Admirals Take Season Opener in Iowa, 5-2

(Photo Credit: Iowa Wild)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-2 on the road against the Iowa Wild at the Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday night.

Tonight’s story: Admirals penalty killing. The Wild had seven chances on the power-play tonight and the only goal that would come during all of those chances would be Emil Pettersson scoring shorthanded for the Admirals. Anders Lindbäck was big in net when he needed to be and the Admirals offense maintained a cushion until the finish.

In the opening frame there wasn’t a lot separating the two sides. Tyler Kelleher smacked a shot off the post and the Wild had two clear cut chances on a power-play -but- nothing was doing.

Last in the first period, following a roughing call against Anthony Richard, some energy was put into the building when Andrew O’Brien and Ryan Malone dropped the gloves. O’Brien really wasn’t able to get in punches. Malone locked up quick, had some lefts land, and then worked a takedown for a win in the fight department.

More rough and tumble action would occur early in the second period. Luke Kunin clocked Yakov Trenin hard behind the Admirals net. A scrum would breakout that saw Jimmy Oligny step in for Trenin. Both would get roughing minors but it would be Trenin serving Oligny’s penalty as the Admirals defenseman left the ice with an equipment issue.

Trenin serving that penalty would prove a big difference. As the four-on-four ended both Trenin and Kunin exited the box but Trenin left from the door ahead of Kunin while the Admirals were rushing into the attacking zone. Trenin went straight to the net and Frédérick Gaudreau labeled a pass from the right wing to the back post and tape of Trenin for the first goal of the Admirals 2017-18 season.

Adventures to the penalty box was an issue in the Admirals opener tonight. Yet, their work on the penalty kill was strong and set the stage for Emil Pettersson to record his first goal in North America. Harry Zolnierczyk was able to drop a pass back for Pettersson, stay narrowly onside, and went to the net. This game Pettersson some room to work with and the Swede toe-dragged around Ryan Murphy before snapping a wrister past Niklas Svedberg for a shorthanded goal to make it a 2-0 Admirals lead.

The Wild weren’t without their quality chances despite being blanked on six power-play opportunities through the first two periods. They would finally get a breakthrough courtesy of some clever passing on zone entry that gave Gerald Mayhew acres of space to setup a shot. Mayhew used Andrew O’Brien as a screen against Anders Lindbäck and then roofed a shot above the Admirals goaltender’s right shoulder to make it a one-goal game once again.

Anthony Richard would chip in with a goal from behind the net in the third period to make it a 3-1 Admirals lead. Vladislav Kamenev put a weak shot on goal that glided along the ice. Svedberg tried to push it aside but it only went as far as Richard who quickly popped it off the back of the Wild goaltender’s stick and back through his legs. Svedberg was visibly upset with himself but the heads-up play by Richard earned him his first goal of the season.

On their fifth power-play chance of the night the Admirals had a response. Pettersson passed from the right point down to the low right wing to Trevor Smith. The Admirals captain then hit a wing-to-wing feed for Bobby Butler who sniped a corner on net for his first AHL goal since 4/4/15 as a member of the San Antonio Rampage.

Iowa would get a shorthanded tally of their own with 4:34 remaining in regulation. The former-Admiral Cal O’Reilly was able to get a rebound tally after Lindbäck made an initial save against Landon Ferraro.

With 2:33 remaining in regulation the Wild used their timeout following an icing call against the Admirals. They went empty net and brought on the extra attacker but the Admirals captain would polish this game off. Smith worked his way up to center ice, made sure he wouldn’t ice the puck, and then made sure to ice the game by scoring the long range empty netter. That ended the contest. The Admirals took the season opener on the road by a 5-2 final.

Lindbäck’s first game back with the Admirals since 1/7/12 proved to be victorious. He stopped 23/25 shots on goal tonight and was an anchor at the heart of an Admirals penalty kill that went perfect in seven rounds of duty on the evening.

The Admirals and Wild are back in action tomorrow night at the Wells Fargo Arena. Action starts at 5:00 PM CST. The game will be available through AHL Live or you can hear Aaron Sims call on AM1250.

Ramblings: The Milwaukee Admirals opened the 2017-18 season with Trevor Smith as team captain and Cody Bass & Pierre-Cédric Labrie as the alternate captains. Additionally, it became known that the added alternate captains this season are: Bobby Butler, Harry Zolnierczyk, and Jimmy Oligny. Tonight’s line combinations were: Richard-Kamenev-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Smith-Butler, Labrie-Bass-Trenin, Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Kelleher, Oligny-Carrier, O’Brien-Dougherty, Murphy-Granberg. Tonight’s scratches were all healthy: Fred Allard, Joonas Lyytinen, Tyler Moy, and Stephen Perfetto.

What’s your instant reaction to the 2017-18 season opener? How good did some of the new faces look in their Milwaukee Admirals debuts?

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