The Milwaukee Admirals lost 2-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves Wednesday night at the Allstate Arena.
This game may have hurt even more than last night’s effort. The Admirals defense was well up to the challenge of stopping a high octane offense the likes of which the Wolves have. The offense just didn’t have a lethal strike in them until it was way too late.
The night got off in the right direction for the Admirals. They had opened up the first few minutes of the contest by outshooting the Wolves 7-1. Then came a tripping call against Jimmy Oligny. Then came a power-play goal for the Wolves after a bomb of a slap shot from Vince Dunn off the left point beat Marek Mazanec to his stick-side for his seventh tally of the season.
In the second period the Admirals managed to shut down the Wolves offense. The Wolves were limited to just two shots on goal for the entire period which set a season best for the Admirals in limiting shots on goal for the course of a period.
Unfortunately, the Admirals found themselves unrewarded in that second period despite being up 9-2 in shots that period and having three power-play chances.
The Wolves would add another goal in the third period to make it a 2-0 advantage. Magnus Pääjärvi pushed a puck over to the path of Morgan Ellis as he bolted down the right wing. The shot from Ellis was taken just above the right wing face-off circle and it flew past Mazanec high-glove for the defenseman’s third goal of the season.
That shot for the Wolves was just one of five total shots on goal in the third period – three of which came in rapid succession in the opening minutes of the frame. The Admirals rallied hard and put up sixteen shots on goal in the third period and finally saw a jam play by Justin Florek get past Pheonix Copley while the net was emptied and the extra attacker was on to deny the shutout and make it a 2-1 game from Florek’s sixth goal of the season.
Yet, it was way too little and far too late. The Admirals scored their first goal of the night with thirty-five seconds remaining in regulation. Their final chance that came with an extra attacker ended with a puck cleared the length of the ice with icing waved off. And the Admirals found themselves bitten by an absence of offensive production tonight.
Mazanec takes the loss in net tonight after making fourteen saves from sixteen shots on goal. Copley was nearly heading for his first shutout over the Admirals but ends up allowing a single tally out of thirty-six shots on goal.
At the end of November the Admirals had a record of 12-2-2-1. From the start of December to now they are 8-9-0-1. They have scored just two goals from their last 189:43 of ice time.
Next on tap for the Admirals are the Central Division leading Grand Rapids Griffins. That game takes place Friday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. That will be the last home game before a four-game road trip begins starting next week with the Charlotte Checkers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Nashville Predators reassigned forward Frédérick Gaudreau to the Milwaukee Admirals. The Predators also acquired forward Derek Grant on waivers from the Buffalo Sabres. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: White-Kamenev-Payerl, Kirkland-Smith-Gaudreau, Florek-Army-Görtz, Liambas-Girard-O’Donnell, Pardy-Carrier, Oligny-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (lower-body injury), Jonathan Diaby (healthy), Garrett Meurs (healthy), and Rick Pinkston (healthy).
Where did the swagger and confidence of the Milwaukee Admirals go? Have all the fluctuations in the lineup stunted defensive and offensive productivity? How do the Admirals right the ship with the Grand Rapids Griffins coming in on Friday or is that just the sort of high level challenge that the team needs to rise to the occasion?
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