Admirals Offense Explodes in Texas; Win 9-1

(Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski // Texas Stars)
Reid Boucher seems to score wherever he plays. That has been the case during his conditioning assignment from the Nashville Predators with the Milwaukee Admirals. (Photo Credit: Andy Nietupski // Texas Stars)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 9-1 on the road against the Texas Stars Saturday night at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.

Last night was a track meet. Tonight was one as well but nobody seemed to inform the Stars about it. The Admirals offense absolutely exploded tonight. It is the first time since the 2013-14 season that the team has produced nine goals in a game. That last occasion came on 2/28/14 at home against the Iowa Wild which also ended in a 9-1 win. Pekka Rinne was the goaltender of record for the Admirals that night when he was making his comeback that season.

The Admirals played twenty-four games prior to tonight’s contest and scored four or more goals in six games. Tonight they dropped a four spot on the Stars in the opening fifteen minutes of the game.

Mike Liambas put the Admirals out in front inside of four minutes tonight. It was slightly controversial from the Stars perspective as there was a loose puck around Maxime Lagacé. The officials never blew a whistle and the Admirals kept at the puck with Liambas getting the vital touch to record his second goal of the season.

The Admirals then blasted two power-play goals from their first two power-play chances. Frédérick Gaudreau left a drop pass fall back to the left wing face-off circle for Trevor Murphy to step right through and hammer a slap shot to score his fifth goal of the season. That was followed by a Gaudreau face-off win that trickled back to Reid Boucher to picked up the puck, dragged it a bit, and unleashed a shot past Lagacé for his second goal of the season.

It was right there that the Stars decided to pull Lagacé from net. He only faced eight shots in the game and allowed three goals in just shy of ten minutes of work. Landon Bow, who left the middle of last night’s third period due to illness, entered in his place.

Harry Zolnierczyk took a hard ride into the end boards of the Admirals attacking zone and stayed on a knee for a slight bit. The Stars left him alone as the Admirals continued to press on. That defensive lapse allowed Zolnierczyk to dust himself off and station himself along the glove-side of Bow. Vladislav Kamenev put a shot-pass to him and Zolnierczyk deflected it in for his fourth goal of the season to give the Admirals a 4-0 lead just 14:52 into the contest.

The second period push from the Admirals continued and they wound up with two further goals to extend their lead to 6-0. A neutral zone turnover allowed the Admirals to break in with pace and Boucher netted his second of the night and third goal of the season. That was followed with a blast from the center of the blueline by Alex Carrier whose shot caught a deflection from Cody Bass in front of Bow for his second goal of the season.

It took a bit of puck luck for the Stars to finally get on the board. With 44.1 seconds remaining in the second period Jason Dickinson’s turn-around shot from the right wing hit Travis Morin in front of the net. The Stars captain was able to react quick enough to get the rebound off of himself to beat Marek Mazanec for his tenth goal of the season to make it a 6-1 game.

The third period saw the Stars night of horrors continue. The Admirals would score three more times to slam the door on this game. Justin Florek threw an innocent looking shot on net that rolled up the goaltending paddle of Bow and in for his fourth goal of the season. Florek then followed up with a primary assist from the left wing to catch Admirals captain Trevor Smith breaking down the slot for a five-hole finish and Smith’s eighth goal of the season.

The last goal of the night came following a scrap in which Bryce Van Brabant ran over Jimmy Oligny from behind. He was called for boarding but wanted even more and paired up with Bass for a fight he’d probably regret to have gotten involved in. That was a decisive win for Bass in the fight department. Moments after that Zolnierczyk zipped in his second goal of the night to make it an astonishing 9-1 Admirals lead from Zolnierczyk’s fifth goal of the season.

Some final drama did take place. Dustin Stevenson dropped his gloves and was grappling Liambas behind the Stars net. Liambas did not want to fight given the scoreline but eventually played along and continued the Admirals dominance with a tilt that ended in a judo hip-throw. The Stars were battered, beaten, and decimated tonight across the board.

For all that took place you nearly lose sight that Mazanec had yet another solid performance in net for the Admirals. He only allowed the one goal against but stopped thirty shots on goal for his second win in as many days against the Stars.

The Admirals record goes up to 17-5-2-1 (37 points, 0.740 points percentage). They remain the best team in the Central Division and Western Conference. The Admirals swept all four games on the road in the state of Texas this season defeating the Stars and San Antonio Rampage by a combined score of 17-6 in four games.

Next up for the Admirals will be a brief return home following this trip in Texas. They will travel to Grand Rapids on Tuesday and get the Grand Rapids Griffins on Wednesday night. They will play the Chicago Wolves on Thursday night before heading off on the Christmas break.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admiralsplayed last night there were no roster moves made in the organization. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Florek-Smith-Åberg, Boucher-Gaudreau-White, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Bass, Liambas-Girard-Payerl, Pardy-Carrier, Murphy-Dougherty, Diaby-Oligny. Tonight’s scratches were: Max Görtz and Blake Kessel.

Thoughts on tonight’s game? Was this the Milwaukee Admirals offense playing up to potential or was this a Texas Stars defense playing up to its negative reputation? How do you feel Marek Mazanec looked this weekend?

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