The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-2 against the Manitoba Moose Wednesday night at the MTS Centre.
An explosive second period saw the Admirals get out of a 1-0 hole by stretching their legs a bit. The Admirals speed created several chances for them in this game including a three-point night for Pontus Åberg who is now the top goal scorer on the Admirals this season after tagging the Moose for a pair tonight. The Admirals point streak is now up to ten-games with a record of 8-0-0-2 and they have won their last four straight.
It wasn’t a good start for the Admirals who spent a fair bit of the opening period on the penalty kill. The Moose earned three power-plays in the first period but the Admirals were able to limit shots to the net and kill off all three chances. The breakthrough for the Moose came from an unlikely source as Andrew MacWilliam thumped in a one-timer from the point that whistled through four bodies camped out in front of Marek Mazanec and in for the defenseman’s first goal of the season in his sixty-eighth game.
The second period was a much different story. The Admirals used their speed and generated eighteen shots on goal while whipping three pucks past Moose goaltender Eric Comrie to take a 3-1 lead.
On their first power-play chance of the night the Admirals scored their third power-play goal from three power-play chances in Manitoba this trip. Pontus Åberg passed from left wing to right wing where Vladislav Kamenev fired a rocket shot of a one-timer for the Russian’s fourteenth goal of the season.
After a savvy bit of defensive zone work by the Admirals, Max Görtz led a charge into the Moose zone that ended with a toe-drag, rebound, and tap-in goal by Félix Girard. Görtz’s shot came from the right wing as he cut towards the slot on a toe drag move. Comrie made the initial save put kicked the puck right to Girard who had all of the net to dump the rebound into for his fifth goal of the season.
With under two-minutes remaining in the second period the Admirals added a third goal that came thanks to a home run pass from Corey Potter. The veteran defenseman spotted a gap up ice and threw a puck from deep in the Admirals defensive zone to Åberg in stride and the Swede maintained a shooting position down the right wing and snapped a shot high glove on Comrie to record his twenty-first goal of the season.
Past the halfway point in the third period the Moose were able to cut the deficit and make it a one-goal game. Sean Escobedo’s shot from the blue line was fanned on but carried to the slot like a pass where Darren Kramer scooped it up and swiped past Mazanec for a goal to his glove side. The goal for Kramer was his seventh of the season.
As was the case last night the Admirals were quick to squash the Moose getting too close for comfort. Joe Pendenza had drawn a penalty but carried on his run down the right wing to deliver a pass back post where Jamie Devane was able to score his sixth goal of the season. The Moose would then be called for a hooking minor where Åberg put on a skill show, freezing Comrie in his place with a stickhandle, and then whipped the puck back behind him before he skated past the net. It was Åberg’s second goal of the night and pushed him past Max Reinhart for the team lead in goal scoring with his twenty-second of the season. The goals for Devane and Åberg were scored 1:12 apart from each other to give the Admirals a 5-2 lead that they would hold to the finish line.
Tonight was Mazanec’s first start in net in three-games and he came up with some high quality saves in his nineteenth win of the season. He stopped 27/29 shots on goal against the Moose and was the backstop to an Admirals penalty kill that killed all four Moose power-play opportunities tonight.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made in the organization. The only thing of note was that Stefan Elliott officially rejoined the team after his reassignment from the Nashville Predators yesterday and the Admirals decided to dress seven defensemen for tonight’s game as a result. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau- Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard- Görtz, Devane-Pendenza, Elliott-Mullen, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Aronson, Murphy. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Hodgson (upper-body), A.J. White (healthy), and Johan Alm (lower-body). Tonight both the Rockford IceHogs and San Diego Gulls clinched playoff spots. Also taking place tonight was the Ontario Reign, who lead the AHL’s Western Conference on points percentage, managed to clinch the first ever Pacific Division title.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? What do we all think of the current run of form by Pontus Åberg? How did Marek Mazanec look in his first game back in net after a solid run from Juuse Saros? Are you worried at all that the Admirals might be peaking too soon or can this run carry over into the playoffs?
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