Milwaukee Admirals Lose Home Finale 3-2 in OT

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
Anthony Bitetto recorded his fourth goal of the season in tonight’s Milwaukee Admirals home finale. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

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?

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8 thoughts on “Milwaukee Admirals Lose Home Finale 3-2 in OT”

  1. Milwaukee outplayed Toronto in the first, second and OT periods. It is fitting that they couldn’t score enough to win a game that they dominated. You missed a few parts of the game story.

    I noticed that in the second period that the Admirals were playing with 11 forwards. After Liambis was ejected, they played with ten. I don’t know who was missing, maybe Sissons. Speaking of missing things, Referee Shaun “of the Dead from the Neck Up” Davis did his usual poor job!
    Clune got his penalty on a retaliation after taking a stick up high from Brennan. My favorite bad officiating was when Bitetto carried the puck across the slot late in the third period and was tripped off his skates. As he elegantly slid towards the corner on his stomach, one of the refs decides to call a penalty. Unfortunately, it was on that “stinking goon” Pontus Aberg for slashing. The fans booed loudly, but not as loudly as when the replay was shown with Bitetto biting the ice! The Admirals were close to scoring and that poor call took the wind out of their sails. Thanks refs for changing the momentum of the game! On the Liambis party of two, I will say this. Liambis was jawing across the red line with McLaren. McLaren jabs Liambis in the chest with his stick. One of the refs was standing about 3 feet away and saw this happen. He made no call; and the rest you covered (or is history)! A correct 2 minute call there, and maybe the rest doesn’t happen.

    The Admirals were feeding Bitetto in the first and second periods. After he scored, they switched to Arvidsson, who had about a hundred shots, most of which missed the goal. In the OT, maybe 7 seconds in, Arvidsson drew some iron. I thought that was going to be the game winner, but the puck didn’t go in. After that, Viktor had a guy hanging all over him. The refs lost their whistles.

    I thought that Alm looked terrible. The Marlies were going around the outside of him all night. Aronson was paired with him and had to cover for his numerous mistakes. Clune played a strong game. Watson completed as many passes to Toronto as he did to Milwaukee. Other players also poked at pucks rather than clearing them. That is a sign of fatigue (or laziness). It happened too many times, especially in the Admirals defensive zone. Alm was big on that near his own goal and the defensive blue line. Once Milwaukee got the puck into the O-zone, they threw it around pretty well, but didn’t take so many shots. They still out shot the Marlies! Piskula and Noonan were steady out there. Bitetto played the best game that I have seen from him. Diaby was okay.
    The forwards were okay. Budish took an elbow and retaliated by dishing out some nasty checks in the neutral zone. MVG didn’t do so much tonight, but neither did Leipsic!

    Not coming back: Mazanec, Alm, Watson, Clune and maybe Grant, Van Guilder and Bitetto.
    Maz lost the playoffs and he can’t play in OT games with 8 losses and 4 more in shoot outs.
    In effect, Mazanec was 18-30 for Milwaukee. (Hellberg was 15-19 with lower GAA by 0.4 goals)
    Alm is a defensive liability. He was never as good after he came back from his injury.
    Watson is a good player, but not good enough for the NHL. He is another Haydar, only bigger.
    Clune was very good, but I don’t think that Nashville wants his contract anymore. It is too bad, because the other teams are afraid of Clune. He is smart, every team needs a guy like that.

    Grant did a good job playing it straight this season. I would have him back for his toughness. His 13 goals and 13 assists were badly needed by a scoring challenged team. He is a step slow.
    Bitetto was never the same after he came back from Nashville. I like him, but the Preds don’t.
    Van Guilder comes to play every night. He was more physical this year, but his scoring was not as much as I had expected. Maybe the first caused the second.

    I would hope that Shaun Davis is never coming back to Milwaukee. We should be so lucky!
    Ref Tim Mayer seemed okay for the most part. At least he can see how not to ref a game.
    BTW, I thought the refs did get all of the goal calls correct. Thank goodness for that.

