The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-1 on the road against the San Jose Barracuda Friday night at the SAP Center.
Marek Mazanec has never looked more locked in than his last few games for the Admirals. Tonight may have been his finest. He made thirty-nine saves en route to the Admirals win in San Jose tonight. The Admirals are now back in front of the Central Division standings.
The Admirals would get on the board five minutes into the game tonight. After a face-off win, Alex Carrier stepped up from the blueline and swooped down the right wing wall before snapping a low shot on target. The Carrier shot hit off the pad of Troy Grosenick and into the net front crashing Derek Army for a rebound tally and his first with the Admirals this season.
Army had been signed to a PTO Contract from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL prior to tonight’s game with all today’s roster activity. By scoring his first AHL goal of the season tonight he extended a personal goal scoring streak to five consecutive games between the Nailers and Admirals.
After being outshot 17-5 in the first period it appeared that the Barracuda shot back to life in the second period. When they were given their first chance on the power-play they quickly scored to tie things up at 1-1. A shot by Tim Heed from the high left wing stayed low and caught traffic in the form of Danny O’Regan. The puck trickled underneath Marek Mazanec and went in for O’Regan’s eleventh goal of the season.
With forty-eight seconds left in the second period the Admirals would snatch their lead right back. Max Görtz was able to fight a shot off from the slot that Grosenick pushed off but right into the path of Justin Kirkland who scored his third goal of the season to make it a 2-1 Admirals lead. The primary assist for Görtz was his first point scored since 11/25/15 on the road against the Rockford IceHogs. It snapped a scoreless drought of nine-games for the Swede.
Army already had himself a nice story by netting a goal to get this game started tonight. He made it even better when he scored a beauty in the third period to extend the Admirals lead to 3-1. Army was flying down the left wing when he did a little head fake towards the left and shot a forehander against the grain of Grosenick that beat him to the glove-side for his second goal of the night.
The game’s scoreline would rest there but not before countless attacks by the Barracuda that would all be answered by Mazanec in net. This was one of his most outstanding efforts as an Admiral as he stopped 39/40 shots on goal with the lone goal allowed coming on a power-play that caught traffic in front of him. The Czech hasn’t looked this sharp in a long time. He has been locked in since returning from the Nashville Predators.
Next up for the Admirals are the Stockton Heat tomorrow night at 9:30 PM CST. They will look to end this California roadie up in style after a really nice character effort tonight in San Jose.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Tuesday there were a good few roster moves made. Anthony Bitetto was recalled from his conditioning assignment by the Nashville Predators. Today the Predators then recalled Vladislav Kamenev who made a cross-country plane trip to make his NHL debut tonight against the Florida Panthers. The Admirals signed Derek Army on PTO Contract for the second time this season from the Wheeling Nailers. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: White-Smith-Åberg, Florek-Kirkland-Görtz, Liambas-Girard-Payerl, (rotating)-Army-O’Donnell, Pardy-Carrier, Pinkston-Murphy, Oligny-Dougherty, Diaby. The scratches tonight for the Admirals were Cody Bass (lower-body injury) and Frédérick Gaudreau (healthy) who was on standby should the Predators need to recall him in the very near future. The Admirals record improved to 20-8-2-2 (44 points, 0.688 points percentage) which has them ahead of the Grand Rapids Griffins by 0.006 of a point percentage for the lead of the Central Division. Marek Mazanec’s 39-save performance tonight was the third time in his Admirals career that he made 39-saves or more. Mazanec’s career high with the Admirals saw him stop 40/45 shots on goal on 2/7/15 in a 7-5 win on the road over the Rockford IceHogs.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? How impressive is it for the Milwaukee Admirals to bring in players such as Rick Pinkston, Shawn O’Donnell, and Derek Army and earn a result such as tonight? Is Marek Mazanec going to play his way back into the picture in Nashville?
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