The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 against the Rockford IceHogs at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Saturday night.
This entire game felt like a frantic scramble in which the IceHogs had just that little bit more quality tonight. The longer the game wore on the worse the Admirals played. And a desperate IceHogs team took advantage of that to snap a four-game losing streak.
“Their team played with a lot of pace,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of the Rockford IceHogs. “They didn’t have a good game last night. We knew they were coming in here desperate and hungry. We’re so fortunate to even be involved in that game because of our goaltender. [Anders Lindbäck] was exceptional.”
Before the midway point in the first period the IceHogs would make it a 1-0 game. Tomas Jurco swooped around the net and passed to the net front camping David Kämpf who took the feed first-time to beat Anders Lindbäck low stick-side for his fourth goal of the season.
Pierre-Cédric Labrie has felt overdue for a goal in recent games. In the opening minutes of the second period he finally recorded his first with the Admirals. Trevir Murphy was able to get a loose puck and hit Labrie for the home run pass to send the big man loose on a breakaway. Labrie would flip up a shot on the forehand past Jeff Glass for his first goal of the season and make it a 1-1 game.
After Ville Pokka was called for a slash on a breakaway by Harry Zolnierczyk the Admirals were able to cash in quick with a power-play goal. Frédérick Gaudreau to Tyler Kelleher to Pontus Åberg for a one-timer from the left wing circle and the Swede’s shot got through the pads of Glass to mark his return to Milwaukee with not just his 200th appearance with the Admirals but with a power-play goal to boot.
Before the in-arena celebrations, music, and announcements could even finish – the IceHogs made it a 2-2 game. A shot by Andreas Martinsen rolled through Lindbäck and allowed Tyler Sikura to put away his third goal of the season and do so forty-two seconds after the power-play goal for the Admirals.
It would only take the IceHogs twenty-four seconds into the third period to get a go-ahead goal and make it a 3-2 game. The IceHogs had Lindbäck scrambling and a shot by Vinnie Hinostroza would finally make its way through for a goal and his sixth of the season.
Hinostroza would not be done there, either. During a sequence of four-on-four midway through the third period be flew off for a breakaway. He made a few feints that had Lindbäck down and out before going wrister top shelf glove-side for his second goal of the period and seventh tally of the season to make it a 4-2 IceHogs lead.
And, speaking of not being done there, the breakaways would keep coming. Luke Johnson would score on a breakaway for the IceHogs with 4:11 remaining in regulation to push the game up to 5-2. He finished with a crafty backhander for his third goal of the season.
“We were really, really bad in this hockey game,” said Evason. “And it’s really disappointing because we were so good the other day. And maybe that’s why. We got full of ourselves, we got high on ourselves, and it bit us in the ass.”
The game would end there. It was a rough night and one where Lindbäck really had to run the gauntlet. He was swamped with forty-four shots on goal and was tested on odd-man rushes and breakaways far too often.
The Admirals are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 PM CST when they battle the Chicago Wolves at the Allstate Arena. That is the first of a three-game road trip for the Admirals. Next week’s games will both be played against the Cleveland Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena. Those take place on Thursday and Saturday night both starting at 6:00 PM CST.
Ramblings: Ahead of tonight’s game the Nashville Predators reassigned Frédérick Gaudreau to the Milwaukee Admirals as well as Pontus Åberg on a conditioning assignment. Åberg can play with the Admirals for up to two weeks but no longer than the allotted fourteen consecutive days and can be recalled at any given point on his conditioning assignment. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Butler, Perfetto-Trenin-Moy, Labrie-Bass-Kelleher, Richard-Gaudreau-Åberg, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, O’Brien-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Fred Allard (healthy), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Matt O’Connor (lower-body), Trevor Smith (undisclosed), Mark Zengerle (healthy). With the Admirals loss tonight they have fallen out of first place in the Central Division which means the Manitoba Moose have taken their first lead of the division since returning to the AHL in 2015-16.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Where did the Milwaukee Admirals lose out tonight? How did both Pontus Åberg and Frédérick Gaudreau look in their first game back?
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