The Milwaukee Admirals have officially set a franchise record. Their 6-3 win tonight against the San Antonio Rampage at the BMO Harris Bradley Center was their tenth straight victory which breaks the record set last season in January.
“It’s fun to get results,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “But it’s more fun I think for the group to recognize that we can play any style of game.”
This game got off to a poor start with the end of last game trickling into the start. The Admirals were on the penalty kill quick due to a high stick minor by Kristian Näkyvä. Right as that penalty was getting set to expire Conor Allen was called for boarding. On the second chance from successive power-play opportunities the Rampage cashed in with a long range shot to the net by Maxim Noreau from the right point getting deflected by Marc-André Cliche and up past Juuse Saros. The goal for Cliche was his fourth of the season.
After a fight between Cody Bass and Duncan Siemens was prevented the two sides played four-on-four until Kevin Fiala’s wheels earned a tripping call and a four-on-three Admirals power-play chance. They won the faceoff, Taylor Aronson patiently waited to feed Viktor Arvidsson’s wicked one-timer, and the Swede cranked his slap shot past Calvin Pickard to extend his AHL best points streak to thirteen games off his sixth goal of the season.
It wouldn’t be long before the Admirals rough first period would see a complete turn-around before hitting the first intermission. The Admirals didn’t have a shot on goal until the final six minutes of the frame but another power-play off of a tripping minor provided yet another goal on the man-advantage. Vladislav Kamenev made a charge towards the front of the net off the right side of the cage and, in the process, lost the handle of the puck which fell out into the slot. Who was there to do the damage? Arvidsson, of course, with his seventh goal of the season. He scored two power-play goals in 2:20 of ice time.
The Admirals would get a non-power-play goal to open up the second period. Their passing appeared to lull the Rampage to sleep and, when the puck made its way to Félix Girard, the puck watching cost them a third successive goal against. Girard easily connected to Pontus Åberg on the opposite post for a tap in and his fourth goal of the season.
The puck watching flipped opposite ends as forty-six seconds later it would be the Rampage lighting the lamp. A long puck carry and eventual shot by Colin Smith hit off of the leg of the net front screen of Borna Rendulic and past Saros to make it a one-goal contest. The tally for Rendulic was his second goal of the season.
Midway through the second period the Admirals captain would restore the two-goal lead. Colton Sissons was flying in from the right point and Bass picked him out in stride. Sissons measured up Pickard’s glove side and whipped a wrister past him for his third goal of the season.
A casual stroll into the attacking zone for Max Görtz was interrupted by a heavyweight fight between Jamie Devane and Daniel Maggio. The two locked up the collars and went to work. Devane started getting some flush fists through and managed to knock Maggio out cold from a solid uppercut. Maggio crashed to the ice almost face first and needed to be assisted off the ice by a pair of Rampage teammates. Bruce Buffer, somewhere around the world, announced it as a first round knockout.
Perhaps looking to sway some energy back into his outfit by making a huge hit, Siemens came off the Rampage bench and attempted to clobber an unsuspecting Adam Payerl as a loose puck made its way up the boards towards neutral. Siemens extended his knee at Payerl who dodged the brunt of the check but still got sideswiped. Payerl headed back to confront Siemens and the two had at it. Nowhere near as theatrical as the first tilt but even none-the-less.
It only took thirty-eight seconds of ice time before the next fight took place. In a post-whistle scrum Bass dropped the gloves with Sam Henley. It wasn’t all that much of a bout as he two were scrambling throughout and fell down to cap it off. I score that tilt two Ben Rothwell’s out of ten.
“That’s hockey,” said Cody Bass of the fights in the second period. “They’re a desperate team. I give [Daniel Maggio] a lot of credit. He’s trying to spark his team and I think other guys are too. I’m proud of our guys and proud of our team. We rose to the occasion.”
In the final minute of the sandwich stanza Rendulic picked up his second goal of the period. He made a great effort to fight through persistent pressure by Allen, to which he was going to be penalized over, and outwaited Saros before firing a shot to the net. Saros was down and out. Rendulic’s snapshot was up and over the pad for his third goal of the season.
The third period provided some more brilliance in goal scoring in the third period and it came from a pair of players that picked up their first goals of the season.
A solid defensive play by Devane to pick the pocket of Mat Clark set up a tight two-on-two between himself, Girard, Chris Bigras, and Troy Bourke. Devane lofted a saucer pass in front of the net and over the diving Bigras that Girard was able to swat out of mid-air whilst battling shoulder-to-shoulder with Bourke and score.
Then came a play that would make the Nashville Predators really proud. Max Reinhart swooped down the right wing, hit the brakes, and found a defenseman leaping way up in the play to get a mini-breakaway. Allen was the man jumping up on the play and finished to perfection over the blocker shoulder of Pickard to net his first as a member of the Admirals. That would be the last play for Pickard in net as the Rampage would pull him for Roman Will.
“We had to play many different ways,” said Evason. “The fights, then it turned into a speed game, and a bit of a track meet. We were able to adjust within the game. Which is good. We didn’t lose our detail. No matter what happened.”
Ramblings: Tonight’s scratches for the Milwaukee Admirals were: Stevie Moses (upper-body), Johan Alm (lower-body), and Eric Robinson (healthy). Both Moses and Alm were injured last week against the Chicago Wolves (11/14/15) and have missed the last three-games. Moses is expected to be available for the Admirals this coming weekend. Tonight’s line combinations were: Arvidsson-Sissons-Gaudreau, Fiala-Reinhart-Bass, Åberg-Kamenev-Payerl, Devane-Girard-Görtz, Allen-Oligny, Näkyvä-Aronson, Noonan-Murphy.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Are you surprised with Nashville’s current lack of goal scoring that they haven’t attempted to recall Viktor Arvidsson?