The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 against the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Tuesday night.
Things never looked right for the Admirals from the moment this game dropped its first puck. The passing was sloppy. The defending was sloppy. And the scoring chances were minimal and all lacked any sort of quality. After a nice result on the road in Grand Rapids it feels like the Admirals are right back to the drawing board.
“We did the exact same thing against this group last time. We gave them four goals,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game.
John Ramage took a seat for a holding minor to give the Admirals the game’s first power-play. A poor decision by Trevor Murphy to feed back to a guarded Alex Carrier resulted in a shorthanded breakaway for Sonny Milano that ended with a backhander stick-side of Marek Mazanec. It was Milano’s tenth goal of the season and snapped a goalless drought of 146:15 for the Monsters who had been shutout in their previous two games.
“As soon as that goal goes in, and usually our group is pretty resilient, it looked like a real let down,” said Evason. “Hard obviously to get down like that and not be able to battle back.
The Monsters would make good on the opposite side of special teams when given their first crack on the power-play. A slick series of passes ended with Daniel Zaar threading a pass between the skates of Andrew O’Brien to a wide open Oliver Bjorkstrand for a tap-in on the backdoor to Mazanec’s glove-side. The goal for Bjorkstrand was his thirteenth of the season.
It took the Monsters just 1:09 of ice time to give themselves a 3-0 first period lead. Joe Pendenza worked off the right wing wall to get a puck loose off of Alex Carrier and proceeded to rush in on goal. The former Admiral was able to push a puck towards his opposite wing where Milano was racing down the low left wing and hit his shot first-time. Mazanec wasn’t able to cover post-to-post and Milano had his second tally of the opening period and eleventh goal scored on the season.
The second period would see the Monsters extend their lead even further. Another blown defensive coverage by the Admirals ended with the Monsters getting a three-on-one low in front of Mazanec. Markus Hännikäinen passed off to Bjorkstrand who waited, waited, and waited some more before finally shooting along the ice to score under the pads of Mazanec for his second of the night and fourteenth of the season.
Justin Kirkland really isn’t much of a fighter but that didn’t seem to stop Jaime Sifers from tracking him down back to the Admirals bench and starting a scrap. The two had a brief chat in the Admirals attacking zone but Kirkland looked to be nearing the boards for a change when Sifers grappled him. The two had a brief flurry but the tilt went right to the ground before anything heavy actually landed.
In the closing stages of the second period the Admirals finally found a breakthrough on the power-play. Matt White snapped a pass from the left wing wall to the net front presence of Justin Florek who quickly put a shot on goal. Anton Forsberg handled the initial shot but the puck flicked up on him and allowed Derek Army to sneak in and push the puck over the line for his fifth goal of the season.
Another fight broke out in the closing minutes of the third period. Vladislav Kamenev took his frustrations out on John Ramage as a puck battle along the left wing wall escalated into Kamenev roughing up the Monsters defenseman. That was a clear win for the angry Russian in the fight department. That’s a 10-9 round for Kamenev.
The bad blood continued as Kevin Fiala’s reputation against the Monsters revved up to a new level. He was called for a spearing major and a game misconduct. A pile up took place around Fiala but thankfully tempers cooled and no line brawl broke out – it very easily could have gotten out of hand.
The game would end at the 4-1 scoreline as the Admirals held the Monsters off on the resulting major against Fiala that saw out regulation. The Admirals have two more home games in front of them following tonight. They play against the Rockford IceHogs on Friday night at 7:00 PM CST and then see the Chicago Wolves on Saturday night at 6:00 PM CST.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Saturday night there were a handful of roster moves made in the organization. Mike Ribeiro cleared waivers and was assigned by the Nashville Predators to the Admirals. He first reported on Monday and participated in morning practice. The Predators then swapped out Marek Mazanec and Juuse Saros again following the young Finn’s start in Grand Rapids on Saturday night. This morning the Predators recalled Pontus Åberg from the Admirals and placed Harry Zolnierczyk on injured reserve. In awards news, Frédérick Gaudreau was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week yesterday. Tonight’s line combinations were: Kirkland-Smith-Fiala, Florek-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Richard-Kamenev-White, Pinkston-Army-Payerl, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included: Mike Liambas (upper-body) and Adam Pardy (upper-body).
What was your reaction to tonight’s game? How did the Milwaukee Admirals manage to look so out of sorts tonight? Do the Cleveland Monsters simply have the Admirals number? Is another punishment level practice in order for tomorrow?
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