On the road tonight the Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 against the Iowa Wild at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Whenever there are more fighting majors than goals scored you are either looking at a highly explosive game or a loss. Tonight the Admirals came up on the wrong side of a Wild team that did a solid job of out-battling them to the point of attack tonight. Their efforts were backed by a quality effort from Steve Michalek in net who stopped all but one of the Admirals twenty-eight shots on goal.
Tonight’s game started pretty much where last night’s left off between Jimmy Oligny and Ryan Carter. The two dropped the gloves eleven seconds into the contest which was trickle over after a rough exchange in front of the net last night in Milwaukee. It was primarily a jab fest with with a few over-hand rights getting through. There was not much separating the two in the fight cards.
After a high sticking minor against Matt White the Wild were able to score from the night’s first power-play chance. Pat Cannone delivered a pass from the low left wing into the high right wing circle for a one-timed shot by A.J. Jenks. Jonas Gunnarsson was able to defend the shot by Jenks but the puck laid flat in the crease for Gerald Mayhew to score on a tap in and earn the first goal of his professional playing career.
Less than three minutes later the Wild were able to make it a 2-0 first period lead. The Wild were able to keep a cycle going and Sam Anas chipped a puck down the right wing wall for Zack Mitchell. It didn’t seem like there was any angle to shoot but Mitchell snuck a shot from below the goal line deep in the right wing pocket that rolled up off the skate of Gunnarsson as he hugged the near post to give Mitchell his tenth goal of the season.
Past the halfway point of the second period there was a moment of controversy from both sides of the ice. Hunter Warner delivered a huge hit on White as the forward had his head down. The check appeared to be targeted to the head and that drew the attention of Andrew O’Brien who went in for a fight. There wasn’t a call against Warner on the check. There wasn’t a call against O’Brien for instigating. And the Wild, if that fight didn’t whistle play dead, would have had a two-on-zip breakaway in attack. It was effectively left alone as a fight despite all that happened around it. Thankfully for the Admirals White wasn’t hurt on the play.
In the closing minutes of the second period the Admirals would get off the mark. A quick play in neutral ice between Anthony Richard and Frédérick Gaudreau sent the latter sprinting down the right wing wall. It appeared as if three Wild players were caught puck watching and Gaudreau labeled a pass for the back post to Stephen Perfetto that he took first time to beat Steve Michalek to score his first career AHL goal and make it a 2-1 game.
Out of the gate of the third period the Wild were able to notch a goal to take the wind out of the sails for the Admirals. Colton Beck passed out of the trapezoid to find Mayhew on the right face-off dot. His shot sailed back the net-front screen set by Tyler Sikura and beat Gunnarsson stick-side to make it 3-1 from Mayhew’s second career AHL goal.
Another fight would break out between these two teams as a result of a hard hit by the Wild. Trevor Murphy was clocked from behind and into the boards by Jenks. That had Adam Payerl after him and that fight, unlike the first tilt, has a decisive winner in Jenks who had the takedown after a quick flurry.
Before the Admirals pulled the trigger to bring Gunnarsson to the bench and bring the extra attacker on with under three-minutes remaining in regulation the Wild made it a 4-1 contest. Jenks ran clean through Murphy as he was breaking out of the defensive zone, corralled the loose puck, and proceeded to fire a wrister from the left wing circle low glove on Gunnarsson to complete the Gordie Howe hat trick with his first goal scored in the AHL this season.
It will be a long bus ride back tonight for the Admirals. They are heading home from Iowa right after this game and back to Milwaukee where they have a 5:00 PM CDT face-off tomorrow night on home ice against the Grand Rapids Griffins who just finished a two-in-two of their own against the Chicago Wolves. The Griffins won each of those games in overtime.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there weren’t roster moves made in the organization but there was more roster shuffling as the team rotates through injuries. The line combinations tonight were: Richard-Gaudreau-Perfetto, White-Smith-Åberg, Payerl-Kamenev-Kelleher, Florek-Army-Liambas, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches for the Admirals were: Justin Kirkland (undisclosed injury), Adam Pardy (broken left arm), Rick Pinkston (healthy), and Mike Ribeiro (rest).
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? What happened to the Milwaukee Admirals in the first period? What is your assessment of Jonas Gunnarsson this season? Will the Admirals have enough in the tank to compete toe-to-toe with the Grand Rapids Griffins tomorrow?
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