Ads Stumble In Regular Season Finale; Lose 5-1

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-1 against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday night.

In the 2016-17 regular season finale things never truly went the Admirals way. Whether it be odd calls or simply a stellar performance in net for Eddie Pasquale – the Admirals couldn’t get a break tonight. It is the fourth straight loss on the regular season finale for the Admirals but the team is still very optimistic heading into the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs.

“You want to finish playing the right way and I though, for the most part, we did,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “I thought we played the right way. [Grand Rapids] caught a couple of breaks, obviously, a couple of power-play goals to put them up a couple of goals. But, five-on-five we thought we did a lot of really good things in the hockey game. We didn’t get the result but we had opportunities to possibly get the result. We worked hard. We played hard the last two nights. We’ll be positive going forward here.”

This game started very sour as Vladislav Kamenev was undercut in neutral ice and sent flying. There was no call on the ice and he took a retaliation penalty which was followed by a bench minor against the Admirals. It gave the Griffins a full two minutes of five-on-three power play to work with and they would break the Admirals penalty kill run of twenty-eight straight kills.

The passing play went Joe Hicketts at the point to Evgeny Svechnikov on the right with to the back post on left wing for Mitch Callahan who beat Jonas Gunnarsson back to the near post to score his sixteenth goal of the season and make it a 1-0 Griffins advantage.

Tyler Moy took matters into his own hands following some more absurd calls against the Admirals in the first period. The Harvard kid picked the pocket of former-Admiral Conor Allen and then turned around, skated in, and roofed a wrister to the glove-side of Eddie Pasquale. It was the first goal of Moy’s professional hockey career and comes in his third career game.

“Fortunate enough to get the puck with some space,” said Moy of his first pro goal. “It felt really good with it being here at home and everything. Great experience and a memory I’ll have for the rest of my life.”

It seemed fitting that the first period end in controversy after all the bizarre moments that were happening. A shot to the net by Filip Hronek was trapped in the left arm of Gunnarsson but a stiff whack by Tyler Bertuzzi knocked the puck through to the net for a goal as the horn sounded to end the opening period. It took video review to confirm that Bertuzzi scored his twelfth goal of the season with 0.6 seconds remaining in the first period.

The Griffins would extend their lead in the second period following a slashing minor against Rick Pinkston. Bertuzzi was very wide down the left wing and managed to work a pass all the way across to his opposite wing where Eric Tangradi was lurking. Gunnarsson over-committed to Bertuzzi and couldn’t recover in time to stop Tangradi’s shot which went in with ease for a power-play goal and his seventeenth of the season.

In the third period, after seeing their seventh power-play come and go, the Admirals saw the Griffins get a breakaway out of the penalty box. Svechnikov had served a bench minor for too many men on the ice and was off to the races once the penalty expired. He finished forehand to backhand with a five-hole shot that beat Gunnarsson for his twentieth goal of the season.

The damage would keep on keeping on in the third period. A howitzer of a slap shot from Colin Campbell flew through net front traffic and rang off the near-side post to beat Gunnarsson stick side for his ninth goal of the season and make it a 5-1 Griffins lead.

The game would finish right there. It was a very solid effort in net for Pasquale who only allowed the tally from Moy against the run of twenty-six shots on goal by the Admirals. The biggest hurt on the evening would be the Admirals getting blanked on seven power-play chances but those chances still generated lots of scoring opportunities. Pasquale was sharp in net tonight.

“He played very well,” said Evason of Pasquale. “They played very well in front of him. But we had good looks. Enough looks to have success, more than one goal. But we’ll find a way. Not a lot of scoring in playoffs.”

The Admirals finish the 2016-17 season with a record of 43-25-4-3 (93 points, 0.612 points percentage). They finish in third place of the Central Division and are set to start the opening round of the 2017 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs on the road this coming Friday and Sunday. Their first two home games will be played on Wednesday April 26th at 7:00 PM CDT and -if necessary- Friday April 28th at 7:00 PM CDT.

