylander’s twelfth goal of the season came moments later. Matt Frattin and Byron Froese wheeled along the end board and Froese passed out from the left wing side of the net to the on-rushing Nylander. Magnus Hellberg made the initial save with his glove but the puck fell free and Nylander scored on his own rebound.
In the second period Anthony Bitetto scored his fourth goal of the season to level things up at 1-1. Frederick Gaudreau passed off from the low left wing for Bitetto as he skated in from the right point. Bitetto controlled and then snapped a wrister in on goal that deflected off of Greg McKegg’s stick and past his goaltender Antoine Bibeau.
The Admirals took the lead on a power-play goal from Viktor Arvidsson. Pontus Aberg’s initial shot from the low right wing half wall deflected off the net front screen of Austin Watson and back into the path of Arvidsson sitting on the left wing faceoff dot. He hammered a slap shot past Bibeau for his twenty-first goal of the season.
In the closing seconds of the second period, T.J. Brennan engaged Clune in a verbal spat that escalated with Clune getting called for a roughing minor with Brennan ducking a physical altercation. When the second period horn sounded Mike Liambas and Frazer McLaren were jawing each other to pieces and finally threw off various bits of their hockey attire to throw down. The officials were having none of this and prevented a fight from happening but not without more words and a few punches thrown through striped shirts. Both received game misconducts for the altercation.
Just past the halfway point of the third period the Marlies equalized at 2-2 after a goal by Sam Carrick. A loose puck to the blocker side of Hellberg was given a wild swipe by Carrick and the shot somehow alluded the big Swede in net and found its way in for Carrick’s ninth goal of the season. The general reaction of the play was mute as the goal light went on but no one really reacted to the shot. It was only officially called a goal after video review.
This game would spill into overtime and the three-on-three portion. Toronto would cap off the Admirals home finale by burying a wing-to-wing feed from Nylander to Brendan Mikkelson that was buried on the right wing back post of Hellberg for Mikkelson’s ninth goal of the season. The win for the Marlies secured their spot in the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Ramblings: The Milwaukee Admirals were officially eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday night when the Toronto Marlies defeated the Iowa Wild 5-2. It ends a run of twelve straight playoff seasons for the Admirals in the AHL. This will be the first season without playoff hockey in Milwaukee since the Admirals debut season to the AHL of 2001-02. The Admirals roster moves since last Friday included: Kevin Fiala being recalled to the Nashville Predators, Garrett Noonan being recalled to the Admirals from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL, Gary Steffes being released from his PTO contract to rejoin the Allen Americans in the ECHL for their playoff run, and Scott Ford also being released from his PTO contract to rejoin the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL for their playoff run. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Felix Girard (out for the season), Miikka Salomaki (out for the season), and Jimmy Oligny (healthy).
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Do you feel the team looked any different without the pressure of getting into the playoffs on their backs? Who do you feel played their last game in Milwaukee as a member of Admirals tonight?