Blunders Cost Admirals in Comeback Bid; lose 4-3 in OT

(Photo Credit: Stephanie Moebius)
(Photo Credit: Stephanie Moebius)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-3 in overtime against the Grand Rapids Griffins Saturday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

This one was a heartbreaker considering how the Admirals rallied back from a 3-0 hole to earn a point in overtime. There were some blunders in this game and it ultimately cost them the outright win over the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season.

“We talked to the group after that they did not deserve that result,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “We played hard. We played real hard and for us to fight back like that.. clearly it’s disappointing with the effort that we thought that we got from most all our players. The effort was there. It’s disappointing, but we do have to use it as a positive that the resilience is good.”

A big gaffe from Marek Mazanec allowed for the Griffins to take a first period lead. Mazanec, who is known for being pretty good at handling the puck, got a bit overconfident with his abilities and passed from his net into traffic to essentially set up the primary assist on a Colin Campbell tap in. The goal for Campbell was his second of the season and, outside of empty netters, I doubt they’ll be any easier than that.

The Griffins extended their first period lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal from Mitch Callahan. The Griffins power-play came following what appeared to be a shoulder to chest hit by Mike Liambas that knocked over Tomas Nosek but was called an elbowing minor. After a shot by Martin Frk hit off the pads of Mazanec the rebound kicked over to the left wing where Callahan was able pop the puck in with the Czech netminder scrambling out of position. The goal for Callahan was his third of the season.

It took the Griffins just forty seconds to score once again. The first goal allowed by the Admirals was a blunder from Mazanec. The third goal allowed was plain bad luck. Kevin Fiala was tripped up and it spurred a rush for the Griffins that had a tight two-on-one in on goal. The pass across from the left wing to the right wing by Louis-Marc Aubry ended up getting deflected by Admirals defenseman Jack Dougherty and right through Mazanec to make it a 3-0 Griffins lead in 10:22 of ice-time. The goal does get credited to Aubry as the last Griffins player to touch it before going in and it was his second tally of the season.

A power-play late in the second period appeared to finally calm the Admirals down and shake the life back into their offense. It didn’t result in a power-play goal but thirty-one seconds after the white hot power-play came to a close a different sort of white hot took center stage. A shot from the point by Jack Dougherty deflected off of Matt White’s stick in the slot and past Griffins goaltender Eddie Pasquale for his team leading sixth goal of the season.

The Admirals would answer right back only twenty-nine seconds later to cut the deficit to a single goal advantage for the Griffins. Adam Pardy managed to race in down the right wing and whip a wrister while shuffling between defenders to record his second goal since being acquired from the Springfield Falcons.

A noteworthy hit took place in the final two minutes of the second period. The Admirals were countering out of the defensive half of the ice when Harry Zolnierczyk attempted to dump a puck around Joe Hicketts and skate around the opposite side of him. Rather than get into a foot race Hicketts went for a low hip check to the knees of Zolnierczyk and sent the veteran forward airborne and landing onto his head. Justin Kirkland went straight after Hicketts but no fight took place. After the scrum dissipated the lone penalty assessed was a roughing minor against Kirkland. Thankfully Zolnierczyk returned to the contest and nothing came from the following Griffins power-play.

Ads sustained plenty of attacking pressure throughout the third period but would still find themselves trailing 3-2 late. At 1:41 the Admirals used their timeout and brought Mazanec to the bench to play with the extra attacker. The Admirals would cash in after Kevin Fiala’s shot to Pasquale fell free and was jammed in by Adam Payerl for his fourth goal of the season to complete the three goal deficit comeback.

The Admirals would earn a point by pushing the game into overtime but sadly the same situation that started the game ended it. Mazanec tried an up-ice pass from his net and it went right to the tape of a Griffins player for a goal. The area where it hurts even more? The goal scorer was the man behind the low hit on Zolnierczyk – Hicketts.

