The Milwaukee Admirals lost 2-1 in overtime on the road against the Lake Erie Monsters Friday night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Despite a phenomenal effort in net by Marek Mazanec tonight it was the home team getting just enough of the offensive game rolling to snag an equalizer in the dying seconds of the second period and the winner in overtime. The Admirals will claim a point with the overtime loss but, if the offense was able to replicate more of what was on display last weekend, it should have been a much better result than that.
In the first period that high octane Admirals power-play kept delivering the goods and did so with a returning face. Vladislav Kamenev was swooping around the net on his backhand when he dished off a feed to the left wing faceoff circle where Stefan Elliott was on-hand to smack a puck over the left shoulder of Brad Thiessen for his first goal as a member of the Admirals. This was Elliott’s first game back at his old barn playing against the Monsters after having played 199 games under the Colorado Avalanche’s banner prior to this season.
The second period was pretty much all Lake Erie. This put a spotlight firmly on Marek Mazanec in net. As it proved, that was a pretty darn good thing because he made an astonishing save to rob Nick Moutrey from point blank range. Mazanec made the initial save off his wrist, the puck floated up and over his head, and he made a no-look backhanded save with the glove. What is it about highlight reel saves between these two teams in Cleveland? Last season Calvin Pickard made SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays robbing Kevin Fiala and now this effort by Mazanec against Moutrey.
Sadly, after several missed chances of their own doing, the Monsters did get a good bounce to go their way. A point shot off net front traffic spring-loaded into the left wing circle where defenseman Steve Eminger raced from the blueline and tagged the loose puck for his first goal in his first game played this the season.
This game would end up marching through the third period and into overtime. The very first shot on goal of the overtime period wouldn’t be registered until 3:54 of the frame. That shot would come off a two-on-one from close range with Markus Hännikäinen feeding over to Michael Chaput whose shot went crossbar and down. The puck appeared to cross the line on the initial effort but, just to make sure, Chaput did push it back across long before anyone made an attempt to clear the goal line. Whether it be the initial shot or the follow up that was the overtime game-winner and Chaput’s ninth goal of the season.
The tough luck loss goes to Mazanec who was certainly the best player on the ice in tonight’s game. He stopped 21/23 shots on goal and did his part to see the Admirals at the very least take a point from this contest. Without plenty of his efforts this game could have very easily ended as a regulation defeat. In this new points percentage era for the AHL every single point earned is huge. So, slight tip of the cap on the man between the pipes for getting that much done tonight.
Of note, Kamenev left the game during the second period with Admirals head athletic trainer Doug Agnew and never returned. It felt like the Admirals attacking game went a bit flat after Kamenev left the action. There weren’t many high quality scoring chances to speak of but the Admirals did have two more power-plays during his absence. His presence on the Admirals power-play was on display in the opening goal for Elliott. Losing him on the power-play and thinning out the forwards group appeared to be a real buzzkill.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played there were shockingly zero roster moves that took place in a week’s time. How lovely is that? Tonight’s line combinations were: Hodgson-Sissons- Görtz, Åberg-Kamenev-Gaudreau, White-Reinhart-Payerl, Devane-Girard-Pendenza, Oligny-Elliott, Näkyvä-Mullen, Alm-Aronson. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals featured players all out with undisclosed injuries: Viktor Arvidsson, Jonathan Diaby, Trevor Murphy.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Where did all that high speed offense that was on display last weekend for the Milwaukee Admirals? Was the loss of Vladislav Kamenev in this game an immediate downfall for the Admirals?