The Milwaukee Admirals won 4-1 on the road against the San Antonio Rampage at the AT&T Center on Friday night.
Juuse Saros and the Admirals were less than three-minutes away from securing consecutive shutouts. In the end they settle with an Admirals power-play that struck three times to help see them earn their fourth straight win. The Admirals have now won nine-straight games against the Rampage including five-straight games in San Antonio.
The first period was played rather tight and defensively. The highlight of the opening twenty-minutes goes to a nice scrap between Pierre-Cédric Labrie and Mason Geertsen. The two discarded their helmets and slugged it out at center ice. I would give Labrie the slight edge in my fight card, 10-9. For some reason it felt fitting for a win in the fight department as Labrie played the six-hundredth game of his AHL career.
In the second period the Rampage were dominant. At one point they were outshooting the Admirals 14-1 in the second period alone. And then Nicolas Meloche was called for an elbowing minor and everything tilted fast.
The Admirals quickly converted on the power-play. Emil Pettersson ripped a wrister from the high slot that Spencer Martin fended off. Harry Zolnierczyk jarred the puck loose and Trevor Smith managed to bury the rebound opportunity for his seventh goal of the season.
Immediately following the power-play goal from Smith the Admirals were back to the man-advantage. Andrei Mironov flipped a puck out of play and headed to the box for a delay of game. Trevor Murphy would then tee up Frédérick Gaudreau in the low left wing circle for a one-timer. Gaudreau’s shot whistled over the right shoulder of Martin for his fourth goal of the season.
Controversy would turn its head in the third period. It seemed that the Rampage finally had the shutout run for Juuse Saros broken with a goal from Samuel Blais. However, it was determined that former-Admiral Félix Girard was guilty of goaltender interference on the play. So, not only was the goal disallowed but the Admirals power-play was put right to work.
With that power-play almost expired Saros would leave a puck for his fellow Finn Joonas Lyytinen. The first-year North American pro did the rest as he went coast-to-coast and dangled all the way down the right wing before snapping a wrist shot near post and over the left shoulder of Martin for a power-play goal and the 22-year old defenseman’s first career AHL goal. The Admirals third power-play goal of the game put them ahead 3-0 midway through the third period.
Sadly, the Rampage would find a way to deny Saros and the Admirals back-to-back shutouts. An interference call against Bobby Butler with under three-minutes to play in regulation set the stage for Tage Thompson to score on a wrister from the left wing that flew against the grain on Saros and in past his glove. Thompson’s eighth goal of the season stopped Saros’ shutout streak in the AHL at 126:51 which spanned over his last three games with the Admirals.
The Rampage would bring Martin to the bench in order to bring on an extra attacker. A turnover in neutral ice allowed for Anthony Richard to pop a puck into the empty net and record his tenth goal of the season. The Admirals would cruise from there to claim the 4-1 victory and their fourth straight win.
Saros would end the night with thirty-two saves and just allowing the late power-play goal. He also recorded an assist on Lyytinen’s power-play goal. That was the second assist of his AHL career. His first assist with the Admirals came back on 4/10/16 on the road against the Charlotte Checkers. Saros is now 8-0-0-0 in eight career starts against the Rampage with a 1.73 goals against average and 0.934 save percentage.
These two are back at it on Sunday afternoon for a 3:00 PM CST start. The Admirals will then be traveling for a Wednesday night clash at the Van Andel Arena where they will see the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Wednesday there was another goaltending swap. The Nashville Predators reassigned Matt O’Connor back to the Milwaukee Admirals after an ECHL stint with the Quad City Mallards. Jake Paterson effectively has been flipped with O’Connor as he will be loaned by the Admirals to the Mallards. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Zengerle-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Pettersson-Mingoia, Labrie-Army-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Dougherty, Lyytinen-Granberg. Tonight’s scratches were: Fred Allard (healthy), Cody Bass (upper-body), Tyler Kelleher (lower-body), Andrew O’Brien (healthy), and Yakov Trenin (surgery).
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Are the Milwaukee Admirals starting to really find their identity as a team? How impressed are you with the efforts of Juuse Saros during this latest AHL stint?
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