The Milwaukee Admirals won 6-2 against the Rockford IceHogs at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
On a night which saw the Admirals affiliation agreement with the Nashville Predators extended the team made a statement of their own on the ice. The Admirals improved upon their performance against the IceHogs in Rockford on Wednesday night with a high octane effort with a lot of their latest young guns contributing.
“It wasn’t that easy,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “They kept pushing when we got up a couple and then they pushed and got opportunities. They played hard. We didn’t expected anything different from Rockford. I don’t care where they are in the standings or where the game is at. They’re going to play the same way and they did. It was a good test for us.”
This game started in very unusual fashion. At the first whistle there was a good delay to figure out whether or not there was a fault on the part of the IceHogs lineup. Michael Latta was not listed on their submitted lineup sheet, was playing, and was subsequently pardoned for the rest of the game. Anthony Louis was written in twice on the roster that the officials were handed. That tactical blunder by the coaching staff meant playing a man short for the game.
Shortly after that bizarre event unfolded something a bit more normal these days happened with a power-play goal scored for the Admirals. Nolan Valleau tripped up Anthony Richard which set the stage for Frédérick Gaudreau to work his magic from the left wing circle. Gaudreau measured a wrister up and whistled it over the left shoulder of Mac Carruth to score his twenty-fifth goal of the season and give the Admirals a 1-0 lead.
The second period for the Admirals has been a toxic one to end the season. Their start to tonight’s second period was a welcome change.
After a lengthy series of passes, with rotating pieces all within the attacking zone, Mike Ribeiro spotted Samuel Girard leaping off from the left point and heading down the left wing. His pass caught him in stride and the young defenseman cut in on goal and attempted to center a pass back post -but- the puck deflected in off Valleau’s skate and in for Girard’s first pro goal and first pro point.
“It was a pass for [Anthony Richard] in front of the net,” laughed Girard. “But it hit the skate of the other player on the other side. So, it was a lucky goal – but it was a goal. I’m very happy about it.”
Valleau was already having a tough night after sitting in the box for the initial power-play goal and then having the Admirals third tally deflect in off his skate. Perhaps it was this that which paved the way for him to get the IceHogs off the mark. Valleau whipped a shot from along the left wing wall that beat Marek Mazanec to the far post and in for the defenseman’s third goal of the season.
Tyler Moy marked his home debut getting on the scoring fun for the Admirals. Moy motored along the left wing on his backhand, turned around the net, and threw a puck off to Petter Granberg who quickly deflected off left wing for Matt White to hammer a shot past Carruth. The tally for White was his fifteenth of the season and made it a 4-1 Admirals lead.
It took the IceHogs 1:01 of ice-time to answer right back. Much like their first goal, a bad angle shot from the left wing wall beat Mazanec. This go around it was Luc Snuggerud and his shot deflected in off the skate of Alex Carrier. The goal for Snuggerud was the first of his professional career.
On their second penalty kill of the night the Admirals made it a 5-2 game in the second period. Justin Florek made a stop up ice and started to drift wide to the right wing. The Admirals had a two-on-two but Adam pardy joined the shorthanded rush, received a saucer feed from Florek at the blueline, and Pardy polished off the rush. The veteran defenseman’s wrister snapped through Carruth and Pardy has his third goal of the season and the the Admirals fifth scored shorthanded.
Moy’s home debut would keep on shining with a primary assist to start the third period. The Admirals were cycling in attack when Moy unloaded a slap shot. Carruth did make the initial save but Moy’s shot had plenty of juice on it and spilled into the path for Trevor Smith to backhand in the rebound for his fourteenth goal of the season to increase the Admirals lead to 6-2.
The game would finish at that scoreline. It was another good effort in net for Mazanec who really can only kick himself over the IceHogs opening goal. Everything else for the Czech netminder was smooth as he earned his eighteenth win of the season.
Tomorrow night will mark the end of the 2016-17 regular season. The Admirals will host the Grand Rapids Griffins in a potential preview of their opening round playoff series. The Admirals home playoff games will be on Wednesday April 26th at 7:00 PM CDT and -if necessary- Friday April 28th at 7:00 PM CDT at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
“We want to make sure we’re hitting our highest step as we head into playoffs,” said Tyler Moy of tomorrow’s regular season finale against the Griffins. “I don’t think the game will change at all tomorrow. We just gotta stay on top of our game and treat it as if it is a playoff game.”
Ramblings: Prior to tonight’s game the Nashville Predators announced a new five-year affiliation agreement with the Milwaukee Admiral that will run through to the 2021-22 season. Since the Admirals played on Wednesday night the lone roster note was that Jonathan Diaby was placed on unconditional waivers and released. Diaby had one-year left on his contract and is now a free agent. Tonight’s line combinations for the Admirals were: Richard-Ribeiro-Gaudreau, White-Smith-Moy, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Florek-Trenin-Liambas, Pardy-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, Girard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Army (healthy), Bass (lower-body injury), Kelleher (undisclosed injury), O’Brien (undisclosed injury), Perfetto (healthy), Pinkston (healthy), and Visentin (healthy). Tonight’s attendance: 5,349.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? How impressed were you by the effort of Tyler Moy in his second pro game and home debut? Are these younger pieces starting to lock into place in time for the playoffs? Who would you rather see in the opening round: Chicago Wolves or the Grand Rapids Griffins?
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