The Milwaukee Admirals are now on a four-game losing streak following a 4-3 loss against the Ontario Reign last night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. That was a performance that left me absolutely numb. The Admirals keep having stretches, within a game, where they look and play so well only to see all that positivity get crushed by one mistake. The Admirals were up 1-0 after the first period. They rallied past a bizarre moment to get back in the lead and enter the second intermission up 2-1. And then everything crumbled by way of mistakes.
Let’s start with that first goal allowed by the Admirals. It ranks up there as one of the all-time “what was that” moments that I’ve seen. We could talk about David Leggio perhaps or get into greater detail about the rules and regulations of what happened with the net being dislodged but the entire issue rests on Anders Lindbäck‘s head. He could see Michael Amadio barrelling down on him the entire time. He passed it right at him, the puck knocked off of his skate, and the puck rests right in front of a wide open net. It was an unnecessary risk to bait a Reign player into space and launch an rush through the middle of the ice at a point when the Admirals are already leading 1-0.
The second goal is actually the one that is far more contentious. Goaltender Interference – and the AHL’s inability of allowing the Coach’s Challenge when it occurs and isn’t called. This is happening too often against the Admirals. It feels like it started with the terrible call -for- goaltender interference that negated the Admirals a goal against the Grand Rapids Griffins in the 2016 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs – where no contact with the goaltender was made at all. It then consistently has turned up these last two seasons when the Admirals concede a goal but have their goaltender knocked into or bumped that impedes them from making an adequate save on a shot that beats them. That’s what took place twenty-six seconds into the third period that provided the Reign an equalizing goal. Michael Mersch was skating to the front of the net and before he could battle for net-front position with Alex Carrier and he thumped into Lindbäck inside the crease. Matt Luff shoots and scores right into what I like to now refer to as AHL Ineptitude. The inconsistencies of the NHL and AHL rules and regulations regardless of the premise of cost has to die a death fast. It is completely embarrassing watching something such as that be cast aside and allowed to stand with no ability to utilize the existing technologies available for replay. It’s a joke. It’s a bad joke that make all involved in the league look like idiots. And it has to stop.
The third goal allowed by the Admirals is one that is see foot, shoot foot material which happened on Tuesday night in a 5-0 loss to the Cleveland Monsters at home and happened all over again with the Reign. This time around it wasn’t a 50-50 pinch at the blueline where you’re either keeping a puck in and cycling down versus allowing the shorthanded breakaway. This time Joonas Lyytinen airmails a backhanded pass from the right wing wall and there is enough time for Jonny Brodzinski to read the pass and get a jump on it while Frédérick Gaudreau is stuck planted at the point. It was a lazy play from a young attacking minded defenseman learning the game. It’s a lesson that cost the Admirals a goal. The Admirals have allowed 10 shorthanded goals this season. It is the most in the entire league. It is an inexcusable statistic.
By that point, it felt like the damage was done -but- the Reign were able to get a hard worked fourth goal. That was one where it is hard to really finger point any sort of mistake and you can really give tons of credit to the Reign in getting a shot to the net and having the traffic around the crease for the second chance opportunity. What stings is that it ended up becoming the game-winning goal. The Admirals did get one back late but the damage was already done. Two Turnovers. Two Goals. One Bad Call. One Goal. This was a game where the Admirals honestly played very well but see their own issues get the better of them. It’s grating at this point.
This has been a taxing month for the Admirals. Travel has been a big thing and they have had an inconsistent practice schedule because of it. Fatigue has also come along by way of travel, the games played, and also the way that the games have been played. This AHL All-Star break couldn’t have come at a better time. These Admirals need to physically and mentally recharge.
After last night’s game I had the chance to speak with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason as well as Emil Pettersson and Jack Dougherty. These are last night’s post-game interviews following the Admirals fourth successive regulation loss.
What were your thoughts on last night’s game? Are there drastic changes that need to be made in order for the team to start getting the puzzle pieces to fit tighter than they have been? Will the Milwaukee Admirals home heavy second half of the season make a difference or is it worrying that their form at home has been poor so far?
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