The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves at the Allstate Arena on Friday night.
The Wolves entered this game with a ten game winning streak on home ice. That continues forward on the strength of a natural hat trick from Stefan Matteau. The skid for the Admirals has now reached five straight defeats. This is the longest losing streak by the Admirals since the 2014-15 season when they lost seven consecutive games in January 2015. That season the Admirals missed the playoffs.
It was a very grinding start to the game as far as trips to the penalty box were concerned. The two combined for seven infractions in the first period. And it would be the Wolves that were able to take advantage of the power-play opportunities. Stefan Matteau was able to skate around Alex Carrier on the left wing before beating Anders Lindbäck with a wrist shot high glove. This was the eighth successive game where the Admirals have allowed a power-play goal.
In the second period another recent trend of late for the Admirals turned its ugly head into the picture. Petter Granberg was attempting to keep a puck pinned on the blueline to sustain an Admirals attacking zone only to see it get fumbled and allow a breakaway the opposite direction. Matteau was one-on-one with Lindbäck from center ice and had enough time and space that he was able to get his own rebound off his initially stopped shot in for his second goal of the game.
Matteau would clean up more Admirals turnovers in the second period en route to recording a natural hat trick. Pierre-Cédric Labrie coughed up a puck in the right wing corner while battling with Beau Bennett and the puck trickled free into the low right wing circle for Matteau to snap a shot past the stick side of Lindbäck to complete the hat trick and record his eleventh goal of the season.
Labrie would amend that mistake with fifty-five seconds remaining in the second period. Chris Casto lost the handle skating back around in his defensive zone and the puck would get forced over to Anthony Richard who would pass back to the left wing for Labrie to snap a shot through Kasimir Kaskisuo to make it a 3-1 deficit for the Admirals on his fourth goal of the season.
With 2:25 remaining in regulation the Wolves iced the puck and the Admirals decided to not use their timeout or bring Lindbäck to the bench for the extra attacker. They won the face-off and got a quick shot on net but once again didn’t use their timeout or bring on the extra attacker. The next face-off would see Trevor Murphy forced into an interference penalty moments later and the Admirals hopes of a late push was squashed.
Lindbäck would make his way to the bench and get the extra attacker on with less than forty-seconds remaining. In a moment that summed up this current run the Wolves would score on the empty net as Granberg spun around in the defensive zone, fanned on a pass, fell down scrambling to recover, and Paul Thompson had a tap in for his fourteenth goal of the season. It was a goal that also counted as a power-play goal with Murphy in the box.
The Admirals are back in action tomorrow night when they face the Manitoba Moose at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. It will be the first of two-games played against the Central Division leaders as the Admirals will also be playing against the Moose at home on Tuesday night, as well.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played there were no roster moves made in or out of the team. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Zengerle-Gaudreau, Trenin-Pettersson-Kelleher, Labrie-Kirkland-Moy, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Granberg, Allard-Dougherty. Tonight’s scratches included: Derek Army (healthy), Cody Bass (upper-body), Joonas Lyytinen (healthy), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), and Andrew O’Brien (healthy). This game marked the return of Tyler Kelleher who missed the last fifteen games due to a fractured patella.
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Why are the Milwaukee Admirals consistently shooting themselves in the foot this season? Is this getting to the point where a more drastic change is needed for the Admirals to get back on track or is the idea of them never really being on track to begin with this season just part of the issue?
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