The Milwaukee Admirals were able to claim a 4-3 shootout victory on the road over the Lake Erie Monsters Thursday night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
Similar to last season’s finale in Cleveland between the Admirals and Monsters a little bit of magic by Kevin Fiala was required for the Admirals to squeak away with a victory. Fiala scored with 3:55 remaining in regulation to force overtime through an incredible individual effort. From there, overtime flew by and the Admirals mastery of the shootout continued. The Admirals have won all seven games they have played in the shootout this season and Juuse Saros has still not allowed a shootout goal.
This game opened with a rapid fire chance for the Admirals to get the ball rolling the right way tonight. Only thirty-four seconds into the game Kevin Fiala drew a tripping minor against Sonny Milano to put the Admirals to the power-play. The best chance of the quick opportunity was a Max Görtz shot that rang iron and trickled back out before getting cleared from the net. The Admirals would again be left begging for a finish.
A heavyweight tilt broke out between Cody Bass and Brett Gallant at center ice not too long after the Admirals opening power-play. Both men talked about it for a bit, they removed their buckets, and proceeded to absolutely throttle one-another with hard right hands again – and again – and again. Gallant had the final strike to get Bass down, giving him the edge on the fight cards, but that was by far one of the most exciting fights this season.
On the flipside of the scrap the Monsters were able to score the game’s opening goal from their first power-play opportunity. Milano was able to score from a near impossible angle as he shimmied down the left wing and down below the goal-line before unleashing a wrister that surprised Juuse Saros top corner of the near post and in. The goal for Milano was his eighth of the season and second in two-games against the Admirals.
As the first period was grinding to a halt the Admirals found themselves earning an extended five-on-three power-play chance. Trent Vogelhuber was called for a hook and, just fourteen seconds later while attempting to fend off Pontus Åberg, Josh Anderson also took a hooking minor to give the Admirals 1:46 of five-on-three power-play. All that was required from there was a pass from Trevor Murphy over to the left wing face-off circle where a howitzer of a one-timer by Görtz signaled the end of the Admirals scoreless streak of 117:07 of ice time. The goal for Görtz was his twelfth of the season and seventh scored on the power-play.
Pontus Åberg was able to give the Admirals a 2-1 lead in the second period thanks to his fifteenth goal of the season. The Swede was able to fight off the defensive effort of Dillon Heatherington and, in the process, catch Anton Forsberg guarding the near post too much. Åberg labeled a wrister from the right wing that went against the grain and into the top shelf past the blocker of Forsberg.
The Admirals lead would be short lived as less than eight minutes after Åberg’s goal Daniel Zaar had an equalizer. The Monsters’ Swede was able to one-time a pass by Alex Broadhurst past Saros from close-range in the low right wing face-off circle to tally his seventeenth goal of the season. This was followed closely by a go-ahead goal for the scored by Anderson who beat Trevor Murphy with pace, alluded a poke check of Saros, and deposited five-hole to score his fourteenth goal of the season and make it a 3-2 Monsters lead.
As the game dipped below four minutes to play in regulation the Admirals saw a moment of sheer individual brilliance from Fiala. The 19-year old forward cut through multiple members of the Lake Erie Monsters, drew a penalty, managed to keep puck control as he plowed towards the net, and still had the ability to flick a puck up and over the right pad of Forsberg to equalize for the Admirals on his eleventh goal of the season.
The goal for Fiala would help force overtime which saw a frantic frame of three-on-three in which pucks were hopping everywhere. The game would spill into the shootout where once again the Admirals would get the job done.
Fiala was the first man up and fired a snapshot to the blocker side of Forsberg. Milano would follow up for the Monsters and miss the net entirely. Frédérick Gaudreau was next man up and he would get caught in too tight to Forsberg who gloved the shot down. Kerby Rychel had the chance to level things 1-1 in the shootout but he completely flubbed up his shot and it meant match point with Matt White next up for the Admirals. White dangled in on goal with speed before letting the puck glide clean through the wickets of Forsberg for the game-winner in the shootout.
The Admirals are now a perfect seven-for-seven in the shootout this season. Saros has not allowed a single shootout goal from thirteen shootout attempts. He stopped twenty five of the Monsters twenty-three shots on goal tonight to earn his eighteenth win of the season from twenty-five appearances.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played Tuesday night there were no roster moves made throughout the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Sissons-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Gaudreau-Görtz, Devane-Girard-Bass, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Aronson. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Hodgson (undisclosed), Patrick Mullen (right hand laceration), Garrett Noonan (healthy), and Johan Alm (lower body).
While it might not have been the cleanest of games for the Milwaukee Admirals can a comeback result like this be just the boost the team needs?
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