The Milwaukee Admirals lost 6-1 on the road against the Iowa Wild Friday night at the Wells Fargo Arena. This was the Admirals first regulation loss of the season and their first regulation loss in Iowa under the Iowa Wild banner. The Admirals entered tonight’s game with a 10-0-2-1 record against the Iowa Wild at the Wells Fargo Arena. The Admirals last regulation loss in Iowa came back on 2/28/09 in a 2-1 defeat to the then Iowa Chops.
Despite a surging start for the Admirals offensively it was the Wild getting on the board first. The Wild were able to utilize a counter attack that saw Mario Lucia zip down the left wing and dish a spin-o-rama pass to the center lane drive of Tyler Graovac who kept his shot along the ice to beat Jonas Gunnarsson five-hole for his second tally of the season. The Wild would enter the locker room after the first period ended up 1-0 while being outshot by the Admirals 14-5.
In the second period, following a slashing call against Alex Carrier, the Wild made it a 2-0 game through a power-play goal from Jordan Schroeder. Christoph Bertschy was able to move in from the right wing and tee up Schroeder in the slot before Adam Pardy could close him down. The quick release shot by Schroeder beat Gunnarsson near-post glove-side for his second goal of the season.
The Wild would add a second goal in the sandwich stanza to extend their lead to 3-0. A long range shot from the point by defenseman Gustav Olofsson deflected right in front of the Admirals netminder Gunnarsson by Colton Beck. The deflected shot trickled through the Swedish goaltender and the Wild’s Beck was credited with his first goal of the season.
The third period is where this game went into overdrive for the Wild. Schroeder was left all alone in front of the net for a one-timer feed from behind Gunnarsson’s net by Zach Palmquist to record his second goal of the game. The Wild were then put on a five-on-three power-play for 1:17 of ice time after a hooking call against Trevor Murphy and tripping call against Trevor Smith. The Wild cashed in from both sides of the two-man advantage: first from rebounder by Graovac for his second of the night and then a deflection off the leg of Bertschy to get his second goal of the season. It was 6-0 Wild before the halfway point in the third period.
By game’s end it seemed a moral victory for the Admirals was to -at the very least- break up Steven Michalek’s shutout bid. The Admirals were able to do that and did so shorthanded. Adam Payerl worked behind the net and swung out towards the left wing side of the net to get a pass out to an unmarked Adam Pardy down the slot. Pardy’s shot snuck past the blocker of Michalek to see Pardy record a shorthanded goal in his Admirals debut and his first AHL goal scored since 3/19/13 as a member of the Rochester Americans.
The final scoreline of 6-1 is tough to take. I’d imagine it’s even tougher to take for Gunnarsson who was making his North American pro and Admirals debut tonight. He stopped 25/31 shots on goal tonight and was left really exposed on a number of the goals allowed in tonight’s game. His opposite number in net for the Wild, Michalek, made thirty-six saves in tonight’s game and lost the shutout with 3:11 remaining in regulation.
These two teams lock horns once again tomorrow night. Depending on what bus you’re in tonight it is either a long bus ride from Des Moines to Milwaukee or a cruise. There will be plenty to dissect for the Admirals ahead of the rematch and the hope would be for the home opening crowd at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to provide an extra spark.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last Saturday the organization has made numerous moves. Trevor Smith, Frédérick Gaudreau, and Juuse Saros were reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals while the likes of Austin Watson and Harry Zolnierczyk remain topside. The Admirals released Shawn O’Donnell and Dov Grumet-Morris from their PTO Contracts. The Nashville Predators then recalled defenseman Matt Irwin to join them for their on-going West Coast road trip. The Admirals then made a trade that saw them acquire Adam Pardy from the Springfield Falcons in exchange for Eric Robinson, Teddy Doherty, and Brandon Whitney. The Admirals then assigned defenseman Jaynen Rissling to the Cincinnati Cyclones where goaltender Mark Visentin was also recalled earlier in the week. Tonight’s only scratch for the Admirals was a healthy scratch for defenseman Jonathan Diaby.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Was this a loss of composure for the Milwaukee Admirals? Where is the Admirals pace and skill offensively? Is there concern that Jonas Gunnarsson’s North American transition will be this shaky all season and, if so, is Mark Visentin the answer rather than playing Juuse Saros for every single game this season?
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