Why did I save this one for last? There are two reasons. One, this was the single easiest choice of the entire “Best Of” week. Two, this should give you all good vibes to start off your weekend.
The best game of the 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals season almost doesn’t need an introduction. It was a thrill ride. March 6, 2015. Grand Rapids Griffins in Milwaukee. Viktor Stålberg at 4:02 of the first period, with 0.4 seconds remaining of the third period to force overtime, and 15 seconds into overtime for the hat trick and game-winner.
The work rate of Kevin Fiala in those closing seconds was a small showcase of what the Nashville Predators hope to see in the NHL soon enough. He never quit. Even in the final closing second he never quit and it was the difference. As brilliant as Petr Mrázek was in the AHL, as well as in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Detroit Red Wings, he looked as if he conceded that there was no chance that Fiala had enough time to do anything from where he was on the wall other than shoot on net. Fiala, for all that was happening, was smart enough to pick out Stålberg’s stick-blade all alone in front of the net and hammered a shot pass to him to force overtime with 0.4 seconds remaining.
The BMO Harris Bradley Center erupted when that puck went in. When the officials went to review whether or not the goal would stand or not it quieted. The fans right by the penalty box, who could view the same replays that the officials were reviewing, began to celebrate and that noise ramped back up. It was in. Count it. Overtime. Ker-blammo.
What made that game all the more incredible was that the Griffins had done the exact same feat the previous occasion the two played in Grand Rapids. Andy Miele scored with exactly 0.4 seconds remaining to force overtime before notching the game-winner 2:09 into the overtime period. Stålberg would one-up that mark by scoring only 15 seconds into overtime to not only win the game but complete a hat trick.
Honorable Mentions, in order of the date in which the occurred: 10/10/14, vs. Charlotte – home opener with plenty of big introductory goals… 10/18/14, @ Iowa – the Viktor Arvidsson Show… 11/29/14, @ Charlotte – the Admirals didn’t even win but nobody cared because Magnus Hellberg and company got into a line brawl… 1/9/15, @ Rockford – Marek Mazanec and Michael Leighton steal the show and Austin Watson steals the win in OT… 2/8/15, vs. Rochester – goals, goals everywhere, and that Watson kid strikes again in OT… 4/1/15, @ Lake Erie – Admirals come back from down 2-0, survive a five-minute major penalty kill, survive an ESPN Top Play save by Calvin Pickard, and Fiala wins it in overtime.
What was your favorite game from this past season? What were some of your favorite moments of the Admirals season?