The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 in a shootout against the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night.
For the first time this season the Admirals played in overtime. One better, this game required a shootout to decide things. The Admirals saw a 2-0 lead go away but the two who shined the brightest on the night, Anders Lindbäck and Bobby Butler, would polish off the victory in the shootout tonight. The win stops a two game skid for the Admirals.
“We were real happy with the way our compete was tonight,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “We systematically weren’t as good as we’ve been. Our structure was a little loose. Thank goodness [Lindbäck] was outstanding.”
It took a good while before the Admirals finally registered their first shot on goal. Fortunately, that first shot would be tonight’s opening goal. Trevor Smith would get a stick on a zone clearance for the Monsters. The puck went flying into the air and Bobby Butler made an incredible mid-air swipe that triggered an odd-man rush. Harry Zolnierczyk headed up the attack and would rifle a wrister over the left shoulder of Brad Thiessen for his sixth goal of the season.
“[Smith] put a stick on it, got in the air, and I just saw it coming down -saw [Zolnierczyk]- first reaction is to hit it out of the air,” said Bobby Bobby Butler. “[Zolinerczyk] took it, handled it, and put it in the back of the net. It’s always good.”
The Admirals second shot of the game also nearly made its way through. Anthony Richard knifed his way to the near post and looked to have put a wrap-around shot past the left toe of Thiessen. The Admirals celebrated but no call came. After further review the call of “no goal” would be the response.
No matter. The Admirals third shot of the game would be of the “good goal” variety. A tic-tac-toe passing sequence ended with Smith finding Butler racing behind everyone down the right wing and getting a tap-in into a nearly empty net for his sixth goal of the season to give the Admirals a 2-0 first period lead on three shots.
The Monsters would have a response after a hot start to the second period. The former Admiral Joe Pendenza had Petter Granberg almost grappling with him en route to Anders Lindbäck. Pendenza was able to keep his balance and focus to put a heavy shot low glove on Lindbäck to score his fourth goal of the season.
With 4:34 remaining in regulation the Monsters would find an equalizer to make this a 2-2 game. A shot from the left point appeared to hit Trevor Murphy and then Alex Broadhurst on its path to the net. The puck would trickle all the way past Lindbäck and roll on in for Broadhurst’s second tally of the season.
This game would need overtime. With 1:20 remaining Pendenza would get called for a slashing minor as Tyler Moy drove hard to the net. The Admirals would burn their timeout to draw something up for the four-on-three power-play chance. That ultimately would go until the horn sounded and this game went into a shootout.
This shootout would take until the third and decisive round. Butler would step up and wire a wrister low glove on Thiessen to get the Admirals up 1-0 in the shootout. It fell for Carter Camper to push the shootout into sudden death but his backhander went wide and Lindbäck went perfect in the shootout to give the Admirals the victory tonight.
Lindbäck was once again so impressive in net for the Admirals. The win tonight puts him right back into the AHL lead on the season with nine wins. He had to weather some storms early in both the first and second period but made thirty-nine saves on the night. That doesn’t even include going perfect in all three shootout attempts to get the win. He has been superb.
“He’s the backbone of our team,” said Butler of Lindbäck. “He comes to play every night. I know I work harder because he is giving us his all. He made three great saves in the shootout along with all the shots he got during the game.”
The Admirals finish off the three-game homestand this weekend with games on Friday and Saturday night. They will see the Chicago Wolves for a 7:00 PM CST face-off on Friday night. And then they will get the Central Division leading Manitoba Moose for the first time this season Saturday night at 6:00 PM CST. Following that, nine of the next eleven games for the Admirals will be played on the road.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Saturday night there were numerous roster moves made in the organization. The Nashville Predators recalled Juuse Saros, Pontus Åberg, and Frédérick Gaudreau. In addition, Nashville reassigned Anders Lindbäck back to Milwaukee while Joonas Lyytinen was recalled back to the AHL from the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL). Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Pettersson-Moy, Labrie-Zengerle-Kelleher, Perfetto-Kirkland-Bass, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Allard, Lyytinen-Granberg. Tonight’s scratches included: Jack Dougherty (healthy), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), and Yakov Trenin (upper-body). The Admirals’ captain Trevor Smith returned to the lineup after missing his past six-games due to injury. Smith last played on 11/1/17.
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? Did the Milwaukee Admirals need a win and a game such as this to get back on track? How good is it to have the captain back?
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