Momentum Madness; Ads Lose 5-4 in a Shootout

(Photo Credit: Christina Shapiro)
(Photo Credit: Christina Shapiro)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-4 in a shootout against the Texas Stars Saturday night at the Cedar Park Center.

This game had some serious momentum shifts involved in it. The Admirals raced out to a 3-0 lead with well over half the game remaining only to see that lead get dissolved by four-unanswered goals from the Stars including three straight goals scored on the power-play. Patrick Mullen was able to equalize late with his first goal since joining the Admirals to help see the Admirals earn a point to extend their point streak to six-games. Unfortunately, Brendan Ranford would add a game-winning shootout goal to his two-goal night to provide the Stars with the added point.

A touch of chippy behavior set the foundation for an Admirals four-on-three power-play chance in the first period. Pontus Åberg and Greg Rallo went to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct minors to make it four-on-four which was followed closely by a tripping call against Curtis McKenzie. On the four-on-three power-play Patrick Mullen threw a pass from the point off to the right wing circle where Vladislav Kamenev put some life back into the Russian Space Administration with an absolute rocket of a slap shot taken first-time. The power-play goal for Kamenev saw his season total hit twelve.

Cody Bass has been doing lots of great work on and off the ice for the Admirals with little to show for it in the stat sheet. The veteran forward finally got a pay off in the second period after battling to the front of the net to deflect a hard shot from Kristian Näkyvä at the middle of the blueline. The goal for Bass was his fourth of the season.

This was followed less than three-minutes later by a whirlwind of a shift by Pontus Åberg. The Swede generated a pair of turnovers, pushed the offensive cycle, and capped things off with a toe-drag wrister that whistled through traffic to go into the top shelf over Maxime Lagacé’s blocker shoulder. Åberg’s nineteenth goal of the season signaled the end of the night for Lagacé who stopped just 10/13 shots on goal before Jack Campbell entered the game.

The shake-up for the Stars in net seemed to provide the right spark the coaching staff was looking for as their offense came to life. In the final four-minutes of the second period the Stars scored a pair of power-play goals to draw the Admirals 3-0 lead down to 3-2. Brendan Ranford scored with a wrister from the left wing circle after a high paced rush through neutral zone opened up space for him to score his eighteenth goal of the season. That was followed 2:14 of ice time later by another power-play goal which was crafted behind the net from returning Stars captain Travis Morin and polished off at the side of the net by McKenzie on a backhander for his nineteenth goal of the season. The shot was taken just quick enough that the puck elevated up and over the reaching glove or Marek Mazanec.

Texas was able to equalize in the third period after scoring their third consecutive power-play goal. Patrick Mullen flipped a puck over the glass to put the Stars on the power-play and a Mattias Bäckman shot from the point ricocheted off the tip of Ranford’s stick in front of the net to record his second goal of the game and nineteenth of the season to make it a 3-3 game.

The Stars would score their fourth unanswered goal with 6:16 remaining in regulation to take hold of a 4-3 lead after having trailed by three-goals. A strong rush from the left wing by Derek Hulak put him in on a race to the front of the net where he lost puck control. The way momentum was going in the game it would naturally make sense for the puck to fortuitously slide like a pass to the path of Gemel Smith where he took a backhanded swipe and scored his thirteenth goal of the season.

With all the momentum in the world behind the Stars the Admirals were able to find an equalizer out of nowhere from an impossible angle shot from Mullen with 2:14 left in regulation. Mullen stepped way up into the rush and was near the right wing pocket by the wall when he decided to snap off a shot to Campbell’s near post. The shot managed to hit iron and squeak in for Mullen’s second goal of this AHL season and the first of his Admirals career.

This game would spill into overtime to extend the Admirals point streak to six-games. Unfortunately, the Admirals would fall in the shootout where only Ranford was able to score from the six attempts through three-rounds. Ranford swooped from the right wing and blew a wrister past the glove of Mazanec for the game-winning shootout goal. The loss for the Admirals ends a winning streak of three-games.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday there were no roster moves made throughout the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, Murphy-Bass-Pendenza, Elliott-Mullen, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Aronson. Tonight’s scratches were: Jamie Devane (healthy), Cody Hodgson (upper-body), and Johan Alm (lower-body).

Was this a good or a bad result from the Milwaukee Admirals considering the lost a 3-0 lead but did comeback late to earn a point? What happened to the Admirals offense following the third goal and subsequent goaltending swap for the Texas Stars?

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