A-Maz-ing; Admirals Shutout Wolves 1-0

(Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)
(Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 1-0 against the Chicago Wolves on the road Saturday night at the Allstate Arena.

There wasn’t much between the Amtrak Rivals tonight. The lone goal of the game came with under four-minutes to play in the first period and came off of a poor in-zone turnover. Wade Megan tried to get a puck up ice from his right wing wall but his pass was picked off by Pontus Åberg. The Swede swiftly passed over to Trevor Smith who managed to beat Ville Husso with a wrist shot for his eleventh goal of the season.

That was the lone goal of this game. That isn’t to say there weren’t chances. Marek Mazanec made a huge breakaway save to deny the AHL’s leading scorer Kenny Agostino on a five-hole attempt. As far as clear cut scoring chances go for the Wolves? That may have been their best opportunity.

The Admirals defensively were great in this game and the penalty kill shined. The Wolves had five chances tonight on the power-play and came away with nothing. In the Wolves final power-play chance, that came with 8:21 remaining in regulation, the Admirals held them to no shots on goal while getting four shots to Husso shorthanded.

The Wolves would go empty net and extra attacker with 1:19 remaining in regulation but they would come away with nothing. The Admirals held to a 1-0 win behind a thirty-save shutout for Mazanec. It was the first time this season that the Wolves had been shutout.

For Mazanec this was his tenth career AHL shutout. It moves him five shutouts behind Brian Finley for the Admirals all-time record for shutouts. This week Mazanec has made three starts, won three games, stopped 96/99 shots on goal for a 0.969 save percentage, and earned two shutouts.

With the win tonight Dean Evason surpassed Claude Noel to become the winningest head coach in the AHL history of the Admirals. Evason now sits at 184 career wins behind the bench.

After tonight the Admirals record has improved to 23-12-2-2 (50 points, 0.641 points percentage). The Amtrak Rivalry continues tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 PM CST in the final game of the season for the Admirals at the Allstate Arena.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday there were several notes from the organization. The Nashville Predators acquired Andrew O’Brien from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Max Görtz. The Predators then activated P.K. Subban from injured reserve and reassigned Alex Carrier to the Admirals. News also came that Cody Bass has been officially ruled out for the rest of the season due to a lower-body injury. Juuse Saros was removed from the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic and is in the process of finding a home in Nashville which likely sees that he remains up with the Predators for the remainder of the season. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Florek-Smith-Åberg, White-Kamenev-Fiala, Richard-Kirkland-Gaudreau, Liambas-Army-Payerl, O’Brien-Carrier, Oligny-Murphy, Pinkston-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Jonathan Diaby (healthy), Shawn O’Donnell (healthy), and Adam Pardy (upper-body injury).

What is your reaction to tonight’s game? How impressed are you right now with the efforts of Marek Mazanec? Are you starting to feel more comfortable with the idea of Mazanec being the go-to option for the Admirals for the rest of this season? What did you think of Andrew O’Brien’s Admiral debut?

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