The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 in a shootout on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night at the BMO Harris Bank Center.
This game was a whacky one. The Admirals thoroughly deserved a win from their play tonight but nearly saw themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 scoreline. It was looking that was until the final five minutes of regulation when the Admirals scored twice in just over two-minutes to force overtime where they would eventually win it in a shootout.
“We definitely have a resilient group,” smiled Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Scott Ford after the game. “They continue to do the right things for the majority of the games because of the big chunks of time that we’re playing in other teams zones. We’re doing the right things and it is giving us a chance to win every night. We found a way to get the big wins in the close ones.”
The IceHogs got on the board first from their opening power-play chance on the night. The Admirals had almost killed the tripping minor against Trevor Murphy but with fourteen seconds remaining on the power-play defenseman Cameron Shilling’s long range wrister from the right point deflected off of net front traffic. The puck skimmed past the blocker shoulder of Marek Mazanec and the tally was credited to Schilling for his fifth goal of the season to give the IceHogs a 1-0 first period lead.
In the closing stages of the second period the IceHogs were able to extend their lead off a blistering counter attack. The Admirals were beginning to pin the IceHogs into their own half but, after a failed power-play, the IceHogs started opening up the game more. The transition from defense to offense quickly saw Tanner Kero racing down the left wing where he was able to spot the back post rush of Tyler Barnes. The pass was taken first time by Barnes who beat Mazanec to the blocker side to record his first goal since joining the IceHogs organization.
With less than five minutes remaining in the third period the Admirals were able to finally get on the board and deny Mac Carruth his shutout bid with a power-play goal. Alex Carrier was able to pick out Frédérick Gaudreau all alone in the slot as he was cutting towards the right wing. Gaudreau whipped a wrister past Carruth to score his third goal of the season with 4:47 remaining in regulation.
The Admirals most outstanding characteristic to this point in the season has been its resiliency. That shined once more as the Admirals were able to tie the game 2:04 after Gaudreau netted their first. A net front puck scramble went on for what felt like a life time. One can only assume the reason the whistle never came to freeze the puck was because they saw it free. As the battle kept on Vladislav Kamenev finally managed to secure a shot that snuck through to equalize with 2:23 remaining in regulation off of his fifth goal of the season.
This game would then be forced to overtime. That alone extended the Admirals point streak to ten straight games but the extra point was up for grabs. The frame saw its typical share of anxiety driven three-on-three open play but the best chances went more to the side of the IceHogs. Mazanec came up big in net during the overtime frame and helped see the game need a shootout.
The first man up in the shootout was the Barnes for the IceHogs and he deked himself past the chance to ever get a shot off. Then Kevin Fiala stepped up for the Admirals, showed a different shootout move, and worked a shot past Carruth to the stick side on a much more direct approach down the slot. He simply beat him with a quick release.
In the second round both Martin Lundberg and Gaudreau saw their attempts miss out. The game fell on the shoulders of IceHogs defenseman Erik Gustafsson to score on Mazanec to extend the shootout to one more shooter and he simply couldn’t get the job done. Mazanec was able to lay out and make a toe save to complete the Admirals comeback victory in the shootout.
The win for the Admirals is their fifth straight and extends their point streak to ten games. They now have a record of 12-2-1-1 (26 points, 0.813 points percentage) which makes them second in the entire AHL and Western Conference to only the Tucson Roadrunners (0.818 points percentage). The Admirals are tied with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the most points earned to this point in the season and the Admirals have played two less games than they have.
The Admirals are right back at it tomorrow night on home ice when they face the Manitoba Moose for the first time all season. The game starts at 6:00 PM CST at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena and will be the last home game for a good while. The Admirals won’t be back on home ice until Saturday December 10th when the Chicago Wolves come to town. The Admirals will play four consecutive road games after facing the Moose tomorrow night.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday there were a few roster notes from the organization. The Nashville Predators recalled Juuse Saros and reassigned Marek Mazanec to the Admirals. After clearing waivers Cody Bass was assigned by the Predators to the Admirals. Matt Carle, who like Bass was placed on waivers by the Predators, did clear waivers but was not assigned to the Admirals. Carle announced his retirement from professional hockey after a twelve-year career today. Tonight’s lone scratch for the Admirals was healthy, Justin Kirkland.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How did you feel Marek Mazanec looked in his return to the net? What is it about this team being able to comeback so often this season?
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