Following the completion of tonight’s game the Chicago Wolves defeated the Charlotte Checkers 4-3 in overtime at the Allstate Arena to cement the playoff picture. The four teams that played tonight will lock horns in round one as the Wolves battle the Checkers and the Admirals match-up against the Griffins.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made in the organization but the team did decide to rest several players in the regular season finale tonight. The line combinations were: Richard-Perfetto-Gaudreau, White-Army-Moy, Kirkland-Kamenev-Payerl, Liambas-Trenin-Florek, Pardy-Pinkston, Murphy-Granberg, Girard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included: Bass (lower-body injury), Carrier (healthy), Kelleher (undisclosed injury), Mazanec (healthy), O’Brien (undisclosed injury), Ribeiro (healthy), Smith (healthy). With the Admirals captain Trevor Smith sitting out for rest the team dressed three alternate captains: Mike Liambas, Adam Payerl, and Adam Pardy.

What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Is this a sign of things to come in the playoffs or is this result unfair to judge because the Admirals rested so many of their players? Do you think it was right of the Admirals to back-off and rest players for the regular season finale?

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9 thoughts on “Ads Stumble In Regular Season Finale; Lose 5-1”

  1. I didn’t like the idea of sitting Maz, he’s the best player on the ice many nights and resting him he goes a full week before playing again I would have preferred flipping the starts and have Gunner play last night vs Rockford. I get resting Ribs and even Smith. But Carrier should have played over Pinkston, as I post this it looks like Chicago is our opponent, we gotta play em all so might as well play them now but I’ve not liked how we looked vs them much of the year…. Ugggggh

  2. I was there tonight. Seemed to me, like most times they play Grand Rapids, that the refs had it out for Milwaukee. The call against Kamenev, the call against Liambas as he was trying to get off the ice after losing his helmet and was trying to leave the ice but yet GR never got called for the same thing.

    I did like what I saw from Moy. I think there are big things in store for him. Still not sure about Gunnarsson. He made some outstanding stops tonight and looked good when the team was playing good in front of him. It would have been nice to have seen him get some more playing time this season to see what he can do long term.

    If any of the physicality of this game carries over to the playoffs, it could make for a very interesting first round. I would like nothing more than to see the Ads bounce the Grffins out in 3 games.

  3. “Whether it be odd calls or simply a stellar performance in net for Eddie Pasquale”. I guess that is how you can say that the 2 refs were HORRIBLE in period one, without actually saying it. When a good percentage of the crowd is loudly chanting “Refs, you suck” for a minute or so, you can bet that several things looked wrong to them. Like #26 standing in front of the Admirals goal for about 5 seconds with no helmet on and no call. Liambis gets his helmet knocked off in a scrum in the corner that had about 6 players about 2 minutes later. Liambis tried to reach the helmet and could not, then he tried to get out of the scrum, which took a few seconds and he rocketed toward the Admirals bench and was called.

    Yeah, the high / low on Kam didn’t look right to most of the 5500 in attendance. But the 2 refs didn’t see it or didn’t see it that way. It is elbowing if you don’t actually hit a guy with your elbow? That was the third one like that this season that I saw in person. I thought that Kaval was useless as a ref. Fortunately, it didn’t end up as a “Derek Martin game” and nobody was injured.

    What happened at the end of period 2? Both Liambis and Florek wanted to fight somebody (Tangradi?). Did the refs miss something that shift? I didn’t see what happened at the other end.

    Milwaukee’s problem was too many shots from way outside. They had some open shots from inside the tops of the circles and didn’t take them, especially on the 2 man advantage. You are better off with one 35 foot shot than two from 70 feet. They made Eddie P look better than he is.

    Gunnarsson needed a game in goal. He wasn’t as bad as his defense played. I like resting some guys for one game, but they missed Ribs on the PP tonight!

  4. A few more thoughts on the game. I went to a concession stand after period one. They lady working at the stand asked me “what was going on” because she could hear the crowd getting very loud several times. Since this was Game 36, I think that shows how angry the crowd was. It was obviously never like that during the entire season.

    Moy has a point in every game played for Milwaukee. I agree with what hulltech said above.

  5. Does anyone know if the rule about hitting X number of fighting majors = suspension (can’t remember what X was) resets for playoffs?

  6. I may be wrong, but I thought I read that the fight number doesn’t reset for the playoffs. The first suspension comes after the 10th fight. I think Liambas is sitting at 9 right now. Thought for sure #10 was going to happen tonight, either against a GR player, or the ref that called the penalty on him.

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