The Milwaukee Admirals won 4-3 in overtime against the Rockford IceHogs at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
Despite a Frédérick Gaudreau hat trick the Admirals found themselves allowing a late equalizer that forced overtime tonight. The Admirals didn’t even need a line change as a hard shot by Pontus Åberg fell flat for Alex Carrier to score his second overtime game-winner of the season.
It would take the Admirals only fifty-nine seconds to get out in front tonight. Mac Carruth made a terrible judgement call to sprawl out of his net for a loose puck. He didn’t make the cover and Justin Florek quickly passed to Vladislav Kamenev who dinked towards Frédérick Gaudreau at the doorstep where no goaltender was to be found.
The IceHogs would equalize midway through the first period under controversial circumstances. It appeared that Trevor Murphy had won a footrace down the right wing that should have seen hybrid icing called. The officials instead let play continue and, in a matter of seconds, Nolan Valleau scored his second goal of the season from a slap shot off the right wing circle.
Post-whistle drama would occur only eight seconds after the controversial Valleau goal. Viktor Svedberg not only tied up Derek Army but started throwing fists at the turtling opponent. Svedberg was given four minutes for roughing and a misconduct while Army was handed two minutes for roughing. Things didn’t seem to sit well with the IceHogs bench, for some reason, and that escalated their problems further as they earned a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Admirals were give a full two minutes to operate on the five-on-three power-play. Their setup was short and sweet. Murphy cranked a slap shot to the net and Carruth did all he could to trap it – Murphy’s shots just have too much on it. The resulting battle for the rebound saw Florek and Gaudreau fighting for the second and third chance opportunity and Gaudreau would cash in with the power-play goal and his second tally of the first period to push his season total to eight.
After more bad blood banter on the ice it seemed that IceHogs head coach Ted Dent had seen enough for one night. He was assessed a game misconduct following the completion of the first period.
In the second period the IceHogs drew a full five-on-three power-play of their own following a lengthy shift in attack. It would serve to equalize for them as Brandon Mashinter worked off the left wing circle and passed through the three man triangle of the Admirals to the low right wing for a one-timer by Spencer Abbott. The backdoor shot would have needed a miracle to be stopped. Abbott picked up his tenth goal of the season to make it a 2-2 game.
As the horn sounded to end the second period there was some carry over from the face-off that saw Justin Kirkland take a swipe at Michael Latta. With bodies gathering together Murphy found himself a dance partner in the fight department in fellow defenseman Ville Pokka. It was a decisive victory for Murphy in the scrap as he landed some seriously hard rights to the face of Pokka. I’d call that a 10-8 in the fight card.
It felt that for all the penalties and all the stoppages that the flow of tonight’s game was working against the Admirals. As the third period was spiraling down it seemed that the Admirals weren’t generating much attacking pressure on Carruth in goal.
Yet, hockey can be a silly sport at times and all it can take sometimes is to just get the puck towards the net. Gaudreau was gliding down the right wing when he attempted to pass opposite wing for Kamenev when the puck bounced off of Carl Dahlström’s leg and past Carruth to give Gaudreau his second career AHL hat trick – both of which have come against the IceHogs in Milwaukee during the month of February. It pushed Gaudreau’s season goal tally from six to nine.
With time expiring the IceHogs brought Carruth to the bench for the extra attacker with 1:28 remaining in regulation. They managed to get a breakthrough with 56.8 seconds remaining as a shot from the right point by Michael Latta caught a piece of traffic on the way to Mazanec and allowed Abbott to score from a second chance opportunity and earn his second goal of the night and eleventh of the season.
The game needed overtime and thankfully the Admirals had the ice tilted directly from the face-off. The puck was pinned deep and when Pontus Åberg ripped a shot from the right wing the rebound off the pads of Carruth and fell kindly for Alex Carrier to deliver his second game-winning overtime goal of the season.
To put it bluntly, much like the length of this game recap, this game was long. There were a combined ninety-two penalty minutes tonight with four game misconducts called. This was the first of eight games against the IceHogs for the rest of the season. It sort of sets a tone of what to expect from here on out.
Next on tap for the Admirals is an overnight bus trip to Grand Rapids where the group looks to earn their first win in the Van Andel Arena since 1/31/15. Including last year’s playoff series the Admirals have lost their last ten straight on the road against the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals went on the AHL All-Star break there were a few moves made in the organization. The Admirals released Shawn O’Donnell from his PTO Contract. Petter Granberg was activated from injured reserve by the Nashville Predators and assigned to the Admirals. Jonathan Diaby was then reassigned to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL where he quickly rejoined with O’Donnell. The Predators this afternoon then placed Mike Ribeiro on waivers. Tonight’s line combinations: Fiala-Smith-Åberg, Florek-Kamenev-Gaudreau, Richard-Kirkland-White, Liambas-Army-Payerl, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Scratches included Adam Pardy (upper-body) and Rick Pinkston (healthy).
What were your thoughts on tonight? Has there ever been a truly boring game between the Admirals and IceHogs? Does playing such a sloppy game ahead of a showdown against the Grand Rapids Griffins set a bad tone for tomorrow night?
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