The Milwaukee Admirals won 1-0 against the Cleveland Monsters at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Wednesday night.
Right out of gates this game was a goaltending duel with two NHL-ready goaltenders leading their respective squads. Juuse Saros would stop all 27 shots he faced while Joonas Korpisalo stopped 29/30 shots. The lone goal came off the stick of Trevor Murphy in the second period and that’s all the Admirals would need as Saros earned his sixth career AHL shutout. The Admirals have now won three straight games for the first time since opening the season on a four-game win streak.
“We’ve played well on a consistent basis here as of late,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of the team’s recent run. “Fortunately we’re getting rewarded for it. We can reinforce that. But we really played the right way tonight. We weren’t great but we weren’t bad. We were just a really sound and steady group and got rewarded for it.”
Although there was no scoring from either team in the first period we did see a scrap between Cody Bass and Cameron Gaunce. Earlier in the season, Gaunce was responsible for a boarding major and a game misconduct that put Yakov Trenin on the shelf. This was Gaunce’s first appearance against the Admirals since the incident and he would square up with Bass. The two duked it out in a solid fight.
The first goal of the game occurred 8:19 into the second period on Trevor Murphy’s fourth goal of the season. On a rebound, Murphy found the puck in the slot and used a toe drag to create some space and fire a shot from inside the right-wing circle past Joonas Korpisalo for the score. After two periods, the Admirals carried a 1-0 lead and 21-20 advantage in shots.
Looking for the shutout, Juuse Saros and the Admirals headed back to the ice for period number three. With some incredible saves from the goaltender and some outstanding play from the Admirals’ blueliners, the Admirals finished off the 1-0 victory and Saros earned the shutout. The Admirals finished the game outshooting the Monsters 30-27.
“[Juuse] was real good,” said Evason. “We did a real good job in front of him. [Juuse] is an NHL goalie. He’s going to make his saves but we blocked a lot of shots. We defended well. Our sticks were real good in the d-zone. And he was there to smother pucks when opportunities were on him.”
After earning the sixth career shutout of his AHL career Juuse Saros is now tied with Scott Darling for seventh on the Admirals’ all-time AHL shutout list. It was his first shutout since 11/17/16 when he earned a 35 save shutout on the road against the Monsters.
“They played really well,” said Juuse Saros of his Admirals teammates. “We had a really good penalty kill and really good defense. We didn’t give much chances. It always starts with the team in front of me.”
The two Admiral losses this season against the Monsters came in Cleveland and saw a familiar face in net. Juuse Saros was in net for both of those games against the Monsters and neither game factored well for the Admirals. That sloppy play is a thing of the past, as Saros and the Admirals rebounded in a big way tonight and have now won three in a row.
The Milwaukee Admirals will now hit the road for a three-game road trip. They will take on the Rampage for a two-game set in San Antonio on Friday and Saturday before traveling to Grand Rapids to face the division-rival Griffins on Wednesday night.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Sunday the only roster move made in the organization came this morning when Anders Lindbäck was recalled by the Nashville Predators and Juuse Saros was reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. Tonight’s line combinations were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Zengerle-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Pettersson-Mingoia, Labrie-Bass-Army, Murphy-Dougherty, Oligny-Carrier, Lyytinen-Granberg. Tonight’s scratches included: Fred Allard (healthy), Tyler Kelleher (lower-body), Tyler Moy (illness), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), and Yakov Trenin (surgery).
What are your thoughts on tonight’s game? How impressive was Juuse Saros? Do you believe this team can continue its current hot streak into the road trip?
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