As always, I like to sit back and digest a game before really making serious judgement on it. When reflecting on the Milwaukee Admirals 4-1 win over the Chicago Wolves last night I can’t help but coming back to the term “a complete game” because it really a complete sixty-minutes of hockey for the Admirals. It’s been a long time coming, too.
If you were to look at the scoreboard through two period you might be left with the impression that the game was tight. The Admirals had a 2-0 lead cut in half after an amazing goal scored by Zach O’Brien and it was just a one-goal lead entering the last period of regulation.
What probably stands out to me, more than anything last night, was the Admirals third period performance. They had the 2-1 lead but wanted to secure a result and succeeded. The Admirals came out of the second intermission with a serious purpose to finish that game off. Their speed and pressure in attack forced an ugly turnover in front of their own net to make it a 3-1 Admirals lead. The Admirals then took advantage on the power-play, an area that was struggling not too long ago, and polished off the game.
All around, that was a terrific performance for the Admirals who really needed a wire-to-wire effort such as that to get Wednesday night’s loss to the Rockford IceHogs out of their system. Instead of dragging around whimpering over recent games the Admirals find themselves back in a first place tie for the Central Division lead because the IceHogs lost 5-4 on the road against the Lake Erie Monsters last night. Funny how as bad as the last few games have felt or been for the Admirals things just have a way of balancing themselves out accordingly.
What has made this Admirals season a rather special one has been this team’s ability to limit the woeful stretches and get results on a consistent basis regardless of who is in or out of the lineup. The Wolves are a team currently being mauled by injuries up top and on their own roster. They haven’t been able to find firm ground to propel from all season long. To think that there are still six Amtrak Rivalry games left from the remaining twenty-three games of the Admirals 2015-16 season should be a huge area of importance for the team moving forward. They have a wounded team ripe for the picking and a maximum of 12 points at stake from those contests alone. For all we know, now, these clashes between the Admirals and Wolves could be the difference between the Admirals winning or losing the Central Division – perhaps even seeing them clear the Ontario Reign and having the best record in the Western Conference come season’s end.
These last few games of the Amtrak Rivalry are not all going to feature as squeaky clean of a performance like last night showed. It would be silly to even expect tonight’s game in Chicago to run as smoothly. But, the Admirals are already 5-1-0-0 against the Wolves this season. The Admirals have won five-straight games over the Wolves and could claim the Amtrak Trophy for the first time since the 2012-13 season with wins over the Amtrak Rivals tonight and next Saturday. There is this sort of “feel good” well that the Admirals can go back to time and time again at the end of this season. That well lends its water source from the tears of disappointment coming out of the Chicago Wolves camp right now.
Fun Fact. The Milwaukee Admirals current record through 53 games played is 33-17-3-0. Last night’s win matched the amount of wins the Admirals had all of last season: 33-28-8-7.
For those that missed it, prior to yesterday’s game I spoke with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason to hear his reaction to the Nashville Predators signing Anthony Bitetto to a new two-year contract. You can listen to that right here.
After the game I spoke with Evason again but I did have company – lots of it. Dave Boehler, Mario Tirabassi, and myself were joined by several UW-Milwaukee students via Jessie Garcia of TMJ4. Plenty hopped in for a question so you’ll be hearing some different voices chirping along. The players that were interviewed include Max Reinhart, Frédérick Gaudreau, and Colton Sissons. This is what everyone had to say following last night’s victory:
Comments on the comments? Do you get the impression that the Admirals getting to face the Wolves so often at the end of the season sets the stage nicely for a solid finish the way the Amtrak Rivals are struggling this year? Will tonight’s game be even more ill-tempered than how the third period played out last night?
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