The Milwaukee Admirals were shutout 1-0 by the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
It was an extremely defensive game that didn’t even see a goal scored until after the midway point. Yet, a surging second period proved to be the difference tonight as the Monsters win all four games in Milwaukee this season. Their playoff lives are still very much alive.
“We’re happy with our game. We were not happy with the second period. But we were real happy with how we played for the most part,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the shutout loss. “Their goaltender Forsberg was absolutely outstanding. It was a good hockey game.”
It would take 35:45 of hockey to be played tonight before this game had its first goal. A puck scramble out in front of Marek Mazanec ended with Ryan Craig poking a loose puck from the right wing post to the backdoor where Zac Dalpe was camping. It was a swift finish for Dalpe who recorded his tenth goal of the season to get the Monsters ahead 1-0.
“It was just a lucky bounce for them,” said Anthony Richard of Dalpe’s goal. “It was just 1-0. So, we have to play better offensively.”
And, bizarrely, that would be lone goal in this contest. Mazanec would make his way to the bench with 1:21 remaining in regulation but the Admirals late push with the extra attacker went bust. It meant a fourth shutout of the season for Anton Forsberg who stopped all twenty-seven shots that the Admirals threw on him tonight. For perspective’s sake the Monsters registered sixteen shots on goal in the second period alone.
“It’s always like that since maybe fifteen games,” said Richard of the second period woes. “We run over the place. Nobody is touching the puck. It’s just neutral zone play. We have to find a way to put pucks deep, forecheck, and go to the net.”
The weekend three-on-three continues tomorrow night when the Rockford IceHogs arrive for a 6:00 PM CDT face-off. The Admirals will conclude the weekend with a road game against the Iowa Wild on Sunday at 5:00 PM CDT.
“Quick turn-around,” said Justin Kirkland. “Guys will be ready. We’re excited. We’re trying to prepare here for the playoffs.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Sunday the team officially clinched a spot in the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Admirals then saw the addition of Nashville Predators second round selection from the 2016 NHL Draft in defenseman Samuel Girard following the conclusion of his junior playing season. That came a day before Admirals defenseman Jimmy Oligny had season ending knee surgery. Tonight’s line combinations were: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, White-Smith-Åberg, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Army-Liambas, Pardy-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, Girard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Kelleher (healthy), O’Brien (lower-body injury), Oligny (lower-body injury – out for season), and Pinkston (healthy). Tonight marked the pro playing debut for Samuel Girard. Tonight’s game also marked Marek Mazanec’s 162nd played with the Admirals to make him their all-time games played leader for a goaltender in the AHL history of the team. Mazanec only trails Rich Sirois (285) and Chris Mason (173) in franchise history.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? What is the issue with the Milwaukee Admirals and the second period? How do you feel Samuel Girard performed in his pro debut? How will the Admirals rebound for the rest of the weekend?
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