The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-1 against the Lake Erie Monsters Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
This game was another tale of the Admirals ability to adapt to different game situations and succeed as a team. The first period was open with great power-play work. The rest of the game tightened up with the Monsters getting better and better as time went on. Juuse Saros and the Admirals defense stayed tight to keep the Monsters to their lone tally on the night and claim their eight win from their last ten games.
“You just have to watch the third period,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason when discussing Juuse Saros’ performance in net. “We were hemmed in our zone basically the whole third period and he was huge, smother pucks, calm, made big saves when he had too, just very intelligent freezes, and gave us a chance in the end to get us to the empty net [goal].”
Tonight’s first period was all about power-play goals. The Admirals and Monsters combined for three in the opening frame to end at a 2-1 Admirals advantage.
The Max Görtz Show officially began six-minutes into the first period. Some slow and patient puck movement from the Admirals eventually lead to the breakthrough they were looking for. Kristian Näkyvä passed from the point to Kevin Fiala who was set up on the high right wing faceoff circle before snapping a low wrister that Joonas Korpisalo kicked off his pads into the left wing. Görtz was all alone for the rebound and smacked it over the top of the sprawling goaltender for his eighth goal of the season.
It would be too long before Görtz scored again on the power-play to record his ninth goal of the season and give the Admirals a 2-0 lead. This Admirals power-play was far less patient and calm than the initial chance. Instead, it was absolute chaos. Frédérick Gaudreau ripped a hard wrister from the right wing circle – Korpisalo made the save but pushed the puck in-line with the net front presence of Colton Sissons and he nearly tallied from the rebound. Then Görtz wired a shot hard off the left wing post and out. Thankfully, things settled, and Görtz would label a wrist shot top shelf blocker side of Korpisalo for his second power-play goal of the first period.
“Görtz has a world class shot,” smiled Evason. “He gets a little bit of space and he can find wholes.”
As noted, the first period power-play goals did include one for the Monsters. While the net result was a puck in the back of the net – it wasn’t a shot on goal. Ryan Craig was setup low in the left of the trapezoid and was attempting to pass opposite wing. His pass banked off of the sliding trail leg of Jimmy Oligny and underneath Juuse Saros to award the Monsters team captain with his seventh goal of the season.
As they game pushed forward the tempo altered. The second period was far more tightly defended and space to shoot forced long range chances. This barreled over into the third period with the exception of one thing: the Monsters were all over the Admirals.
In the third period the Monsters outshot the Admirals 14-6. As time was expiring, Jamie Devane put away an empty netter to record his third goal of the season and make it a 3-1 Admirals lead. For the wave upon wave of pressure the Monsters poured on in the third period, the young Finnish netminder was tremendous. Saros stopped 32/33 shots on goal to earn his twelfth win from thirteen games.
“Fun is a good word,” laughed Juuse Saros when asked how to describe the third period. “It’s always nice to have a lot of shots. You don’t have to think a lot. You just play there.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played they recalled defenseman Jonathan Diaby from the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. In 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship news, Russian team captain Vladislav Kamenev scored the game-tying goal with the empty net and extra attacker on followed up with the game-winning goal in overtime to see Russia beat Denmark 4-3 and advance to the Semi-Finals where they’ll face USA on Monday. The winner will advance to the Gold Medal game and the loser will play in the Bronze Medal game on Tuesday. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Fiala-Sissons-Gaudreau, Åberg-Reinhart-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Devane-Pendenza-Larraza, Noonan-Oligny, Allen-Alm, Diaby-Näkyvä. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Vinny Saponari (healthy), Taylor Aronson (lower-body), Victor Bartley (undisclosed), and Trevor Murphy (upper-body).
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How impressive has the Milwaukee Admirals special teams, power-play and penalty kill, been lately? How did Jonathan Diaby look in his return to the AHL?
Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.