The Admirals lost 5-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves Saturday night. The Amtrak Rivals buried four power-play goals tonight including three in the first period alone.
“Obviously it’s an area we have to clean up for sure,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on 105.7 The Fan. “Penalty kill is the one thing that’s hard to work on at training camp but we have a lot of video right now. We have a lot of things that we can look at and discuss. Discipline was our number one key today. We didn’t have that anywhere on the ice.”
The Wolves power-play got off and running in the first period after Kristian Näkyvä was called for a trip. Magnus Pääjärvi scored the power-play goal off of a redirect after a shot fake and pass by André Benoît.
The next Wolves power-play featured a goal but one scored at the other end of the ice. Vladislav Kamenev spearheaded a shorthanded rush down the ice, glided out ever so slightly to the right wing to open up a forehanded shot, and he somehow found daylight in Jordan Binnington to record his first pro goal in North America.
Struggles of composure continued for the Admirals as a Pontus Åberg slash was followed by a delay of game by Félix Girard in a matter of fifteen seconds. The five-on-three power-play was a bang bang wing-to-wing tally for Pat Cannone. Pääjärvi was able to zip a puck across the goal mouth to set up the Wolves captain on the left wing side of Juuse Saros for a tap in.
After Trevor Murphy was called for hooking, a poor clearance by Taylor Aronson on the penalty kill was blown right back in his face by the Wolves for their third power-play goal of the first period. The clearance by Aronson went straight to the Wolves who finished the second chance opportunity with Ty Rattie firing in a quick shot blocker side of Saros.
It was only a matter of time before frustrations and post whistle scrums developed into something a bit more legitimate. Cody Bass partnered up with Jacob Doty and the two threw some bombs at one another at the start of the tilt. Bass certainly walked away the winner of the fight but also appeared to injure his right hand in the process. He did return to the game later on.
In the second period, a little Russian on Russian crime led to a fourth power-play goal scored by the Wolves. Kamenev collided with fellow Russian forward Ivan Barbashyov which resulted in a tripping penalty. Rattie would score his second power-play goal of the night after Jonthan Diaby and his defensive partner Murphy both fell asleep on the penalty kill and let the sniper drift behind them. It was a smooth finish by Rattie to best Saros to the glove side.
With only 0.5 seconds remaining in the second period the Wolves tallied their fifth goal of the game and the first goal scored at even-strength. Benoît’s shot from the left point took a net front redirect by Doty that snuck through Saros to make it a 5-1 game.
The third period would prove to cruise by. No more damage was created by the Wolves and no damage was really attempted to be created by the Admirals. In the end, it is the Wolves eighth consecutive win over the Admirals and wound up being the Amtrak Rivals’ largest home opener win, in terms of goals scored, since the 2002-03 season.
The Admirals composure and inability to stay out of the box early, and kill off those penalties, put them in a hole they could never get out of. With so many penalty kills early in a game it is hard for a team, especially offense, to settle and get into a groove. That never happened and the result pretty much speaks for itself. Saros ends up getting hard done in his North American debut allowing five goals – four of which were scored on the power-play – from thirty-seven shots.
“I thought Saros was good, real good,” said Drulia. “Kind of felt bad that we left him hanging out there to dry at times. He’s a real good goaltender and hopefully he can put this one behind him. He’s going to have a real good year for us.”
The team will look to rebound this coming Friday night on their home opener where the Admirals will face the Charlotte Checkers. Hopefully being able to recapture some of the magic of last season’s home opener where the Admirals beat the Checkers 6-3 could be in the cards with a solid week of practice. One game down. Seventy-five games left to play.
Ramblings: Tonight’s line combinations were: Salomäki-Sissons-Moses, Pendenza-Reinhart-Fiala, Åberg-Kamenev-Bass, Devane-Girard-Görtz // Allen-Näkyvä, Alm-Aronson, Diaby-Murphy. This meant the scratches were: Frédérick Gaudreau, Garrett Noonan, and Jimmy Oligny. Jordan Binnington is now a perfect eight for eight against the Admirals: 8 wins from 8 starts with a 0.936 save percentage. The Admirals were outshot by the Wolves tonight by a final of 37-17.
Obviously not the best way to open the season up. What is your reaction to tonight’s result? Did the Admirals simply shoot themselves in the first period with penalties and never recover? Do you look at Saros in net and have questions about his performance or more so the team in front of him?