The Milwaukee Admirals won 4-1 on the road against the Cleveland Monsters Saturday night at the Quicken Loans Arena.
This was a return to form effort by the Admirals. They were able to sandwich a less than stellar second period by scoring goals in the opening minute of both the first and third periods tonight. Vladislav Kamenev had himself a three point night scoring a goal and two assists. Trevor Murphy contributed his second multi-goal game of the season. And Harry Zolnierczyk was just about everywhere on the ice as he picked up a pair of assists for good measure.
After a lethargic performance last night the Admirals looked to instantly buck the trend right out of the starting blocks tonight. It took them just forty-one seconds to notch the game’s opening goal and it came from a blast from the left wing face-off dot by Trevor Murphy. The Admirals second-year defenseman’s slap shot zipped past a great screen by Harry Zolnierczyk in front of Anton Forsberg to make it a quick 1-0 game.
During a four-on-four stretch in the first period the Monsters would answer back with a goal of their own. A rush into the Admirals defensive zone saw Daniel Zaar drop off to the on-rushing Blake Siebenaler who stepped up from the blue line to catch out Matt White defensively. Siebenaler caught the drop pass on his backhand, glided in on the backhand, and snapped off a powerful backhanded shot that beat Marek Mazanec on the near post and the Czech’s glove side for the defenseman’s first pro goal.
After T.J. Tynan was called for slashing Murphy behind the play, which negated a Monsters rush that was breaking into the Admirals defensive half of the ice, the Admirals picked up their third power-play chance of the opening period. The Admirals entered the night with the worst road power-play in the AHL and only registered a single shot on goal from their previous two chances earlier in the frame. This would chance once Zolnierczyk swooped around the net to deliver a pass in the left wing circle for Murphy who’s one-timer deflected off Ryan Craig’s stick and flew past Forsberg for his second goal of the night and fourth of the season to restore the Admirals lead.
There wasn’t much of anything going for the Admirals in the second period. In fact, the lack of offensive output by them was the lowest in any frame all season. The Admirals registered a season low three shots on goal in the second period against the Monsters tonight. It was one fewer shot than the previous low coming on the road against the San Antonio Rampage in the third period of the second game of the season.
Despite that poor second period for the Admirals they did keep the scoreline at 2-1. Whatever was said at the second intermission must have made an impact because the Admirals scored in the opening minute of the third period to give themselves a two-goal lead. Vladislav Kamenev scored his sixth goal of the season off of a wicked backhander. The goal for Kamenev gave him a three point night as he picked up assists on both Murphy goals.
With the roster activity being wild today it seems almost fitting that two players, signed on PTO contracts earlier this morning, would earn assists on the same goal. That would happen when the Admirals made it 4-1 through Justin Florek’s second goal of the season which was assisted by the newly added Derek Army and Blake Kessel. Florek’s shot appeared to catch Forsberg by surprise as Florek ripped it to the near post from the low left wing. That puck had to have had eyes and Forsberg didn’t allow for much space to his blocker side.
If were a different night, different game, different team, or just a different set of officials Kamenev might have picked up the fighting major in the third period that’d have given him the Gordie Howe hat trick. After a hooking call against Jimmy Oligny was whistled down Monsters forward Justin Scott proceeded to continue on with the puck towards Mazanec. Kamenev went right for him and the two landed some pretty solid punches. Perhaps these referees couldn’t be bothered with the new AHL fighting policy like the rest of us as it resulted in a pair of roughing minors.
The final horn would sound to signal in a 4-1 win for the Admirals tonight in Cleveland. This was their final game on the road to face the Monsters this season and the Admirals won three of the four contests. The Monsters have yet to travel to Milwaukee. That won’t happen until January 24th.
A tip of the cap can be given to Admirals goaltender Marek Mazanec tonight. He was making effectively his second start in two nights against last year’s defending Calder Cup champions and looked real sharp in both games. Tonight was the better of the two performances for the Czech. He made twenty-eight saves tonight and only allowed the lone goal coming from Siebenaler on the rush during a four-on-four. The win for Mazanec was his third in five starts with the Admirals this season.
The Admirals road trip keeps on rolling. The team will not return home once during this four game road trip. Now that the first two legs have been completed the Admirals will travel to Iowa tomorrow, practice in Iowa on Monday, and then go to work against the Iowa Wild on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM CST. Wednesday the Admirals travel to Grand Rapids, they practice there on Thursday, play against the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road for the first time all season on Friday night at 6:00 PM CST, and finally return back home to Milwaukee on Saturday when they get the Chicago Wolves at 6:00 PM CST.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were actually a number of roster moves. The Nashville Predators recalled defenseman Adam Pardy as well as forward Miikka Salomäki. For Salomäki the recall ends his conditioning assignment but he left last night’s game at the midway point due to a lower-body injury and never returned. As a result of those moves the Admirals signed forward Derek Army and defenseman Blake Kessel to PTO Contracts this morning. Army plays for the Wheeling Nailers (ECHL) and Kessel, related to both Phil and Amanda, was recently traded to the Kalamazoo Wings from the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL). Kessel is the current top scoring defenseman in the ECHL. He has yet to report to Kalamazoo and has since been suspended by the team for doing so. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were White-Smith-Bass, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Kirkland-Army, Richard-Girard-Görtz, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Dougherty, Diaby-Kessel. Mike Liambas made his NHL debut today in the Nashville Predators 5-4 overtime loss at home against the New Jersey Devils. Liambas became the 607th former ECHL product to reach the NHL.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How impressed were you by the Milwaukee Admirals response on the ice tonight given just how depleted the team actually is right now?
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