The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 in a shootout on the road against the Chicago Wolves Saturday night at the Allstate Arena.
The Wolves rallied back from a 2-0 Admirals lead in the third period that forced overtime and then a shootout. Kevin Fiala scored the lone shotout attempt and Juuse Saros capped off his brilliant night in net by denying all shootout chances from the Wolves. Saros has now won his last eight starts in net for the Admirals.
This game had a very slow, patient, start with both teams treating the game like a chess match. As the tempo ramped up the penalties started accumulating and it set up the Admirals for a power-play goal in the first period. Frédérick Gaudreau made a fantastic individual play to split the Wolves defense and head off on a breakaway from the blue line. His attempt to go forehand to backhand wasn’t successful but the puck fell loose to Vladislav Kamenev on the right wing post for a tap in and his sixth goal of the season.
In the second period, following a tripping minor by Max Görtz, a clock malfunction went unnoticed by the on-ice officials. Play was stopped when Görtz was released early from the penalty box and then a lengthy delay came and went with no changes to the official clock despite twelve seconds of game-time being played until the whistle sounded. Additionally, Görtz was handed a penalty that clocked it for 2:08 extra to his tripping minor that he was already serving. It was cringe-worthy to watch unfold and thankfully the Admirals penalty kill made it through the unnecessarily extended time they had to work.
Then a thing called karma appeared midway through the sandwich stanza. The Admirals extended their lead through an outstanding passing play that saw Kevin Fiala flick a pass over to the left wing as he was racing up towards the blue line on a keep in. Conor Allen secured Fiala’s pass and then it was tic-tac-toe between Allen, Gaudreau, and the eventual goal scorer all alone at the left wing side of the net Adam Payerl for his fourth goal of the season.
The third period became a scrap fest that saw its share of penalties but mostly an onslaught of Wolves offense. With four-on-four action the Wolves ended Juuse Saros’ shutout bid with a Ty Rattie feed from behind the net getting smacked home by Jeremy Welsh in the low right wing circle for his sixth of the season.
Kristian Näkyvä was called for a tripping minor with 4:43 remaining in regulation. On the ensuing power-play the Wolves were able to equalize the game at 2-2. André Benoît’s point shot got past the net front defenseman Jimmy Oligny but took a redirect by Jordan Caron right behind him to beat Saros for his fifth goal of the season. The Wolves outshot the Admirals 17-4 in the third period.
The game would go to all the way to a shootout. The first shooter up would be the lone man to score. Kevin Fiala did a hard shoulder fake and sniped a forehander past Jordan Binnington on the blocker side. Saros would stop all three shootout attempts to cap off his brilliant night that saw him make thirty-seven saves and pick up his eighth consecutive win for the Admirals.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played more and more roster moves have taken place. Stevie Moses was placed on unconditional waivers by the Nashville Predators and it is presumed that he will be heading back to Russia’s KHL. The Predators assigned Cody Bass back to the Admirals. And the Admirals signed both Matt White and Zach Budish to PTO contracts. Tonight’s line combinations were: Fiala-Gaudreau-Payerl, Åberg-Kamenev-Saponari, Pendenza-Reinhart-Görtz, White-Girard-Budish, Allen-Oligny, Bartley-Murphy, Näkyvä-Aronson. Juuse Saros started in net for his first taste of game-action in a week and first AHL start since 11/24/15. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Jamie Devane (upper-body), and Johan Alm (lower-body).
Reactions to this game? Were you impressed by the Admirals performance with a stretched roster? What happened in the third period that allowed this game to go into overtime in the first place?