The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-2 in overtime on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Sunday evening at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
This was the eighth meeting of the season between the Admirals and IceHogs and it would be the fourth time that overtime was required. For the first time this season it was the IceHogs winning not only in overtime against the Admirals but on home ice against the Admirals.
In the first period it actually felt like the third period the Admirals survived trickled into this evening’s first period. It took until 9:57 of the first period until Zac Larraza registered the Admirals first shot on goal. The game was all Rockford out the gate and that pressure would turn into a goal.
As Ville Pokka wound up for a shot from the left point both Vinny Hinostroza and Garret Ross were stationed in front of Marek Mazanec. The shot glanced off the stick of Hinostroza and trickled past the left pad of Mazanec and across for his fourth goal of the season.
Against the run of wave upon wave of attack by the IceHogs the first penalties of the game opened ice up for the Admirals to equalize in the first period. Kevin Fiala was called for crosschecking and Ryan Hartman was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which put the game at four-on-four. Adam Payerl was able to generate an offensive zone turnover and whirled off a shot that beat Michael Leighton to score his sixth goal of the season. The first period ended with the IceHogs up 16-11 in shots on goal but with a 1-1 scoreline.
The second period was nearly identical in the sense that the IceHogs were rolling, picked up a goal, and then made a mistake that cost them their lead once more.
After a tripping call against Fiala the IceHogs scored from the power-play off of another net-front deflection. Pokka was once again the trigger man for the IceHogs with the initial shot. This time he was stationed out on the right wing circle when the ripped a wrister that deflected off of Pierre-Cédric Labrie and through Mazanec. The goal for Labrie was his eighth of the season.
The Admirals were put right back into the thick of the game after a poor sequence by Nolan Valleau allowed Matt White to get a step on him and then slashed the Admirals forward on a breakaway to force the officials to call for a penalty shot. White skated in centrally, faked a snap shot, and threw a low wrister just above the left pad of Leighton to score his fourth goal since joining the Admirals on PTO basis from the Manchester Monarchs (ECHL).
For the fourth time in eight games between these two teams this season overtime was required. In the overtime period IceHogs defenseman Pokka created a turnover from the Admirals attacking blueline and was off to the races on a breakaway. His initial shot rang iron and left Mazanec down and out. Following up for the rebound was Labrie who threw a forehand shot into the wide open net to win it in overtime through his second goal of the game and ninth of the season. Pokka recorded a primary assist on all three IceHogs goals.
Tip of the cap to Mazanec in net. He takes the tough luck loss tonight but he was incredible between the pipes for the Admirals. He stopped 35/38 shots on goal and is a massive reason as to why the Admirals at the very least can say they took a point from this contest. In a season built around points percentage thanks to the Californian based teams of the Pacific Division – that point earned still holds big value.
Ramblings: There were no roster moves made within the Nashville Predators organization overnight. As such, the exact same line combinations and scratches were implemented today for the Milwaukee Admirals. Lines: Fiala-Sissons-Gaudreau, Åberg-Reinhart-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Devane-Pendenza-Larraza, Noonan-Oligny, Allen-Alm, Diaby-Näkyvä, Scratches: Cody Bass (upper-body), Vinny Saponari (healthy), Taylor Aronson (lower-body), Victor Bartley (undisclosed), and Trevor Murphy (upper-body). After the game, Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia informed play-by-play announcer Aaron Sims that the Admirals players will be taking tomorrow off to rest up ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Lake Erie Monsters.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? What was wrong with the Milwaukee Admirals tonight? Did the overly defensive approach from last night’s finish trickle into tonight or is this team just tired right now?