The Manitoba Mystery Continues; Ads lose 3-2

(Photo Credit: Manitoba Moose // flickr)
(Photo Credit: Manitoba Moose // flickr)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-2 (Video Highlights) on the road against the Manitoba Moose Saturday night at the MTS Centre.

It is the same old story so far this season as it’s the third successive defeat for the Admirals against the Moose ending in a 3-2 scoreline. The Admirals picked up the opening goal but the Moose scored three unanswered and left Milwaukee clawing for a dramatic last second miracle that wouldn’t come off.

After missing out from the game’s opening power-play the Admirals would take a first period lead off of Joe Pendenza’s second goal of the season. Pendenza was flying in off the left wing, rotated ever so slightly to get a shooting angle on Eric Comrie in net, and sniped his forehand shot into the top shelf.

With time expiring in the first period the Moose leveled things up at 1-1. In the middle of a defensive line change, a puck fell back towards the blueline where Julian Melchiori was fresh off the bench and hammered a slap shot towards the net. The puck would deflect off the net front traffic where Joel Armia and Petter Granberg were jockeying for position. Melchiori would be credited for getting the puck past Marek Mazanec to earn his first goal of the season. It was a teddy bear toss goal as well and the Moose set a franchise record with 2,330 plush toys being thrown over the glass.

Despite a strong opening ten minutes in the second period for the Admirals it would be the Moose coming away celebrating a goal midway through the contest. After an attacking zone faceoff win Peter Stoykewych quickly threw a puck low to the pads of Mazanec. Matt Fraser was first man on the spot to jar the puck free and put it away into a gaping net to collect his first goal of the season.

Mazanec’s hard times in the second period wouldn’t stop there, either. When Chase De Leo was skating away from goal, with Taylor Aronson in tow, he pulled a turnaround forehand shot aimed low towards Mazanec in net. It looked harmless enough yet the puck flicked up off Mazanec’s right pad, up into the air, and had Mazanec swatted his blocker in desperation to make a save. The puck would fall flat into the back of the net for De Leo’s fourth goal of the season. For the Moose, and their league worst offense, it was a third three-goal game against the Admirals in three meetings.

The Admirals would pull Mazanec with 2:23 remaining in regulation to bring on an extra attacker. With 11.9 seconds remaining the Admirals would get one-goal back. A heavy shot by Aronson from the left point missed the net wide left but ricocheted out in the low right wing where Max Reinhart put away an easy tap in to record his seventh goal of the season.

The game would effectively end there and, once again, the Moose claim a 3-2 victory over the Admirals. Three games and three 3-2 defeats for the Admirals against the second worst team based on points percentage in the AHL. Credit where credit is due, Comrie was great in net for the Moose late and he gets credit for stopping 30/32 on the night to take home first star honors.

Ramblings: In a lovely occurrence, there were no official roster moves made since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday night in Grand Rapids. This game did mark the first appearance of Petter Granberg in an Admirals sweater. The Swedish defenseman was assigned to the Admirals on a two-week (fourteen consecutive days) conditioning assignment by the Nashville Predators on 12/9/15 and didn’t join the AHL affiliate until the road trip in Manitoba. Granberg has missed the start of the 2015-16 season due to injury up to this point. Tonight’s line combinations saw the first time this season in which the Admirals dropped a forward and added an extra defenseman: Fiala-Gaudreau-Payerl, Åberg-Kamenev-Görtz, Devane-Reinhart-White, Pendenza-Girard, Näkyvä-Aronson, Bartley-Oligny, Alm-Granberg, Murphy. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Vinny Saponari (healthy), Zach Budish (healthy), and Conor Allen (undisclosed injury).

Thoughts on this game? What is it about the Milwaukee Admirals being unable to close out lower tier opposition these last few seasons? How important is it for the Admirals to win tomorrow afternoon’s game just to put a stamp down on the head-to-head with the Moose?

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