  2. Well said ads fan. I wouldn’t want to have to make some of those decisions that face the GM. Clune has been fun to watch, but I think you’re right his contract might be an issue.
    The goalie situation will be in flux.
    Bitteto and Van Guilder bring veteran leadership, but do they fit in the Nashville plan?
    Arviddson will likely be in Nashville. Sissons has shown flashes of brilliance. Fiala is as good as Nashville bound.
    As for the rest we’ll have to wait and see.

  3. It was a great effort game and one i feek Milwaukee Frederick Gaudreau
    ictated flow of the game. We looked more with it for larger portions of the game unlike that last few weeks where it was pockets of good in between sections of absentminded play. It was fun watching the game inside the game Leipsic v Bitteto. They played each other very hard, Leipsic has a hard slap of the stick to Bitteto that he mouthed back with “what the f*** man? ” but Bitteto got him back later with an open ice hit. Frederick Gaudreau played a very good game had chances and almost set Big Dawg Robinson for a couple of goal, just didn’t find the net. All season i feel Gaudreau has had his hands tied with less than skilled line mates. Most of the time he’s with the knuckle draggers so his abilities aren’t being maximized. Pair him with a shooter and his playmaker abilities might shine bright so moment of with Big Dawg tonight. As far as who is here and who is gone. Here is my lists: Still here: Diaby, Sissons, Ardvinsson, Maz (he’s got a year left on entry deal) Salomaki, Aberg, Alm.
    Good as gone: Watson- sucks cause he’s brings everything you need but never got the chance. MVG- A fave of mine since the beginning but sadly the NHL sun is setting on this warrior he’ll find another AHL squad that wants his leadership. Clune, Grant- i won’t be shedding tears over the excessively awful penalties they wont be taking for us next year. Hellberg- blame Hutton and Nashville for his departure they could easily moved Darling up for a one year (this year) and then either Maz or Hellberg as backup next year but nope they opted for Hutton and with Saros on deck and Hellbergs entry deal expiring we waive goodbye to the one guy who always thanked the crowd, shook hands and truly appreciated every moment. Bitteto- another fave who’s time is up. Won’t be shocked to see him on the Ads South team aka Texas Stars.
    Now the unsure of contracts/maybe back guys: Girard, Buddish, Shalla, Noonan, Gaudreau- shows potential. Pendenza-could come back on an Ads deal. Aaronson-i feel he’s back with a two way. Nashville maybe rewards his patience. Liambas-for some reason i think he has year left on a deal not sure. Piskula- as unpopular as I’m about to be he just might be back. I saw more bad than all the good everyone else saw. I saw bad defensive zone puck movement and pucks off his stick right onto other teams. I saw a someone wearing the C but just didn’t see enough true leadership coming through in the teams play. I may be a Ford homer but i think that guy was able to get something outta guys even when behind. Sorry i just don’t have want for Piskula back. Coaching staff like I’ve said before “hope you rent not own”

  4. Apparently a copy paste moment added Frederick Gaudreau in where i didn’t want it. Lol. Also i want more Steffes and Big Dawg Robinson next year!

  5. A typical loss this year. I was looking back over the the season. I would have to say the Ads were very inconsistent. A winning streak to start. Later a nine game winning streak. However too many losing streaks including a 7 game losing streak. There has been a 6 and 2 5 game losing streaks by my some what accurate account. How do you expect to make the play offs playing like that. By my account the Ads had ten tough and a couple of losses that shouldn’t have happened. One was the Feb 18th game. Leading with just a second left against Grand Rapids the Griffins tie the game and win in OT. The other was March 25th against the Rampage. Up by 3 to start the third. Rampage ties and wins in ot. Instead of gaining four points the Ads just get 2.

    Dec 7 Ads have a 1-0 lead less than a minute to go. Grffins tie and win a shoot out.
    Dec 18 Take a 2 1 lead into the third. Lake Erie gets 3 goal in the 3rd. The last 2 come at 18;04 and 18:30.

