The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-3 against the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday morning.
In the third “School Day” game in Admirals’ history the team saw a third period rally come up short. The Admirals trailed by a four-goal margin but managed to get it to a one-goal game with over eight minutes remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, the deficit that came from a poor second period was too much to overcome and the Admirals –for the first time– lose in their AM game.
“A lot of times, when we get down like that, we don’t give teams anything until we give teams everything,” stated Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “That’s what we did tonight.”
The game’s opening goal wouldn’t come until the start of the second period. A hard rush to the net by Joe Devin saw a puck fall off his stick but stay in stride for Akim Aliu to put a wrister past the blocker of Jonas Gunnarsson from the low slot for his second goal of the season.
The Monsters would extend their lead to 2-0 later in the second period off of a Brett Gallant rebound. John Ramage threw a puck towards the net from the high right wing circle that was knocked down in front of Gunnarsson. The first man to react to and find the loose puck was Gallant who quickly zipped a shot up into the net for his third goal of the season.
It wouldn’t get much better for the Admirals as their second period woes continued. The Monsters would pass into a two-on-one chance from the face-off circles. Alex Petan passed off from the left wing to the backdoor of Gunnarsson where Miles Koules smacked in a one-timer for his first career AHL goal to make it 3-0 Monsters.
To start the third period the Monsters surge continued. Sonny Milano delivered a low shot that Gunnarsson kicked out towards the right wing. Ramage was able to step up from the blueline and hit the rebound like a setup pass for a slap shot that ripped into the net for a 4-0 Monsters lead from Ramage’s fourth goal of the season.
“It’s not on our goalie,” said Evason. “[Gunnarsson] was real good. Two off the bar. One is an empty net. We can’t give those up.”
The Admirals would finally get on the board in the third period from their power-play group that had several sustained attacks throughout the contest. Alex Carrier passed low for Trevor Smith who quick upped the puck back into the right wing circle for Frédérick Gaudreau to step into a one-timer and score his eighteenth goal of the season.
After a Jordan Maletta slashing minor the Admirals scored their second successive power-play goal. It was a tic-tac-toe passing play from Gaudreau to Smith and off to the left wing circle where Pontus Åberg launched a one-timer past Anton Forsberg to record his nineteenth goal of the season.
In typical Cardiac Kids fashion the Admirals weren’t going to go away quietly and Petter Granberg’s first career goal with the Admirals made it a one-goal game. Gaudreau had worked himself into a near breakaway rushing down the left wing. As he came barreling down on Forsberg he lost the handle of the puck but Mike Ribeiro gathered it up, swung around the net, and found Granberg atop the right wing circle for a one-timed bomb. Following Granberg’s goal the Monsters used their timeout.
“It just takes one bounce, one goal, or one hit to get us going,” said Admirals captain Trevor Smith. “Last week when [Liambas] and [Florek] had a couple of big hits and they got us going. Something sparked the team and we started to turn it on. It’s nice to know you’re never out of a game.”
It then came time for a dust up. Mike Liambas matched up with Gallant and the two had a quick frenzy before the Monsters’ scrapper went for a takedown. That probably should lean more to Gallant in the fight cards for the finish.
Gunnarsson would come off for the extra attacker with fifty-eight seconds remaining in regulation. The Admirals struggled to setup shop to record the game-tying goal and, before time expired, Sonny Milano was able to score on the empty net for his thirteenth goal of the season to put the game at its 5-3 final.
“You can’t say enough about our resiliency and we just ran out of time,” said Evason. “We really did run out of time. We still had some great looks to get that fourth one. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get set on our six-on-five but we did a lot of good things all night. We just ran out of time. But our will and our want was there.”
The Admirals will finish off their four-game homestand this weekend with big crowds and promotions in the cards. The Rockford IceHogs will arrive Friday night at 7:00 PM CST which will be followed by a post-game concert by Cheap Trick. Saturday night at 6:00 PM CST the Admirals will be hosting the Chicago Wolves as well as their annual Teddy Bear Toss night which will also see the first 5,000 fans receive a Juuse Saros bobblehead. The giveaway on Saturday night is limited to one bobblehead per person not per ticket.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played there was a lone roster move of note. Rick Pinkston was once again added on loan from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL. This morning’s line combinations were: Salomäki-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, White-Smith-Åberg, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Richard-Florek-Liambas, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Today’s scratches included: Derek Army (healthy), Adam Pardy (compound fracture to left arm), and Rick Pinkston (healthy), Pardy, who missed his twentieth successive game today, has returned to skating but a time table on his return to game action isn’t known yet. Today’s attendance was 6,766.
What was your reaction to this morning’s game? Where did the second period sour? Because the Admirals start and finish were strong. Would it be safe to tip your cap to Anton Forsberg today and just move on for Friday’s game?
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