“I saw our guy. He was looking at me and so I thought I could give it to him and he’s going to go,” said Marek Mazanec of his pass in overtime. “The pass didn’t work out for me as I expected. I wanted to make a difference in the game and it didn’t work well. It cost us the game.”

The defeat for the Admirals snaps a four game winnings streak but they do claw back from 3-0 down tonight to earn a point from a game they may have easily thrown in the garbage early. It was still a hard earned point, disappointing finish, but another point earned from a night when things weren’t close to as good as they can be.

“We can’t continually say we’re a resilient group and that’s great and we keep coming back,” stated Evason in response to the team’s comeback efforts in recent games. “You have to correct why we’re being a resilient group. We want to be a resilient group being up and maybe showing our discipline in being resilient.”

Next on tap for the Admirals will be the Charlotte Checkers on Tuesday night which will finish up the team’s season long five-game homestand. It will be the first meeting between the Admirals and Checkers in the 2016-17 season.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday they recalled defenseman Jonathan Diaby from their ECHL affiliate the Cincinnati Cyclones. Diaby, along with forward Anthony Richard, were healthy scratches for the Admirals tonight. With the overtime loss tonight the Admirals are now 9-18-2-3 against the Griffins the last three seasons including last year’s playoff series.

What were your thoughts on tonight’s performance for the Milwaukee Admirals? Would you feel Marek Mazanec is ready for an NHL return after a showing such as tonight or should the Nashville Predators keep him down for longer? Despite the poor opening period did you appreciate the response from the second period onwards?

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11 thoughts on “Blunders Cost Admirals in Comeback Bid; lose 4-3 in OT”

  1. Maz held them after the first period. Playing like an idiot cost the Ads 2 goals. I think he should stay in Milwaukee until he looks like an NHL goalie.

  2. Unfortunately I think were stuck with Maz until Saros has more than one bad game, or Nashville thinks he needs to get more work. Maybe bring up Visentin and start him over Maz for a game or two to jumpstart his brain. The team outskated Grand Rapids all night, too bad Maz let them down.

  3. It will be interesting to see what Nashville does after the weekend, doesn’t do anything for Saros to sit on the bench. Maz is pretty much what he is makes 2 brutal mistakes, yet plays pretty well in stretches. Third goal was just awful officiating, I think everyone in the building saw Fiala get tripped as he was getting held and hooked all game. Why 2 referees some games and not all? I find it difficult to believe that a professional league would have a problem with availability, but any other answer doesn’t make sense. Just my 2 cents but Florek should pattern his game after Payerl’s, he didn’t come close to touching anybody all night.

  4. When did Maz all of a sudden start thinking he’s Marty Turco? He never played the puck as aggressively before being in the NHL. Is that a Nashville thing, a byproduct of the new coaching staff to attempt and play high pace? From an honest opinion Maz barely looks ready for another AHL start let alone NHL, maybe Nashville is kicking tires on trading for a different backup. Funny the names you can list when you think of goalies that have come and gone without more than a cup of coffee and a kick out the door from NSH, Jeremy Smith, Magnus Hellberg, Scott Darling, and even Anders Lindback to some extent. All could have been the guy to back Pekka but all were passed by. The Darling one is the worst fish to have let go. The rest of team played well, Fiala looks great very polished and aware, can’t wait to see where he gets traded to have his career take off. Love Matty White he’s quickly becoming a top three jersey choice for me, his play is infectious and providing results. Pardy is another guy who’s play is just getting better every game he gets more comfortable with his new team and looks like he belonged here all along.

  5. I think I saw at least the first period a bit differently than Ottomania. At the very least it was an eve first quarter, as the Ads were out shot. I do think that the Ads outplayed them the rest of the game. And that is besides the point that the Ads were out shot 8-3 in the third period. Seemed to me anyway that they controlled the back for most of the last two periods. I don’t think I have seen Maz make two bad out let passes in one game. Both resulting in goals.

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