The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Cleveland Monsters Friday night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
For the Admirals tonight the case of rust versus rest came up rust. This was the Admirals first game in nearly a week and it resulted in the team’s first regulation loss since the home opener on 10/29/16 against the Iowa Wild. It snaps an eleven-game point streak that stretched from the end of October through the entirety of November. Adam Payerl scored his fifth goal of the season late in the third period to deny Joonas Korpisalo a shutout on the night.
This game got off on the wrong foot as the Admirals looked every bit the team that has been sitting without game action for nearly a full week. A turnover behind the net by Jonathan Diaby went to T.J. Tynan who quickly passed from the trapezoid to Daniel Zaar for a one-timer that beat Marek Mazanec before he knew what happened to make it a 1-0 Monsters lead.
Moments later there was a brief moment of elation for the Admirals that ended up being was waved off for a no goal call. Adam Pardy was able to wheel in on goal and provided what would have been a highlight reel goal for the veteran defenseman. Unfortunately some pushing and shoving in front of goaltender Joonas Korpisalo ended with Harry Zolnierczyk falling a bit too close to the netminder for the officials liking and the goal was waved off for incidental contact.
Miikka Salomäki was making his return to game action tonight on conditioning assignment from the Nashville Predators. Yet in the first period his bull in a china shop mentality did get the better of him with a stiff cross-check in the neutral zone. The Monsters entered the contest with the worst power-play in the league. That wouldn’t matter as a left wing shot pass by captain Ryan Craig found Zaar all alone with a trailing Pardy late to defend the redirected shot. Zaar would pick up his second goal of the first period and push his season total to five on the season.
In the second period, looking to inject his bench with some energy, Cody Bass dropped the gloves in the neutral zone with 6’7” defenseman Oleg Yevenko. The two had a very spirited bout and one that was pretty even in my fight card. The Admirals entered the night with the fewest fighting majors in the league this season. As a team this fight by Bass was just their fifth fighting major on the 2016-17 season.
The Monsters would extend their lead to 3-0 shortly after a power-play expired. After Jordan Maletta won an in-zone face-off the puck went back to Blake Siebenaler who passed off to his defensive partner on the left point Jaime Sifers. The slap shot from Sifers snuck past some traffic and beat Mazanec low to the glove side for the defenseman’s second goal of the season.
There was hope for yet another miraculous Cardiac Kids effort by the Admirals late in the third period. Harry Zolnierczyk and Adam Payerl were chipping around the left wing side of the net for a loose puck and Payerl got a shot elevated past Korpisalo to deny the Finn a shutout bid tonight. Payerl’s fifth goal of the season made it a 3-1 game with 7:44 remaining in regulation.
The hope was a long shot. The Admirals needed a rapid fire response the likes of which happened when they last played on the road against the Rockford IceHogs. A near chance by Justin Florek almost saw that happen to narrow the deficit to one-goal but Korpisalo fended it off. The Monsters would finish things off with an empty netter by Oliver Bjorkstrand for his seventh goal of the season. The 4-1 loss for the Admirals was their first in regulation in over a month. That last defeat in regulation came all the way back on 10/29/16 at the home opener against the Iowa Wild.
If there is any good news on the night it is that this game isn’t staying in the memory bank for too long. These two teams go right back at it again tomorrow night at 5:00 PM CST.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Saturday there were three roster moves of note. Tylor Spink was released from his loan to the Admirals and returned to the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL. Miikka Salomäki was assigned to the Admirals from the Nashville Predators on a conditioning assignment. Adam Pardy, who has been with the Admirals since being acquired from the Springfield Falcons, was then signed to an NHL contract by the Predators. Both moves took place on Wednesday. Speaking of the Predators, their injury troubles stand as follows: James Neal was pushed from day-to-day to week-to-week basis with an upper-body injury, Anthony Bitetto broke his hand and is expected to miss the next six weeks, Colton Sissons remains out with an upper-body injury, and Ryan Ellis partially participated in Thursday practice for the Predators but remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. The Admirals had no scratches tonight with a fully stretched roster. Of note in tonight’s game, it appeared as though Salomäki did not play the entire third period. It is not clear as to the reason why that was the case.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Do you feel this result can be simply chalked up to the Milwaukee Admirals being stationary for six-days? Are you at all worried that the Admirals need better defensive depth at the moment with the injuries up top?
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