The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Chicago Wolves Monday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
This is the second time this season that the Admirals have had a three game losing streak but the first to feature three consecutive regulation losses. Marek Mazanec played a terrific game in net. The Admirals just had a few too many miscues that came back to bite them tonight.
“We were awful,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “It is the worst we’ve played all year. We talked to the group and we hope to heck this is rock bottom for us. We have this adversity. We have to find a way.”
It took the Wolves just over two minutes into the contest before netting the opener tonight. The Admirals botched a breakout from behind their net and once a puck kicked off the stick of Harry Zolnierczyk it fell to Brett Sterling for a quick shot that would beat Marek Mazanec for his fifth goal of the season.
The Admirals would level things up before the midway point of the second period. After some stellar pad saves from Mazanec the Admirals caught the Wolves on a bad change and had a three-on-one rush. Trevor Smith was the puck carrier entering the zone down the left wing and he decided to shoot rather than pass off. The shot ripped past Pheonix Copley for the Admirals captain’s tenth goal of the season. Smith is the first on the team to the double-digit goal plateau.
The 1-1 deadlock wouldn’t survive the second period. Following a minor penalty against Matt White for holding the Wolves made it a 2-1 game on the power-play with 2:44 remaining in the frame. Sterling circled atop the right point and back down the wall before snapping a shot low that deflected off of Samuel Blais’ stick. The quick change of direction saw the puck get past Mazanec for Blais’ fifth goal of the season and his first scored on the power-play.
Right before hitting the ten minute mark of the third period the Wolves extended their lead to 3-1. Jonathan Diaby turned the puck over on a clear attempt with Blais hovering the blueline like a hawk to get an intercept. The 20-year old forward would step in down the slot a bit more before unleashing a wrister that ringed around the posts before dropping in for his second goal of the night and sixth tally on the season.
“We work for every goal so hard and then we shoot ourselves in the foot with our dumb decisions in the d-zone,” said Milwaukee Admirals goaltender Marek Mazanec. “We gave up so many scoring chances. We’re making it too easy for a team to play against.”
Blais would get called for a hooking minor with 3:18 remaining. At that time the Admirals used their timeout and had Mazanec stay on the bench to bring on the extra attacker. It wouldn’t result in the desired result. The Wolves were able to see a long range clearance by Wade Megan go the distance for a shorthanded empty net tally that made it a 4-1 Wolves lead. The goal was his fourteenth scored this season.
The empty net saga would continue as the Admirals power-play was still on. With 1:47 remaining Vladislav Kamenev would dink a loose puck around the net forward and it would roll underneath Copley for his eighth goal of the season to get it back to a two-goal deficit. After getting the puck cleared from danger the Admirals would keep going with the empty net with 1:20 remaining in regulation only to see Ivan Barbashyov score fifty seconds later to close this game out at 5-2 for the Wolves on their Russian’s eleventh goal of the season.
This will be another game that will look bad on paper for Mazanec. And that is a shame. He was incredible in net for the Admirals tonight. He came up big time and time again. He only allowed three goals and, when looking back on them, he’s left on the short end of the stick with two in-zone turnovers right in front of him and a net front redirect on a Wolves power-play. He made twenty-two saves in net tonight. Mistakes in front of him proved fatal.
The Admirals will be back in action at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night when they face-off against the Iowa Wild. That game starts at 7:00 PM CST.
“Tomorrow we’ll come to work,” said Evason looking ahead. “And put some kind of positive spin on getting out of this.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Thursday night there were some headlines that took place. Following the completion of his conditioning assignment Reid Boucher returned to the Nashville Predators. Boucher scored four goals and an assist in the five games he played with the Admirals during his conditioning stint. Cody Bass was suspended by the AHL for one-game due to his boarding major on 12/21/16 on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Bass served his one-game suspension tonight. With two forwards out of the lineup the Admirals reinserted Max Görtz after being a healthy scratch for the last five games. The Admirals also recalled Justin Kirkland from the Cincinnati Cyclones (ECHL). Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Florek-Smith-Åberg, Gaudreau-Kirkland-White, Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Payerl, Liambas-Girard-Görtz, Murphy-Dougherty, Oligny-Kessel, Diaby-Carrier. There were no scratches tonight as the Admirals roster was stretched to capacity. This game marked the start of the AHL’s uniform policy that sees all home teams start to wear darker more traditionally road uniforms at home and road teams switching to their white more traditionally home set.
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? Where did this game go wrong tonight? What positives can you take out of this game? What needs to be corrected by Wednesday night?
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