The Milwaukee Admirals were shutout 4-0 by the Chicago Wolves at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday night.
For the Admirals their approach of late has been to play a “defense first” approach but tonight it was “defense only” against the league’s most prolific offense. They came up bust with the Wolves getting the edge as the Admirals offense was blanked in the process.
In an opening period that mainly saw Marek Mazanec put on a highlight reel performance the fans did get to pop for a Fight of the Year candidate between Adam Payerl and Jared Nightingale.
The veteran Wolves defenseman had taken liberties off the puck against Anthony Richard which drew the ire of Payerl. Punches were instantly raining down from Nightingale but the heavyweight tilt extended to see Payerl get his fair share of stiff punches that landed flush. This one was almost too close to call but I tip my scorecard to Payerl for knocking Nightingale’s bucket off his head in the finish.
In the second period, following a holding minor against Derek Army, the Wolves were able to net the opener from a power-play goal. Kenny Agostino hit a shot pass from the right wing to the backdoor of Mazanec where Andrew Agozzino had a step for a first-time shot that sailed in glove-side for his fifteenth goal of the season.
Agostino’s AHL best scoring and assisting prowess made itself known once more late in the third period. The winger snapped a pass from the right wing to the tape of defenseman Vince Dunn who joined the rush down the left wing and labeled a shot past the glove of Mazanec for his twelfth goal of the season to make it a 2-0 Wolves lead with 6:39 remaining in regulation.
With Jack Dougherty in the box for high sticking Ty Rattie it allowed for James Wisniewski to hammer a slap shot from the left wing circle to make it a 3-0 Wolves lead from his fourth goal of the season.
With 1:46 remaining in regulation the Admirals would go empty net and extra attacker. That only allowed MacKenzie MacEachern to add his fifth goal of the season to get the game to its 4-0 final score.
Jordan Binnington didn’t need to do too much tonight but did have one of the best saves you will see all season when he robbed Trevor Smith from point blank range on the Admirals final power-play chance of the evening. Binnington earned his first shutout of the season by stopping all eighteen shots on goal tonight.
After tonight’s game the Admirals are off until Tuesday night where they will travel to play against the Rockford IceHogs at the BMO Harris Bank Center at 7:00 PM CST. That will then be followed by a brutal travel scheduled three-on-three weekend that has them in Milwaukee against the Iowa Wild, then in Iowa, and then back home to see the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night the team saw Miikka Salomäki return to the Nashville Predators after fulfilling his long-term injury loan. Tonight’s line combinations were: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Perfetto-Smith-Åberg, Florek-Army-Liambas, (Rotating)-Kirkland-Payerl, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty, Pinkston. Tonight’s scratches included: Vladislav Kamenev (undisclosed injury), Adam Pardy (broken left arm), and Matt White (bereavement leave). There were 1,786 teddy bears thrown by the 6,676 of fans in attendance tonight.
What was your reaction to tonight’s game? If the season ended tonight the Chicago Wolves would be the Milwaukee Admirals opening round opponent in the playoffs: how would that rodeo go?
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