    Dec 29. Lead 2-1 with just less than 4 minutes to go. Wild ties it up wins in ot.

    Next night. Ads come back from 3 down only to allow the Wild to score at 17:44 to go. The Ads do score to tie it back up, but lose in ot.

    Jan 2. Leading 2-1 in the third. Griffins score at 15:28 and 16:24 plus an empty netter to win.
    Ads the go on the big winning streak. Ads then go 10 and 23 the rest of the way.

    Back to bad losses. Feb 3rd Ads lead 2-0 going into the third. They give up a shorty at 3:55 and the tying goal at 14:13. And that is another thing. They gave up way too many short handed goals The next two games were the ones mentioned at the top.

    The last one wasn’t as tough as I thought but on Apr 3rd the Texas scores with about 5 minutes left in the 2nd and win in a shootout. So despite the crappy record after the winning streak if the Ads had won 3 or 4 more games they would have been in the playoffs

    One other thing, the Ads had to have one of the worst power plays in the league I think they went 30 or more power plays with out getting a goal That is terrible. It would be nice if the AHL site carried stats like that. If they do I must have missed them. It seems like the PK was pretty good I I also wonder if the Ads gave up the most short handed goals. Some of those had to cost them games. It was something I really didn’t look at except for the one game I mentioned

    This is now the 3rd year in a row where it has come down to the end of the season as to whether they make the playoffs or not. I realize this is a development league, so every team should be in pretty much the same boat. There are 26 Ads in the Stanley Cup hunt. I wonder how that compares with the rest. A disappointing season to say the least

  6. Just a note on Clune – unless he’s moved, he still has one more year on his contract. He obviously doesn’t fit in Nashville so unless they move him, I would assume he would get sent down again…

    Also, Maz’s contract is up this year. He’s an RFA so he may not be back as well…

    Johan Alm has one more year on his deal so again unless the Preds move him or he goes overseas, he’ll be back.

    Here’s what I’m seeing as player statuses with their current contracts. Unfortunately since CapGeek is gone, I don’t know if any of these are one-way deals or not… (I included some Nashville players in this. There are quote a few “grinders” this year who are RFA’s which could open up spots for bubble guys next year…)

    Alm – signed through 2015-2016
    Aronson – RFA
    Bitetto – RFA
    Diaby – signed through 2015-2016
    Ford – UFA
    Noonan – signed through 2015-2016
    Oligny – unknown, had a one-year AHL deal w/ Ads
    Piskula – UFA
    Rissling – signed through 2016-2017
    Vainonen – signed through 2016-2017

    Aberg – signed through 2016-2017
    Arvidsson – signed through 2016-2017
    Beck – RFA
    Bourque – RFA
    Budish – RFA
    Cehlin – RFA
    Clune – signed through 2015-2016 (one-way)
    Fiala – signed through 2016-2017
    Gaudreau – unknown, had a one-year AHL deal w/ Ads
    Girard – signed through 2016-2017
    Grant – unknown, had a one-year AHL deal w/ Ads
    Grotz – signed through 2016-2017
    Henderson – UFA (yes, Kevin Hendo… he’s still on Nashville’s payroll)
    Jarnkrok – RFA
    Liambas – unknown, had a one-year AHL deal w/ Ads
    Pendenza – unknown, had a one-year AHL deal w/ Ads
    Ribeiro – UFA
    Robinson – ATO only
    Salomaki – signed through 2015-2016 (I thought next year is one-way, can’t confirm)
    Santorelli – UFA
    Shalla – RFA
    Sissons – signed through 2015-2016
    Stalberg – signed through 2016-2017 (one-way @ $3.5mil per)
    Steffes – unknown, had a one-year ECHL deal w/ Allen Americans
    Van Guilder – UFA
    Watson – RFA

    Hellberg – RFA
    Hutton – signed through 2015-2016 (one-way @ $750k)
    Maz – RFA

  7. I heard Aaron say on the pregame show that Pendenza was hurt last night. He was the missing center, not Sissons.

    Thanks for the info Steve C!

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