Falling Flat Fast; Ads Lose 5-2

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Texas Stars at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday night.

It looked like it could be so much more tonight for the Admirals. They had a scenario to clinch a playoff spot and had a 2-0 lead after the first period. The Stars would tear off five unanswered goals as the Admirals sputtered hard from the second period forward. They were generating some pressure but failed to find quality in the final third of the ice.

“We tried to make it 6-0 after it was 2-0,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “And maybe some teams are good like that, pressing harder to score, we’re not. We’re a team that has to play right all the time or it ends up shooting us.”

Less than five minutes into the game Nick Ebert was called for cross-checking to put the Admirals on the game’s first power-play. That didn’t take too long as Pontus Åberg delivered from his sweet spot on the left wing circle to record his twenty-ninth goal of the season. The Swede’s shot stayed low and Trevor Smith held off the far post to make for plenty of room for the puck to carry on target uninterrupted and fly past Justin Peters.

The Admirals would extend their first period lead to 2-0 around ten minutes later. Anthony Richard used his fantastic skating ability to motor down the right wing with pace and the flick a backhander into the goal front area before he wrapped around the net. Trevor Murphy stepped out from the blueline to camp the crease and had a tap-in tally for his twelfth goal of the season.

In the second period the Stars would get on the board in rapid succession to level the contest. During the Admirals third power-play opportunity Denis Gurianov scored five-hole on Marek Mazanec off of a shorthanded breakaway to notch his tenth goal of the season. That was followed 1:30 later by a two-on-one break that saw Ethan Werek backhand across to his left wing where Brandon DeFazio buried his twenty-first goal of the season past the stick-side of Mazanec to make it a 2-2 game.

“We gave them two goals,” said Evason. “That’s what we’ve talked about all year. We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves, and we haven’t as of late, we definitely shot ourselves in the foot here tonight.”

The third period would see the Stars comeback be completed by them claiming their first lead of the night. A quick up by Werek sent Ebert down the right wing with pace and his slap shot rocketed past Mazanec to the near post for his ninth goal of the season to make it 3-2 Stars.

With 1:24 remaining in regulation Mazanec made his way to the bench for the extra attacker to get on the ice. The Admirals would earn an in-zone face-off four seconds later and the team would use their timeout. Trevor Smith would win the face-off so decisively that it cleared all the way back to the empty net. The goal would be credited to Travis Morin for his twenty-first of the season. The Stars would then add a second empty netter which came from DeFazio for his second tally of the game and twenty-second of the season. The Stars would win 5-2 with five unanswered goals.

Perhaps April Fool’s Day was just the theme for the AHL this evening. The Grand Rapids Griffins were roughed up 4-1 by the Rockford IceHogs and the Chicago Wolves were bested by the Cleveland Monsters by a 5-2 final scoreline. I suppose it was just that sort of night.

These two teams will be right back in action tomorrow at 3:00 PM CDT at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Admirals will then have a good chunk of time to rest up ahead of a three-in-three weekend. They will face the Cleveland Monsters at home on Friday, the Rockford IceHogs on Saturday to complete the four-game homestand, and then finish off the weekend on the road with a Sunday clash against the Iowa Wild.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday there have been no roster moves made by the organization. Tonight’s line combinations include: White-Smith-Åberg, Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, Payerl-Kamenev-Kelleher, Florek-Army-Liambas, Pardy-Carrier, O’Brien-Granberg, Murphy-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Kirkland (undisclosed injury), Oligny (lower-body injury), Perfetto (healthy), and Pinkston (healthy).

What were your thoughts of tonight’s game? What is it with these Milwaukee Admirals and the second period lately? What was wrong with the passing after the first period for the Admirals? Can they quick rally back tomorrow to get points tomorrow against these Texas Stars?

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