The Admirals were unable to repeat their late heroics Thursday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The Manitoba Moose were able to hold off forty-one shots on goal attempted by the Admirals and held to their 3-2 third period lead until the final horn sounded. It was Manitoba’s first win of the season and first since returning to the AHL.
“Frustrating game tonight,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Frustrating starts. And it’s on us. Coaches we got to get them ready to play and start better. It’s disappointing, frustrating because all three of the goals against are structural stuff. The two even strength goals are read the rush. Everyone is marked. We just stopped skating and don’t do what we’re supposed to do.”
It wouldn’t take long for the lowest scoring team in the AHL to take a 1-0 lead. Only twenty-three seconds into the game and a passing play off the right wing through the neutral zone teed up former Milwaukee Admirals forward Matt Hallischuk for his first goal of the season and first as a member of the Moose.
Admirable Mention. Adam Payerl tried to drop the gloves with Julian Melchiori shortly after the opening goal by the Moose. At the very least I think everyone appreciated the effort.
Not long after the scrap there was an injury timeout. Matt Fraser was down in a heap in the Admirals right wing attacking corner. In truth, I did not see the incident and how Fraser was injured on the play but it was clear that Vladislav Kamenev commanded the attention of one or more Moose players after the whistle came to get the trainer out on the ice. Both Scott Kosmachuk and John Albert helped Fraser off the ice.
Following an interference call against Anthony Bitetto the Moose were able to score seven-seconds into their power-play to make it a 2-0 lead six-minutes into the first period. The play looked oh-so simple as Chase De Leo’s quick feed to Joel Armia dinked off his stick and into an empty net. The screen on Marek Mazanec had him looking the completely wrong direction. The goal scored by Armia was his second of the season.
The Admirals would respond with a power-play goal of their own a little over two-minutes later. Kevin Fiala dangled on the puck for a little bit before zipping over to the left wing faceoff dot where Viktor Arvidsson hammered a one-timer in and out of Connor Hellebuyck’s net faster than you can type Hellebuyck. The goal for Arvidsson was his first of the season in an Admirals sweater. He scored his first career NHL goal on opening night for the Nashville Predators.
With 3:09 remaining in the first period the Admirals were able to comeback from an early 2-0 hole to tie things up. Bitetto was able to throw a puck to team captain Colton Sissons who delivered a beautiful backhand pass in front of a sliding Andrew MacWilliam and Hellebuyck in net – and right to the tape of Stevie Moses for a tap in. Fantastic passing play that all ended with Moses second goal of the season.
The second period saw a much better hockey fight. This time the duo dropping the gloves were Cody Bass and Darren Kramer. There were some really big shots thrown, some landed, and it finished with Bass on top of Kramer for the win in the fight department.
Prior to the halfway point in this game the Moose regained the lead. Armia used Johan Alm as a screen as he threw a puck from the right wing on net. Mazanec attempted to push the rebound off to the left wing wall but ended up finding Brenden Kichton instead. After a quick shot it was 3-2 Moose from Kichton’s second goal of the season.
With 1:21 remaining in the game the Admirals burned their timeout and went empty net and extra attacker on with an in-zone faceoff coming. Sadly, this familiar song was given a remix with the Ads unable to pull off the late theatrics on the night. For all their work they posted forty-one shots on goal but were unable to get the third tally that would have earned them at least a point and a chance at more.
“Our desperation can’t be the last five minutes of the game and it can’t be the last minute when we pull the goaltender,” said Evason. “Our desperation has to be the first minute of the hockey game.”
Ramblings: This was the first meeting between the Milwaukee Admirals and Manitoba Moose since 3/5/11 when the Admirals lost 4-2 at home. There have been no roster moves made by the Admirals since they last played on Tuesday night. There were also no roster moves made by the Moose prior to this game since they last played on Saturday. Tonight’s Admirals lineup was identical to the one that played on Tuesday night. That meant both Trevor Murphy and Jamie Devane were healthy scratches. Noteworthy news mention for former-Admirals forward Rich Clune who today signed an official NHL contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs (1 year deal worth $575,000 NHL // $350,000 AHL). Clune had previously been signed to an AHL deal with the Toronto Marlies where he had scored 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) with 18 penalty minutes in 8 games.