Admirals Rally in Manitoba; Win 4-3 in Shootout

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub)

The Milwaukee Admirals won 4-3 in a shootout on the road against the Manitoba Moose at the Bell MTS Place on Saturday afternoon.

The Admirals three-game winless skid? The Moose nine-game winning streak? They’re both over. The Admirals rallied back from down 3-1 this afternoon in Manitoba to beat one of the hottest teams in the AHL in their own barn in comeback fashion.

The Moose would get on the board in the first period with minor controversy. Cameron Schilling’s shot from the left point flew past traffic and into the net for his third goal of the season. Though it certainly helped having the net front battle between Jack Dougherty and Buddy Robinson knock over Juuse Saros which didn’t allow him a chance to make a save.

That 1-0 first period lead for the Moose would only last twenty-eight seconds. The Admirals flew off the following face-off on a rush between Derek Army, Tyler Moy, and Phil Lane. There would be a quick give and go between Lane and Moy that ended with Lane getting a redirect from the slot past Michael Hutchinson to record his first AHL goal since 2/27/16 as a member of the Springfield Falcons.

What would follow in the first period was tons of attacking pressure by Manitoba. They rang iron at least three times and also had a shot hit Saros square in the mask. It felt inevitable that the Moose would get a go-ahead goal – and they did. Jansen Harkins tagged Cam Maclise from the right wing wall to the slot for Maclise’s third goal of the season.

The first period pressure by the Moose would continue. Kirill Gotovets would snap a wrister from the low left wing that Mason Appleton deflected to the near post. Saros wasn’t holding the post and that puck surprised him stick-side making it a 3-1 Moose lead through Appleton’s ninth goal of the season.

I’m not sure what was said during the first intermission but whatever was said worked. The Admirals surged out of the gate in the second period and would see a quick response for their work on the scoreboard. They generated a three-on-two rush and Bobby Butler would pick out the trailing defenseman in Jimmy Oligny who would fire a snapshot low through Hutchinson for his first goal of the season to cut the Moose lead to 3-2.

Late in the third period the Admirals would find an equalizer working their second power-play of the game. Trevor Murphy hit a howitzer from the right point that Hutchinson absorbed. Justin Kirkland managed to get the puck free and it would scramble loose towards the low left wing for Tyler Kelleher to swat into an open net to make it 3-3 on Kelleher’s sixth goal of the season and first goal scored in sixteen games.

This game required overtime. And what an overtime period it was. Both sides had some high quality chances. The best of which would see Appleton get a breakaway clean against Saros who would make a big time blocker save. The game would need a shootout.

In the shootout both would score in the opening round. Michael Sgarbossa went five-hole on Saros. Kirkland would loop out to the right wing and whip a shot past the stick-side of Hutchinson. Nic Petan would lead off the second round only to be rejected by a blocker save on Saros. The Admirals captain Trevor Smith would answer with a goal after hitting the brakes right in front of Hutchinson and creating a small snow shower as the shot was released. That made it match-point. And Brendan Lemieux’s shot went off the post and out. That was one of several shots off the post by the Moose today. It seemed fitting that the game ends there and with the Admirals winning 4-3 in the shootout.

This win finally gets Saros on the board in the AHL this season. He had gone winless in his first four starts with the Admirals but deserved a win today. From the second period to the finish Saros gave the Admirals a chance to earn a point or the win. He stopped 23/26 today and helped get the Admirals back to winning ways.

These two will clash again tomorrow: same time, same place. Following that the Admirals will have a decent break between games. They will be returning home on Friday night against the Iowa Wild. That though begins a three-in-three weekend and will also be the final home game until after Christmas. The Admirals start a four-game road trip this time next week.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Tuesday night the Nashville Predators pulled the goaltending switcheroo once again. Anders Lindbäck was recalled to the Predators while Juuse Saros was reassigned to the Admirals. Much like the past few weekends it is expected that Saros will only be with the Admirals on the weekend road trip. Today’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Labrie-Smith-Butler, Zolnierczyk-Zengerle-Kelleher, Richard-Kirkland-Bass, Moy-Army-Lane, Murphy-Granberg, Oligny-Carrier, Allard-Dougherty. Today’s scratches were: Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), Stephen Perfetto (suspended), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), Emil Pettersson (upper-body), and Yakov Trenin (surgery).

What is your reaction to today’s game? Is this the sort of result that can really turn the tide for the Milwaukee Admirals? How did you feel Juuse Saros played today?

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