The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-1 against the Rockford IceHogs at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
After dropping two straight games. After not looking themselves on Wednesday night on home ice against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Tonight the Admirals played a strong defensive game, headlined again by a strong performance by Anders Lindbäck, and returned to winning ways.
“It’s one of our best games certainly this year,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “We’ve played some good hockey but what we really like is it backs up one of our worst game of the year. We responded really well. Everything that we talked about the other night against Grand Rapids was completely opposite tonight.”
The Admirals first chance on the power-play would get them on the board near the end of the first period. Stephen Perfetto had drawn a hold against Carl Dahlström on a rush to the net in which he nearly scored. The following power-play delivered the goods. Vladislav Kamenev hit a perfect pass off to Harry Zolnierczyk in the left wing and the veteran forward pulled back on a toe-drag wrist shot that beat Jean-François Bérubé near post for his fifth goal of the season and third scored on the power-play.
The IceHogs would get a response early in the second period. A shot from the point by Erik Gustafsson was caught by Anders Lindbäck and quickly dropped. Tyler Sikura was able to pounce on the loose puck in front of the big Swede to cash in on the mistake for his second goal of the season to make it a 1-1 game.
Things opened up in the second period following a two-minute stretch of four-on-four hockey. There was some end-to-end chances but the Admirals buried their’s as Vladislav Kamemev scored his third goal of the season. Cody Bass made his return to the lineup felt by making the great stretch pass that hit Kamenev on the tape. The Russian would win a footrace against Robin Norell to get a breakaway and then beat Bérubé going forehand to backhand and roofing his shot over the glove to make it a 2-1 Admirals lead.
In the third period the Admirals went into a defensive shell and didn’t even register a shot on goal until there were less than five-minutes remaining in regulation. That wouldn’t end up costing them as Trevor Murphy would utilize a big screen set by Justin Kirkland to score on a wrister for his first goal of the season to push the lead up to 3-1.
With 1:25 remaining in regulation Bérubé came to the bench to bring on the extra attacker. There was no final assault for the IceHogs or empty netter for the Admirals. That meant closing out with a 3-1 final with the Admirals returning to the win column.
Despite one mistake tonight was very much about the efforts in net for Lindbäck. He made thirty saves on the night to secure his sixth win in eight starts. His work, especially in the first period, went a long way to settling the Admirals down and allowing for them to make it across the finish line.
“His game was on point,” said Evason of Lindbäck’s performance. “After the loss he was accountable, came to us – Dave Rook, and says, “a couple of those goals are on me,” he had eighteen shots the second period and he was just barraged the other night. And yet he is still taking responsibility for a couple of goals. That’s the type of guy that you want, not only in the net, but in your locker room.”
The Admirals next take to the road. They will be playing at the Van Andel Arena against the Grand Rapids Griffins on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM CST. The Admirals next home game will be on Wednesday and is the first School Day Game of the season. The puck drop that day will be at 10:30 AM CST against the Chicago Wolves.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Wednesday night there have been no roster moves made. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Kamenev-Bass, Labrie-Pettersson-Kelleher, Richard-Kirkland-Butler, Perfetto-Trenin-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, O’Brien-Murphy, Lyytinen-Granberg. Tonight’s scratches were: Fred Allard (healthy), Jack Dougherty (upper-body), and Trevor Smith (undisclosed). Joonas Lyytinen made his AHL debut tonight as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals. The 23-year old from Espoo, Finland made his North American pro debut with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) on 10/20/17. Tonight also marked the return of Cody Bass who missed the past six-games due to an upper-body injury. Bass was wearing a full face shield for tonight’s game.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? How good of a turn-around effort was this by the Milwaukee Admirals? What does that third period tell you about the Admirals defense?
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