Wolves Big Dogs Bite Back; Ads Lose 5-1

(Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)
The Chicago Wolves big guns, Wade Megan included, were out in force as they took down the Admirals 5-1 at the Allstate Arena Sunday afternoon. (Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-1 against the Chicago Wolves on the road Sunday afternoon at the Allstate Arena.

With the win today the Wolves have secured the 2016-17 Amtrak Trophy over the Admirals. The Wolves clinched with two-games still to be played in Milwaukee this season. The loss for the Admirals snapped a three-game winning streak and saw the opposite take place on the flip-side for the Wolves.

This afternoon’s game saw big performances for the Wolves top scorers. Kenny Agostino extended his AHL best scoring efforts with a three-point night while Wade Megan, Ivan Barbashyov, and Chris Butler all produced two points each.

Like the majority of last night’s game the opening period was very defensive-minded and saw limited scoring chances created. The lone highlights of the first period saw Pontus Åberg rattle a shot off a post on an Admirals’ power-play and then Justin Kirkland getting into his first pro fight where he rag-dolled Bryce Gervais.

In the opening minute of the second period the Wolves beat the Admirals with pace to get on the board first. Kenny Agostino was cheating behind the Admirals defense and Chris Butler’s pass hit him in stride. Agostino got around Trevor Murphy and then beat Marek Mazanec with a wrister over the glove for his seventeenth goal of the season.

Wade Megan followed that tally up with a highlight reel goal moments later. The former Cincinnati Cyclones product jumped through Jack Dougherty and Trevor Smith as he cut from left wing to the slot. Before Megan lost control he snapped a shot as he turned to the net and beat Mazanec past the blocker for his twentieth goal of the season.

The Admirals needed a spark offensively. That’s where Derek Army stepped in 1:16 of ice-time after Megan’s goal to make it a 2-1 game. Army had just skated into the attacking zone when he hammered a slap shot that appeared to surprise Jordan Binnington and beat him over the right shoulder bardown. The goal for Army was his fourth scored with the Admirals this season while in on a PTO Contract from the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL.

The third period is where things fell completely flat for the Admirals. The Wolves scored three unanswered goals and twice on the power-play to push this game to a 5-1 final.

Magnus Pääjärvi was on the doorstep to pop in a wrap-around feed by Megan to score his sixth goal of the season. The Wolves then added back-to-back power-play goals from successive Admirals slashing minors. Both power-play goals came courtesy of great net front deflections. The first of which was finished off by Samuel Blais for his eleventh goal of the season. The second of which saw a clear cut deflection from the low slot by Ivan Barbashyov for his nineteenth goal of the season to make it a 5-1 Wolves lead.

The rough final frame of regulation would end there. The loss for the Admirals doesn’t see them drop beneath the Wolves in the Central Division standings but it does end the four-game road trip on a down note. It had been a successful one for both Mazanec and the team prior to today’s game.

There is great news though which is the path ahead for the Admirals. The team will play ten of their next twelve games on home ice at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. That hefty slate starts on Tuesday night at 7:00 PM CST when the Cleveland Monsters mark their first appearance in Milwaukee this season.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there was joyously not a single roster move made in the organization. Today’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. Today’s scratches were: Jonathan Diaby (healthy), Shawn O’Donnell (healthy), and Adam Pardy (upper-body).

Thoughts on today’s game? Would it be fair to mark these two games against the Chicago Wolves as the Milwaukee Admirals offense stalling for a chess match more than interact in a track meet? How good will it be for the Admirals to finally get games at home for once?

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