The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Bakersfield Condors Friday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
In the final regular season game for the Admirals at the Bradley Center the team saw their franchise record tying thirteen-game point streak come to an end. The loss also snaps a winning streak that lasted seven-games. The Admirals 2015-16 regular season finale is tomorrow night on the road against the Rockford IceHogs.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t play better because they were excited,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game in response to the fans at tonight’s game. “It was early. It was loud. It’s what our fans are. Unfortunately we didn’t deliver on it.”
A first period power-play goal provided the Admirals with an early lead. Zach Boychuk was called for a high-sticking minor which provided a platform for Pontus Åberg to deliver the goods once again. On the second face-off to the power-play Frédérick Gaudreau broke his stick, raced to the bench to get a new twig, and the Admirals were able to maintain zone control with the puck cycling down the right wing to Gaudreau. The play resulted in an eventual pass from Vladislav Kamenev in the right wing over to Åberg on the left wing where he took the pass first-time to beat Laurent Brossoit for his team leading twenty-fifth goal of the season.
The Condors would level the scoreline in the first period. Juuse Saros was attempting to push aside a puck that trickled in on him and his flicking of the puck went out to Dillon Simpson. After cradling the puck up Simpson maintained a shooting position while edging to the left wing before snapping a low wrister that beat Saros to the glove-side for his fourth goal of the season.
It wouldn’t take long into the second period for the Condors to rally back and earn their first lead of the game. Inside of three-minute of the frame the Condors caught the Admirals in a sloppy change that saw three different wingers from three different lines out defending a counter attack. Saros was able to fend off an initial chance but no one was on hand to prevent Philip McRae from scoring an easy tap-in for his ninth goal of the season that made it a 2-1 Condors lead.
Before you knew it the Condors raced down on an odd-man rush to tag Saros once again. The Condors had a three-on-two break that stayed along the right wing and slot with McRae dropping a puck off for Josh Currie who smacked a hard shot that surprised Saros to the glove-side to make it a 3-1 Condors advantage. The goal for Currie was his ninth of the season.
“Crazy game there,” said Juuse Saros. “Of course not a nice game for me neither but [expletive] happens.”
In the final minute of the second period the Admirals managed to unleash Max Reinhart on a breakaway to get the game back within a one-goal deficit. Reinhart had a breakaway earlier in the period as he came out of the penalty box. He was hauled down on the play before he could get a shot away and no call was made on that shorthanded breakaway opportunity. He did on the second crack which was all set up superbly by Jamie Devane at the Admirals blueline to send Reinhart free from a pack of players around the Admirals center ice logo. From there, Reinhart held and whipped a backhanded shot that beat Brossoit near-post glove-side for his twenty-third goal of the season.
Another odd-man rush for the Condors came in the middle stages of the third period and, once more, Saros was beaten low glove. Currie’s second goal of the night came while maintaining good puck control whilst dealing with the pressure of Patrick Mullen. As Mullen yielded some space Currie slid off to the left wing, bettered his shooting angle, and ripped in his tenth goal of the season to make it a 4-2 Condors lead.
After a delay of game penalty against Mullen the Condors tacked on a power-play goal to take a 5-2 advantage. A slap shot by Brad Hunt was deflected in front of Saros by Matthew Ford that banked into the roof of the net for Ford’s team leading twenty-seventh goal of the season.
“We were very complacent tonight,” said Evason. “It’s the first time in a long time that we expected to do well as opposed to going out and working for our result. We’ll address it, clearly. We did and we will again in the morning. We certainly can’t have that complacency at this point. You just hope that it’s the one game and we go forward.”
The loss in net for Saros was his first in over a month’s time. He had entered the game having won his last eight straight starts. Tonight he stopped 28/33 shots on goal in the loss.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Tuesday night there have been no roster moves made throughout the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were: Reinhart-Gaudreau-Åberg, Fiala-Kamenev-Payerl, White-Girard-Görtz, AJ-Pendenza-Devane, Oligny-Potter, Näkyvä-Elliott, Murphy-Mullen. Tonight’s scratches were: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Cody Hodgson (upper-body), Taylor Aronson (personal reasons), Anthony Richard (lower-body), Aaron Irving (healthy), and Johan Alm (lower-body). The attendance of tonight’s game was 11,827. The Rockford IceHogs defeated the Grand Rapids Griffins 4-0 tonight in Rockford to take sole possession of third place of the Central Division. The two teams entered the night tied for third place with the Griffins holding the tiebreaker over the IceHogs.
What are your reactions to tonight’s game? Was this loss just a long time coming? Can you tip your cap to the Condors or were those defensive lapses of the Admirals in the second period a real back breaker?
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