The Milwaukee Admirals have matched their franchise record for a winning streak that they set last season. With their 3-1 win against the San Diego Gulls Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center the winning streak has hit nine-games.
Kevin Fiala finally picked up his first goal of the season and did so three and a half minutes into the game. Cody Bass raced forward and around the net from the left wing side. As he moved in the puck kicked out by Fiala on the doorstep of the cage on the right wing side. He banked a shot off of goaltender John Gibson’s glove arm and into the net.
The Admirals quick first period lead didn’t last long. Jimmy Oligny was tagged for a boarding minor after pasting Bryan Moore hard into the boards. Moore stayed down for a moment and would leave down the Gulls tunnel towards the locker room. He would return to the ice in the second period. On the resulting power-play former member of the Admirals Chris Mueller rifled a shot through Marek Mazanec to score his fourth goal of the season. It was also an AHL milestone moment for Mueller. That goal was his 300th career point in the AHL.
In the second period Nic Kerdiles finally got his wish of a dance partner to drop the gloves with. Earlier in the sandwich stanza he had tried to fight Trevor Murphy and received a roughing penalty following what I’d best describe as a tackle. Following a shot at Mazanec long after a whistle had sounded for an offsides call, Conor Allen raced over, dropped the gloves, and the two scrapped it out. The win in this tilt goes to Kerdiles who did more with his fists, causing a cut to open over the bridge of Allen’s nose, and had the take down to finish it.
With 2:23 remaining in the second period Frédérick Gaudreau continued his outstanding run of form by providing a highlight reel goal. Viktor Arvidsson, from the left wing wall, delivered a feed past Matt Bailey and into the center lane drive of Gaudreau who was now one-on-one with Gibson in goal. Gaudreau delivered a move that would make Peter Forsberg proud as he whipped his left arm out with the puck still on his tape to glide past Gibson for his fifth goal of the season. The primary assist from Arvidsson extended his AHL best points streak on the season to twelve-games. He has scored in every game since returning from the Nashville Predators.
The third period saw Mazanec and the Admirals survive extended periods on the penalty kill. In the space of seven-minutes they battled through a five-on-three and yet another minor penalty to maintain their 2-1 lead on the scoreboard. With the last of the minor penalty against Félix Girard completed the Gulls maintained offensive zone control and cycled their way into yet another power-play opportunity. Once more, the Admirals penalty kill survived.
With 1:15 remaining the Gulls brought Gibson to the bench for the extra attacker. Adam Payerl nearly made this pay immediately but his long range empty net bid missed wide left and icing was called. Fortunately he would get a second crack at the empty net following a zone clearance by Arvidsson that sent him free to skate the puck right into the open net. The goal for Payerl was his third of the season.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Nashville Predators reassigned Colton Sissons to the Milwaukee Admirals and activated Eric Nystrom from injured reserve. Tonight’s line combinations were: Arvidsson-Sissons-Gaudreau, Fiala-Reinhart-Bass, Åberg-Kamenev-Payerl, Devane-Girard-Görtz, Allen-Oligny, Näkyvä-Aronson, Noonan-Murphy. Tonight’s scratches were: Eric Robinson (healthy), Stevie Moses (upper-body), and Johan Alm (lower-body). Both injured players have been skating and might be returning to the lineup soon. Former Admirals captain and current captain of the Gulls Joe Piskula missed his fourth consecutive game due to injury.
Thoughts on this game? Has Kevin Fiala settled down these first two games back since his suspension and injury? How impressed were you by the penalty killing in the third period?