The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-2 on the road against the Cleveland Monsters at the Quicken Loans Arena on Friday night.
Tonight was the most explosive night for the Admirals in what feels like ages. They haven’t scored five goals in a game since the sixth game of the season – twenty-one games ago. This was a very well-rounded effort that saw the French Fries really shine on the score sheet.
On their second power-play chance in the first period Trevor Murphy would get the Admirals out in front. Doyle Somerby had been assessed a delay of game. The Monsters penalty kill converged on Frédérick Gaudreau he was able to chip back to the blueline where Murphy hammered a slap shot past Matiss Kivlenieks just as Somerby was exiting the penalty box for his second goal of the season.
The Admirals would extend their lead early in the second period. Pierre-Cédric Labrie was put loose down the right wing on an odd-man rush with Justin Kirkland opposite wing. Labrie would hold tight, take his shot from the face-off dot, and wire a wrister against the grain and over the blocker of Kivlenieks for his second goal in as many games and third on the season.
It has been awhile since the Admirals had a quality scrap. In the second period there would be simultaneous fights after a whistle. Cody Bass and Brett Gallant locked horns. Behind the play Labrie matched up with Zac Dalpe in a secondary altercation that would see the two earn game misconducts for their troubles. It ended a fight drought of fourteen straight games for the Admirals. Gallant, 10-9. Labrie, 10-8.
In the third period things ratcheted up in a different sense. The shutout bid for the Admirals would be taken away in the third period. Brady Austin would step up from the blueline and flip a wrister past Lindbäck for his second goal of the season. It would take the Admirals thirty-nine seconds to respond. Anthony Richard would break loose for a breakaway and beat Kivlenieks five-hole to score his fifth goal of the season and give the Admirals a 3-1 lead.
Former-Admiral Joe Pendenza would tighten the game back up with nine-minutes left in regulation. Pendenza was swooping down the slot and received a beautiful feed from Blake Siebenaler down the right wing that allowed for a one-touch finish to the backdoor on Lindbäck. The tally for Pendenza was his fifth of the season.
It was here when the Admirals quickly picked the pace back up and slammed the door on this game with a pair of late third period power-play goals. Harry Zolnierczyk would get a net-front redirect on an Emil Pettersson shot for his eleventh goal of the season. This would be followed by a rebound kicking out to Richard who would backhand a pass to the back post for Gaudreau to earn his second goal of the season and put the game at its 5-2 final.
This really was a very good performance across the board tonight. Murphy was terrific. The forward lines all looked good. And the defense helped alleviate a lot of the unnecessary pressure that has slammed back on to the lap of their goaltenders of late. Lindbäck stopped 33/35 shots on goal tonight in the victory.
These two are back at it tomorrow night: same time, same place. It will be the last day of games in the American Hockey League before the Christmas break. The Admirals next game following the break comes on Wednesday when the Chicago Wolves return to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Sunday there was only a single roster move and that consisted of goaltender Matt O’Connor being reassigned by the Nashville Predators (NHL) from the Atlanta Gladiators (ECHL) to the Quad City Mallards (ECHL). Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Butler-Smith-Moy, Richard-Pettersson-Gaudreau, Zolnierczyk-Zengerle-Kelleher, Labrie-Kirkland-Bass, Murphy-Granberg, Oligny-Dougherty, Allard-Carrier. Tonight’s scratches were: Derek Army (healthy), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), and Yakov Trenin (surgery).
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? How good of a result was this for the Milwaukee Admirals? If this is followed up once again by a like-minded performance tomorrow will you be feeling that little bit better heading into the Christmas break?
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