The cardiac kids were at it again on Tuesday night. The Milwaukee Admirals rallied in the third period from a 3-1 deficit to force overtime in the final seconds and go on to defeat the Texas Stars 4-3 in a shootout.
“We deserved to win that hockey game,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Clearly we would like to win in a different fashion as opposed to both our victories coming off of pulled goalie and scoring a goal. We’d like to find different ways to win those two hockey games. But our guys played so hard. To not get rewarded tonight would have been really hard to swallow.”
The high powered Stars offense got the scoring started in the first period after a neutral zone turnover by the Admirals teed up a counter attack. A pass to Pontus Åberg ended up getting caught in his skates and wrangled up by the Stars. With the rush breaking towards net both Conor Allen and Jimmy Oligny were closing in on the puck carrier Matej Stransky who would drop off a pass back to Jason Dickinson. The slot was wide open as he ripped a wrister past the blocker side of Marek Mazanec to score his first career pro goal.
In the second period the Admirals got their breakthrough from the power-play. Greg Rallo lofted up a backhander into the seats and allowed the Ads to get their fourth crack on the power-play. Kevin Fiala’s wristed effort from the right wing faceoff circle hit traffic in front of John Muse in net. Luckily for the Admirals Vladislav Kamenev was the first man to react to the loose puck and he smacked home his third goal of the season.
“Hockey IQ is a universal language,” said Colton Sissons of teammate Vladislav Kamenev. “You don’t need to speak the same language on the ice. He just sees the game so well. He’s a nice player to watch. He’s going to be a good player for many years.”
The Admirals attack really intensified following the power-play goal but was short lived when Conor Allen was called for a slash in the Admirals attacking zone. This allowed for the Stars to answer right back with a power-play goal of their own. Brendan Ranford passed left wing to right wing where Stars captain Travis Morin waited on his forehand shot and beat Mazanec high blocker side to record his second goal of the season.
Early into the third period the Stars were able to get a two goal cushion off of a long range shot by Julius Honka. The point shot was taken from the blue line all the way back by the Admirals bench. Honka’s shot appeared to get past Mazanec with an assist to the big screen on front of him set by Morin rushing across from the right wing and Taylor Aronson guarding the crease. The goal for Honka is his first of the season.
After successive power-play chances the Admirals cashed in from a tripping call against Ranford with a second power-play goal of the night for Kamenev. The Russian setup shop in front of the goal crease and threw a five hole shot on Muse. If it didn’t go in direct from the shot he made sure to stuff it across the line for his fourth goal of the season.
With the Admirals in desperation mode in the final minute of the game, the Stars had a chance to deliver on an empty net bid the neutral zone but missed wide of the cage. Fiala was first man to the puck and darted behind the net to start a rush back up ice but was hauled down by Remi Elie. The tripping call allowed for an Admirals power-play with the extra attacker with 22.9 seconds remaining in the contest. With Fiala on the trigger and bodies lined up in front of the net it was captain Colton Sissons scoring with five-seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3 on his first goal of the season.
“I saw [Fiala] shoot it and I was just kind of waving my stick like a wand at it just to try to get a piece,” said Sissons. “Fortunately I tipped it up into the upper half of the net and, sometimes, you get bounces that you deserve.”
The Admirals were pushing the pace in overtime with a near hat trick chance for Kamenev and a power-play that lasted to the end of the extra frame. Nothing would come from five-minutes of three-on-three hockey and this game went to a shootout. Round 1: Moses stopped by a glove save, Ranford stopped on a backhand attempt. Round 2: Fiala scores after snapping a nasty wrister off the far post and in, Devin Shore scored after skating wide right and scoring forehand glove-side on Mazanec. Round 3: Kamenev stopped on a backhanded attempt, Jesse Blacker denied on a five-hole shot. Round 4: Frédérick Gaudreau zips a puck past Muse stick side, Justin Dowling stopped from a flashy glove stop from Mazanec for the win.
The Admirals only had two comeback victories when trailing in the third period all last season. They’ve claimed two comeback wins in the third period twice from five games this season. The Texas Stars are an offensive machine and the Admirals were able to outshoot them 47-28 on the night. It was more than just a good win. It might have finally been the awakening of the 2015-16 Admirals.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played: Viktor Arvidsson was reassigned to the Admirals (AHL) from the Nashville Predators (NHL), Miikka Salomäki was recalled from the Admirals to the Predators, and Max Görtz was recalled to the Admirals from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). Entering tonight’s game the Admirals had lost the last six straight games against the Stars. Their last win against them was nearly two-years ago back on 10/30/13 when the Admirals won at home 3-2 in overtime. Tonight’s game will henceforth be known as “The Amy Schumer Game” as her show is what caused the rescheduling of this game from 12/4/15. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were Trevor Murphy (healthy) and Jamie Devane (healthy).
Reaction to tonight’s game? What are your early impressions of Vladislav Kamenev? How did you feel Marek Mazanec performed in net tonight? And can the Admirals carry this sort of a performance directly into Thursday night’s game against the Manitoba Moose?