Admirals Go Flat Against Chicago; Lose 5-2

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)
When is Jonas Gunnarsson ever going to catch a break? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Chicago Wolves Saturday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

It seemed as though the first period was signaling in a track meet tonight. After the first twenty minutes came and went this game devolved into a slop fest for the Admirals and Wolves. The Amtrak Rivals made the better of their chances and blitzed through the Admirals in the third period. This was the first time since the opening month of the season that the Admirals have lost consecutive regulation games.

After a sluggish and sloppy performance last night in Grand Rapids the Admirals wanted to have a fast start tonight. It is exactly what they received. Inside of five minutes the Admirals were up 1-0 thanks to the third goal of the season from Justin Florek. Justin Kirkland passed off from the left wing circle to Jimmy Oligny on the blueline for a low shot that Florek deflected up and over the shoulder of Pheonix Copley. That assist for Kirkland was the first of his pro career.

Midway through the first period the Wolves would tie things back up with Chris Butler’s second goal of the season. The veteran defenseman snuck up from his typical blueline spot on the left point to nestle into a gap in space where the white hot Kenny Agostino managed to get a pass to him from behind the net. Butler smoked a one-timer into the top shelf before Jonas Gunnarsson really knew what had just happened.

Speaking of which, the Admirals regained their lead before the Wolves really knew what had just happened. Just 1:27 of ice-time after Butler had scored and a d-to-d pass in the Admirals defensive zone between Trevor Murphy and Blake Kessel saw the Wisconsin native Kessel deliver a dart of a pass through neutral ice to the tape of Trevor Smith for a breakaway. The Admirals captain was able to lock in on Copley and narrowly work a backhander over Copley’s left pad for his sixth goal of the season.

With under two minutes remaining in the opening period the Wolves drew back with a power-play goal from Ivan Barbashev. The Wolves won a face-off and were able to get a puck to their young Russian forward who worked a wicked backhander that snapped past Gunnarsson to his glove-side for his seventh goal of the season.

That first period saw the Admirals get a season high twenty shots on goal against the Wolves. They followed that up in the second period by matching a season low with only three shots on goal. That came courtesy of numerous penalty killing situations for the Admirals in the second period. Gunnarsson and the PK unit did hold the fort, though, as the Admirals stopped all five penalty kills they endured in that frame.

The Wolves would claim their first lead of the game five minutes into the third period. A rush down the left wing by defenseman Vince Dunn ended with a booming slap shot that went against the grain of Gunnarsson and snuck past him high glove-side to give the Wolves a 3-2 edge.

He wasn’t Dunn there, either. On the power-play midway through the third period Dunn smacked a low slap shot that buzzed through lots of net-front traffic to beat Gunnarsson low off the post to the glove-side for his second goal of the night and third of the season and extend the Wolves lead to 4-2.

Agostino already extended his hot streak of late with an assist earlier in the game. He added a breakaway goal in the third period that saw him out-race Smith when entering the offensive zone and then beat Gunnarsson with a backhander through the legs to notch his ninth goal of the season and make it a 5-2 Wolves lead.

The game would end there. The Admirals went flat after a second period of penalty calls and kills. The offense never seemed to pick back up and Gunnarsson, despite a good effort in net, was left to deal with the pressure. It’s yet another hard luck loss for the Swede who now has a 1-2-1-0 record this season.

The Admirals return to game-action on Monday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. It will be the first trip into Milwaukee this season for the San Antonio Rampage who the Admirals started the season off with by defeating them twice by 2-1 scorelines on the road.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: White- Smith-Åberg, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Payerl, Liambas-Girard-Bass, Florek-Kirkland-Görtz, Oligny-Dougherty, Murphy-Kessel, Diaby-Carrier. Tonight’s lone scratch was Anthony Richard who was healthy.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? What happened to the Milwaukee Admirals after the first period? Are these last few games starting to point to a weakness in the Admirals defense with it stretched as far as it is right now? Can Jonas Gunnarsson ever catch a break?

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8 thoughts on “Admirals Go Flat Against Chicago; Lose 5-2”

  1. The Admirals looked terrible tonight, losing 5-2 to Chicago, a team that they beat in all three previous games.

    Jonas Gunnarson was in goal. He played well. If he didn’t, Chicago would have scored 10 goals! He stopped a 2-0 and a few breakaways. There were just too many penalties taken by the Admirals. They seemed shorthanded the entire second period. That caught up to them in the third period.

    In the first period, Milwaukee passed too much. They would make 5, 6 or 7 passes in the offensive zone without taking a shot, then lose the puck on a bad pass. In the defensive zone, they would get the puck away from Chicago and give it back 3, 5 or 10 seconds later. Half of Chicago’s possession time came from such mistakes.

    Kamenev’s bad blind pass led to the first Chicago goal. He and Murphy were both really bad tonight. They both looked better in the third period. The Admirals seemed to be playing angry. Girard tied to check a guy in the corner and missed him. He did blow open the corner door. Chicago scored seconds later at the other end. It was that kind of night. A miss by inches and the puck ends up the Ads goal. Ouch!!!

    The biggest problem with the defense was getting the puck out of the D-zone. Next was covering cutters through the slot area. They were very bad at both jobs. Dougherty, Diaby and Oligny were the best D-men. Kessel and Murphy were awful. Carrier was in between.

  2. I’m still banging my head on the glass over Trevor Murphy’s delay of game call… He hung on to the puck behind the net for 20 seconds and then sails it over the glass….? That may have been my biggest “what the hell was that?” moment in the last 5 years.

  3. We looked like the 7-7 team out there for 2 periods. The parade to the Penalty Box needs to stop, I thought they got over that. The second period sealed our fate. Too tired and gassed in the third to attempt to win. I feel we need Pardy back, he seemed to be the calming force for our defense and took some pressure off guys. But I’m sure we won’t because of Nashville. With Freddy getting his robust 3 to5 mins in NSH we need Felix to be better in the dot, great chance at the end of the first with 5secs left he lost the draw and we didn’t get a chance to shoot let alone possess the puck. I know our role as a AHL team yada yada yada but not having any association as a fan to them I just want their starters to get healthy so we can get our guys back. It really bites for us if Pardy is gone for the year to NSH, we essentially traded Big Dog Eric Robinson and two other assets for 16 games of Pardy at most. Kinda disgusting.

  4. I have to agree with Mark Summer. That was the WORST play in Admirals AHL history. Guys have to move and get open in the D-zone. I saw a lot of standing around, so Murphy had some help on the boneheaded play of the 2000s.

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