The Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime on the road against the Iowa Wild Saturday night. The now typical late game theatrics required by the Admirals to get something out of a game actually paid off with Max Görtz scoring in the final minute to force overtime. Unfortunately, penalties in overtime would cost the Admirals the extra point tonight.
For the first time in seven periods of hockey the Admirals had themselves a lead in regulation. Viktor Arvidsson was skating back up along the right wing wall and towards the blue line when he delivered a perfect shot pass, between Brady Brassart and Tyson Strachan, that hit the breaking Colton Sissons on the tape for his second goal of the season.
The rare Admirals lead in regulation would only last 24:09 of ice time before the Wild tied the game up at 1-1. The Ads were trapped in their defensive zone and could not get a clearance. This eventually cost them as a Matt Carey shot led to a rebound goal scored by Brett Sutter that squeaked past Marek Mazanec for his first goal of the season.
Speaking of first goals, the second period also saw the first goal scored by defenseman Joe Finley since 10/23/12 when he was a member of the Rochester Americans. The 6’8” defenseman hammered a slap shot off the left point over the glove hand of Mazanec and underneath the crossbar to make it a 2-1 Wild lead with 8:26 remaining in the second period.
With the third period ticking past, and the Admirals not finding the back of the net despite outshooting the Wild 17-2 in the period, it looked to be time for the extra attacker and empty net drama to unfold once more. Mazanec was making his way to the bench for just that when Max Görtz blasted a one-timer for his first pro goal in North America.
The game went to overtime and that’s when discipline went out the window. A puck hopped up on Conor Allen’s stick while he was on the attacking blue line. This sent Brady Brassart off to the races on a breakaway but Allen caught him with a slash on the backcheck. Shortly into the Admirals penalty kill Anthony Bitetto took a crosschecking major and a game misconduct that assured the rest of overtime would be played on a Wild power-play. With the five-on-three power-play ending the Wild got their game winner in overtime through Mike Reilly’s second goal of the season.
This was another game in which the Admirals seemed to fall flat and get overwhelmed by their own mistakes. It shouldn’t be special seeing the Admirals leading in regulation but it is becoming a rare feat. It’s actually more common to see the Admirals score an equalizing goal around two minutes or later in regulation than it is for them to be ahead in a game. The chances were there for them. They had six power-plays and didn’t get anything from them.
Tip of the cap to former Admirals netminder, Smith. His season low for shots faced in a game this season is thirty-nine. Every single game this season, past that, has been in the forty-plus shots range including tonight. He made a phenomenal save that denied Kevin Fiala his long awaited first goal of the season. And, at that point in the game, could have really lifted the spirits for the Admirals. It would have been a 2-0 Admirals lead at the end of the first period. They’ve barely led at all this season. To think of what a two-goal cushion might have done to their confidence out on the ice could have been a big boost for more than just tonight’s game. Instead, Smith made the ridiculous desperation save and the Admirals come away with a single point. That being said, they did come away with a single point on the night as opposed to nothing.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game, Milwaukee Admirals center Vladislav Kamenev was suspended by the AHL for two games due to his boarding incident Thursday night against Manitoba Moose winger Matt Fraser. Tonight’s lines for the Admirals were: Arvidsson-Sissons-Fiala, Åberg-Gaudreau-Payerl, Moses-Reinhart-Bass, Devane-Girard-Görtz, Näkyvä-Aronson, Allen-Oligny, Alm-Bitetto. Marek Mazanec started in net for the third straight game. With Kamenev serving the first of his two game suspension the lone scratch for the Admirals was defenseman Trevor Murphy.
What is your reaction to this latest of a long line of games played by the Admirals where they are trailing late in a game? What happened in overtime? Will Bitetto be the next man suspended by the AHL? What must change from tonight’s game to the next game against these exact same Iowa Wild next Thursday?