The Milwaukee Admirals didn’t play a single overtime game until Wednesday night. That night they lead 2-0, saw their lead disappear, and ended up going to a shootout where they won 3-2. Tonight it was the opposite story. The Admirals were down 2-0, looked miserable in the second period, and fought back from the start of the third period all the way through to overtime to earn a 3-2 win against the Chicago Wolves at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. This game had a little bit of everything. But these last two results are starting to see steps taken in the right direction.
The start to tonight’s game was really positive. The Admirals pushed the pace well. The forecheck and dump-and-chase play was effective. And they had a nice intensity to forcing the Wolves to work the length of the ice in order to get going in attack. The difference just came down to Paul Thompson getting a goal through jamming a puck hard past the left toe of Anders Lindbäck. Could the play have been whistled dead sooner? Perhaps.. but there was still enough done in the opening twenty-minutes that should have seen the Admirals rise above that one moment.
Where this game really fell off of a cliff was the second period. The Admirals were flat and lethargic. The Wolves were not and really chewed up the Admirals in attack early. They were able to secure a second goal off a redirect by MacKenzie MacEachern. He was pretty much all alone in his skate cutting across the left wing to the net front area to swat the Jason Garrison point shot down. By the end of the period the Wolves had outshot the Admirals 16-5. It was a staggering contrast one period to the next. The Admirals looked and played lost.
The Admirals did finally get a breakthrough inside of four-minutes of the third period. Harry Zolnierczyk used his pace to fly down the left wing and put a snapshot through Michael Leighton stick-side to continue his fantastic start to this season. And it didn’t end there. He would battle hard in front of the net on the Admirals power-play past the midway point in the third period and get a loose puck across for his second of the night. Zolnierczyk had 16 points (6 goals, 10 assists) in 24 games with the Admirals last season. He already has 14 points (8 goals, 6 assists) in 17 games this season.
This game needed overtime. Even in the overtime period there were moments of panic and scrambling on the part of the Admirals. Yet, quality finally shined through and it did so with the other two components of the top line. Trevor Smith hit Bobby Butler on a transitional rush out of the defensive zone. Butler needed to yank back a spin-o-rama to really keep puck control but did so – and then beat Leighton five-hole. The Admirals, in a game that they started to feel as though they didn’t have any right getting a point from, earned the win.
After tonight’s game both myself and Nicholas Hatch had the chance to speak with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. We also spoke with Zolnierczyk, Lindbäck, and Alex Carrier. These were tonight’s post-game interviews.
What were your thoughts regarding tonight’s game? Where are you at currently with these up-down-and-around Milwaukee Admirals? How impressive have the veteran players been for the Admirals?
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