The Admirals won 3-1 against the Lake Erie Monsters Friday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. The great form that the Admirals displayed yesterday in Iowa spilled into tonight’s contest. Juuse Saros was terrific in net as he narrowly missed out on completing two shutouts in two days. It is the first time this season the Admirals have picked up consecutive wins.
“We talked this morning about building on yesterday,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We haven’t built on a good win, and we had a real good win in Iowa, and we wanted to build on it. We built tonight and we just want to keep going forward.”
In the first period the Admirals were able to get out in front with a power-play goal. Josh Anderson was called for a trip as the Admirals won a defensive zone faceoff and were looking to breakout. This set the stage for Vladislav Kamenev to pass out from behind the net and into Viktor Arvidsson’s sweet spot on the left wing circle. A powerful slap shot later and the Admirals were up 1-0 through Arvidsson’s second AHL goal of the season.
Directly following the power-play goal there was a scrap. Cody Bass partnered up with Brett Gallant and the two proceeded to clobber one-another with overhand shots. The officials stepped in when Bass’ head remains tucked down for a moment but he responded by telling the crowd to get louder. I score that tilt even. The two were throwing and landing hard shots.
The second period saw yet another nasty incident with the Admirals on the delivering side of it. Conor Allen turned around and slashed Alex Broardhurst heavily and left the former member of the Rockford IceHogs crumpled up on the ice. Allen was handed a five minute major for slashing and a game misconduct. The Admirals would carry on to successfully kill off the five-minute major penalty.
“Our penalty kill took a lot of heat early in the year,” said Evason. “Rightfully so. We weren’t getting the job done. But the guys have really bought in. [Stan Drulia] and [Scott Ford] do a great job teaching and they’re buying in to what they want us to do. And we’re getting the job done.”
What’s a hockey game without a little controversy? Max Reinhart looked to have scored his second goal of the season but the officials said otherwise. Battling in front of netminder Anton Forsberg was Jamie Sifers and Bass. The two spilled into the goaltender and, as the call would state, incidental contact would cause the no goal decision. Was Bass bumping into Forsberg or was Sifers bumping Bass into his own goalie? That’s the question left from that play.
The officials wouldn’t be done getting into the thick of things just there. It looked like Jamie Devane and Oleg Yevenko were about to duke it out behind the Lake Erie net. Rather than allow them to throw down the referees pounced on the two. Yevenko would keep forcing the issue on Devane and it led to all parties crashing into the back of the net. They opted to not call for fighting majors but assessed matching roughing minors with Yevenko earning himself a misconduct for continuing the altercation.
With four-on-four hockey in play Anthony Bitetto raced up from the blue line and down the left wing to score his first goal of the season. Bitetto’s shot from close range received a helpful redirect off of a stick by a diving T.J. Tynan which sent the puck straight through Forsberg’s five hole. Colton Sissons picked up the secondary assist on the goal which meant him setting a new career high with a six game point streak.
“I think the initial play was to make the pass to [Arvidsson] and I think he probably would have scored,” said Anthony Bitetto after the game. “It kind of worked out either way. The guy made a good play trying to get his stick there but unfortunately for them it went in. Always good to get a goal like that.”
The fight that was too hot for television, and the second period, was allowed to run its course in the third period with 3:37 left in the game. Devane and Yevenko got into a jab fest and were allowed to keep on throwing until the two had no more gas in the tank to throw.
A late penalty against Kristian Näkyvä put the Monsters on the power-play with 2:36 left in regulation. Unfortunately for Juuse Saros his bid for consecutive shutouts would end there. A point shot by Daniel Zaar hit net front traffic and allowed Broadhurst to score from the rebound to make it a 2-1 game off his first goal of the season. Saros shutout streak ended at a final line of 125:55 of ice time over the course of three games.
The Monsters were in empty net and extra attacker mode in the final minute of play. He had a goal waved off earlier but he made it count as the dagger in this contest. Reinhart would be the man to bury the empty netter and pick up goal number two on the season. The Admirals would win 3-1 and record their first consecutive wins this season.
Ramblings: Vladislav Kamanev returned to the lineup after completing his two-game suspension for a boarding incident against Matt Fraser of the Manitoba Moose on 10/29/15. Stevie Moses also returned from his team suspension for a violation of team rules that kept him from traveling with the team to Iowa yesterday. Tonight’s line combinations were: Arvidsson-Sissons-Moses, Görtz-Reinhart-Bass, Åberg-Kamenev-Payerl, Devane-Girard-Gaudreau, Alm-Bitetto, Allen-Oligny, Näkyvä-Aronson. Scratches tonight for the Admirals were all healthy: Kevin Fiala, Eric Robinson, and Trevor Murphy. After the game Anthony Bitetto was informed that he will be leaving to rejoin the Nashville Predators one-day and one-game early in his two week (fourteen consecutive days) conditioning assignment.
Reactions from this game? Is this the Milwaukee Admirals team that we’ve been waiting to come to the surface since the start of the season?