The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-4 in overtime on the road against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Friday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.
Despite a first period hat trick by Garrett Wilson for the Penguins the Admirals were able to fight back and force overtime by the end of regulation. The Admirals battled so strongly in the third period to earn a point tonight but Jean-Sébastien Dea would get a shot high glove on Juuse Saros for the game-winning goal in overtime tonight. The win for the Penguins snapped a two-game skid and goes down as the first career win for goaltende Colin Stevens.
The Penguins would get on the board just 2:26 into the first period. Josh Archibald threw a pass from the right wing wall to the back post where Garrett Wilson won a footrace against Petter Granberg to pop in the opening goal stick-side of Juuse Saros to make it a 1-0 Penguins lead.
After Alex Carrier took a seat for a tripping minor the Admirals would get a quick equalizer with a shorthanded goal. The Admirals worked into the attacking zone and Cody Bass would throw a puck opposite wing for Harry Zolnierczyk who snapped a wrister low stick-side on Colin Stevens to score his ninth goal of the season.
The Penguins would reclaim the lead prior to the midway point of the first period. Wilson rifled a long range shot from the left wing and near the wall that flew past lots of traffic and past Saros’ glove for his second goal of the period to make it 2-1 Penguins.
Wilson wasn’t done there either and he would complete a first period hat trick with a power-play goal. Kevin Czuczman hammered a shot from the point that went off the pads of Saros. Wilson was crashing the front of the net for just such an opportunity to get a rebound and he smacked the loose puck in to complete a hat trick just 13:05 into the game.
In the second period the Admirals would cut the Penguins lead to one-goal. Justin Kirkland flipped a backhanded pass from the right wing for Emil Pettersson as he raced down the slot. Pettersson would rip a low wrist shot past the glove of Stevens to score his sixth goal of the season.
Sadly, the second period ended with quite a punch to the gut as the Admirals conceded a shorthanded goal. Trevor Murphy failed to keep a puck in at the left point and it allowed Archibald to fly off to the races down the right wing on a shorthanded breakaway. He would open up the five-hole on Saros and score the shorthander to make it a 4-2 Penguins lead.
The Admirals would fight back with a great third period. The Admirals would score a power-play goal after a nice passing sequence with Murphy at the left point to Pierre-Cédric Labrie in the right wing and square to Mark Zengerle in the low left wing circle. Zengerle wired a shot into the rood to make it a 4-3 game.
This would be followed up with an equalizer by Anthony Richard with just 3:44 remaining in regulation. Zengerle had a shot from the slot in which Stevens made a terrific right pad save. The rebound just fell into the path of Richard as he zipped in towards the crease and he was able to score his fourth goal of the season to make it a 4-4 game.
The game would push into overtime. It was there that the Penguins would take the win as Jean-Sébastien Dea motored down the left wing before flipping up a shot against the grain on Saros to the glove-side for tonight’s game-winner. The tally for Dea was his sixth goal of the season and gave the Penguins a 5-4 overtime win.
Saros had yet another rude welcome back to the AHL. The first period wasn’t pretty for the Admirals but, much like the team, Saros seemed to get stronger as the game moved forward. He would stop 26/31 shots on goal on the night but picks up his third successive loss with the Admirals. That is the first time in his AHL career that he has suffered three consecutive defeats.
Stevens was making his AHL debut tonight in net for the Penguins. While the scoreline ratcheted up along the way he did a great job in his first trip out. He stopped 29/33 shots on goal to record his first career AHL victory on debut.
What’s next for the Admirals is a road game against the Hershey Bears tomorrow night at 6:00 PM CST. That will end a three-game road trip as the Admirals then have a pit stop appearance at home Tuesday night when they will host the San Diego Gulls at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. It is a single home game sandwiched by by yet another roadie. The Admirals after Tuesday will be heading to the Great White North to battle the Manitoba Moose at the Bell MTS Iceplex.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Tuesday night there was a roster move made in the organization that saw the Nashville Predators once again flip goaltenders Juuse Saros and Anders Lindbäck. The Predators made the same move two weeks ago when the Admirals were on the road playing against the Cleveland Monsters. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Kirkland-Pettersson-Kelleher, Richard-Zengerle-Mingoia, Labrie-Bass-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, Allard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches were: Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), Stephen Perfetto (suspended), and Yakov Trenin (upper-body injury). Tonight Matt O’Connor returned to action after being sidelined with a lower-body injury but only served as the back-up goaltender for the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL. Rick Pinkston also made his debut with Atlanta in his first game since being moved after the Norfolk Admirals ECHL affiliation agreement was terminated.
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? Are you concerned with the way the Milwaukee Admirals are playing collectively right now? What’s the main problem with the Admirals and how can they be more consistent? Despite the loss, did the Admirals find something positive in themselves in tonight’s third period?
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