The Milwaukee Admirals lost 3-2 in a shootout on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center. Despite all the roster activity that took place today the Admirals delivered a really inspired performance on the ice tonight. Mark Visentin made thirty-four saves in a relief start for the Admirals while Juuse Saros earned his first career NHL win for the Nashville Predators. It was a solid performance. The Admirals earn a point. They just come up short in the shootout.
After a steady first period the entertainment provided by the second period more than made up for the scoreless opening frame. Mark McNeill opened the scoring up for the IceHogs after being unleashed on a counter attack from the Admirals defensive zone. He had a full head of steam before Ville Pokka fed him the puck. McNeill’s pace burned through Matt White and Jonathan Diaby before he managed to beat Mark Visentin with a low wrister for his first goal of the season.
The IceHogs would make it a 2-0 second period lead after a bomb from Carl Dahlström. The Admirals vacated the point as a puck trickled back to Dahlström who hammered a shot first-time that buzzed through a screen and Visentin to record his first North American pro goal.
It seemed that the second tally for the IceHogs was finally enough to awake the Admirals. In a span of 1:12 the Admirals went from trailing 2-0 to being on level terms. Félix Girard scored his first of the season just twenty-one seconds after the IceHogs had made it 2-0 and did so in the middle of a scrum out in front of Lars Johansson. Before any control by the netminder could be had Girard popped past the loose puck to get the Admirals on the board and make it 2-1.
Matt White was able to level things for the Admirals fifty-one seconds after Girard’s goal to make it 2-2. White was ranging down the right wing and appeared to be getting set to pass off to his opposite wing. After dragging the puck and cutting towards the center White unleashed a wrister that wired into the top shelf past Johansson’s glove for his first goal of the season in his 2016-17 debut. White had been a healthy scratch for the Admirals in the first three-games of the season.
The game would stay deadlocked through the third period and overtime for both team’s first shootout of the 2016-17 season. The IceHogs were able to score their first chance of the shootout through Spencer Abbott. After misses by White and Anthony Richard for the Admirals, and a failed attempt by Brandon Mashinter, the chance came for McNeill to finish what he started – and he did. He beat Visentin with a wrister blocker side to give the IceHogs the 3-2 shootout win.
A tip of the cap can be given to Visentin in net for the Admirals tonight. After a slow start to his season with the Cincinnati Cyclones at the ECHL level he was given the start tonight with the Admirals amidst the chaos going on in the organization. He delivered a great performance against the team he played for a season ago by stopping 34/36 shots on goal. He and the Admirals came up short in the shootout, yes, but after what took place earlier in the day I’d say taking a hard earned point such as this is a solid result and something to build off of.
The Admirals first loss of the season has them at a 3-0-0-1 record dropping only a single point out of a possible eight these first four games of the season during a five-game road trip. That road trip ends next week when the Admirals face-off against the Iowa Wild on Friday. The Admirals then look to make their mark at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena the next night against the Wild. They’re then right off to Rockford that Sunday to complete the three-in-three weekend and their October slate.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game a massive situation broke out regarding food poisoning for the Nashville Predators. The Predators officially recalled Frédérick Gaudreau, Austin Watson, Trevor Smith, and Harry Zolnierczyk from the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators also recalled Juuse Saros from the Admirals under emergency conditions and placed Cody Bass on injured reserve due toan upper-body injury. The Admirals in response recalled Justin Kirkland, Eric Robinson, Jaynen Rissling, and Mark Visentin from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). They also signed forward Shawn O’Donnell and goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris to PTO Contracts. The Admirals scratches tonight were Shawn O’Donnell (healthy), Jaynen Rissling (healthy), and Dov Grumet-Morris (healthy). By recording an assist on Félix Girard’s goal tonight Alex Carrier earned his first career point as a professional hockey player. In addition to Juuse Saros earning his first career win in the NHL tonight’s contest for the Nashville Predators also saw the NHL debut for Frédérick Gaudreau.
Thoughts on tonight’s performance? All things considered do you feel taking a point from this game is a positive result for the Admirals? Did any of the new blood out of the ECHL impress you?
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