The Milwaukee Admirals 3-1 on the road against the Manitoba Moose at the MTS Centre on Friday night.
This was a historic occasion for the Admirals as Marek Mazanec became the team’s all-time AHL minutes leader for a goaltender and head coach Dean Evason earned his two-hundredth career victory behind the Admirals bench. The team is now on a three-game winning streak.
At the end of the first period J.C. Lipon was called for tripping and an unsportsmanlike conduct. The Admirals top power-play unit would deliver the game’s opening goal forty-seconds into the second period. Alex Carrier threw off from the top of the blueline to Mike Ribeiro in the right wing who delivered a picture perfect pass to Trevor Smith who floated out to the back door on Jamie Phillips to score his thirteenth goal of the season and first scored in twenty-four games.
The second half of Lipon’s penalty was still active following the power-play goal from Smith. That said, you weren’t to know it based on how well the Moose were attacking while shorthanded. Both Patrice Cormier and Chase De Leo had shorthanded breakaways in a matter of moments during the same kill and both times Marek Mazanec got the crucial stops to keep the Moose off the board.
Mazanec would go on from the moment to surpass Brian Finley’s Admirals all-time AHL record for minutes logged in net. The previous mark by Finley was 9122:21.
Over the halfway point of the second period the Admirals added to their lead when Justin Florek scored his tenth goal of the season. Florek had guided a pass behind the net for Derek Army who dinked it back in line for the swooping forward to pick it up and wrap a shot around on Phillips through the wickets and in to make it a 2-0 Admirals lead.
At the end of the second period former pest of the Admirals Rob Flick showed up to do more pest like things such as take a boarding minor on Jimmy Oligny. This caught the attention of Oligny’s defensive partner Alex Carrier who raced over and got into his first pro fight. Flick got the better of Carrier in the fight and the boarding penalty to Flick was erased by the instigator penalty by Carrier.
Tensions seemed to remain high between the two teams towards the start of the third period. Ryan Olsen attempted to scrap with Trevor Murphy and wound up sitting in the penalty box for roughing. This allowed for another power-play goal to be scored as a hammer shot by Pontus Åberg flew off the end boards where Smith passed right back into the slot opposite side of the net where Frédérick Gaudreau smacked in his twenty-third goal of the season.
Another fight would start up in the third period. Francis Beauvillier delivered a big hit to Andrew O’Brien and the two quickly decided to scrap. O’Brien uncorked some bombs and won decisively. I’d score that 10-8 in my fight card.
A holding call against Mike Liambas put the Moose on a late power-play. It appeared that De Leo rammed through Oligny and left him injured during the following special teams play. Oligny soldiered on as best he could, no whistle came, and the Moose ended up denying Mazanec’s shutout bit with a power-play goal. Patrice Cormier was alone on the doorstep to push across a rebound from Kyle Connor’s shot to earn his twelfth goal of the season.
In more Flick-like theatrics he took a high shot towards the head of Liambas as the Moose were on an empty net and extra attacker bid. Liambas finally had enough of Flick and proceeded to maul him with punches as Flick turtled on the ice. Liambas was given the lone penalties on the play: fighting major and a game misconduct.
For all the nastiness that went on the game would finish there. These two teams won’t play each other for the rest of the season so all the toxicity ends here with a 3-1 Admirals win. They may have been outshot 33-15 but the Admirals received a great night in net from Mazanec with timely offense.
Next on tap will be a travel back home to Milwaukee. The Admirals will face-off against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM CDT. They will then swing over to see the Griffins at the Van Andel Arena on Wednesday at 6:00 PM CDT.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made in the organization. Tonight’s line combinations were the same as they were last night: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, White-Smith-Åberg, Perfetto-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Army-Liambas, Oligny-Carrier, O’Brien-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. That meant tonight’s scratches remained the same as they were as well: Kelleher (healthy), Kirkland (undisclosed injury), Pardy (broken left arm), and Pinkston (healthy). After being hit from behind by Chase De Leo on a Moose power-play Jimmy Oligny left the game late in the third period due to injury and needed assistance to leave the ice and head down to the Admirals locker room.
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? The Manitoba Moose might be lowly in the standings but how good was the two-game effort from the Milwaukee Admirals on the road? How does this set the stage for another showdown against the Grand Rapids Griffins on home ice on Sunday?
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