The Milwaukee Admirals won 5-4 against the Stockton Heat at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Sunday night.
The Admirals swept the three-in-three weekend and this was one of the wildest games of the season. The Admirals were in a constant uphill battle. They took their first lead late in the third period and managed to fend off a late power-play chance from the Heat to make it a four-game winning streak.
“What we liked about tonight’s game was how disciplined we were,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “We’ve had some problems with some penalties in the past that their team struggled a little bit with. We stayed composed. We seemed to do a lot more good things in tonight’s hockey game than poor things.”
The Heat would get on the board first tonight and do so with a five-on-three power-play chance. Mark Zengerle was called for a hook and that was followed by a tripping call against Anthony Richard. The Heat had fifty-two seconds of five-on-three power-play to work with and Tyler Wotherspoon roofed a shot from atop the slot for his sixth goal of the season.
The start to the second period was a goal fest. The Admirals and Heat would exchange a pair of goals each in the opening ten minutes of the frame.
Trevor Smith would ring a shot off the post from the left wing that bucked out to the right wing wall. Alex Carrier would cradle the loose puck and pass across to Frédérick Gaudreau in the near circle where he smashed a one-timer past Tyler Parsons for his eighth goal of the season.
Goaltending gaffes or bad turnovers around the cage are becoming sadly frequent for the Admirals of late. Jake Paterson was attempting to handle a puck in the trapezoid but fumbled it right to Emile Poirier who simply had to pass to the slot for Mike McMurtry to score into an empty net. The easy strike for Murtry was his first goal of the season.
The Admirals would generate a turnover of their own that would tie things at 2-2. Tyler Moy skated in with speed and was able to swipe a puck off the tape of Josh Healey right in front of Parsons. Moy would then snap a wrister and score his fifth goal of the season.
The ups and downs of the second period weren’t done. Andrew Mangiapane was able to get a net front redirect from a Colby Robak shot from the right point that flipped up on Paterson and in for his seventeenth goal of the season and give the Heat a 3-2 lead.
In the late stages of the second period the Heat decided they really loved the comforts of the penalty box in Milwaukee and couldn’t stop visiting it. The Admiras had sustained goes of five-on-three power-play chances and they would bury the first chance on the two-man advantage. Emil Pettersson had a one-timer from the low right wing that Parson’s fought off. The rebound fell kindly for Gaudreau to zip in and push home for his second goal of the game and ninth of the season.
“I think we probably could have cashed in even more,” said Frédérick Gaudreau of the extended five-on-three power-play chances late in the second period. “We had a really long time in five-on-three. At least we scored a goal and put us back in the game.”
The Admirals would take their first lead of the night with 7:05 remaining in regulation. Derek Army and Tyler Moy were buzzing around the net and Army would snap a turn-around shot from the low right wing. Parsons had an initial save but the puck fell over to his stick side and Pierre-Cédric Labrie had himself a rebound goal for his fifth of the season to give the Admirals a 4-3 lead.
“We didn’t lose our composure in penalty areas and then we didn’t lose our composure when we had adverse situations,” said Evason. “We just stayed the course and stayed very level.”
Following a hooking call against Zolnierczyk the Admirals were able to score shorthanded. Yakov Trenin forced a turnover that triggered a two-on-none breakaway in the Admirals attacking zone. The Russian nearly lost the handle of the puck but got a pass across from the left wing to the back door where Smith smacked in his ninth goal of the season to extend the Admirals lead to 5-3.
On that shorthanded goal for Smith the resulting crash that came on the backcheck clobbered Parsons in net for the Heat. He needed assistance to leave the ice and was replaced by Jon Gillies. Parsons had stopped 23/28 shots on goal prior to leaving the game late in the third period.
That power-play for the Heat was still alive and well after the shorthanded goal. Paterson was in full scramble mode and was way away from his net when Mangiapane decided to work a wrap-around shot for his second tally of the night and eighteenth goal of the season. The Heat instantly cut the deficit back to one-goal.
With 1:25 remaining in regulation Gillies made his way to the bench to bring on the extra attacker. That would be followed by a tripping minor by Fred Allard with 59.6 remaining in regulation to give the Heat a late power-play. They used their timeout. And they would run out of time as the Admirals held on to secure their fourth straight win and sweep the three-in-three weekend.
This game marked the very first career win in the short AHL career of Paterson. He stopped 23/27 shots on goal in the win. It was only his fourth career start in the AHL after having an ECHL career that spans 90 games over four seasons.
“Yep, first career AHL win,” smiled Jake Paterson after the game. “It feels good. It feels like a weight being lifted off your shoulder. I think it was a good game tonight. Our guys played really well and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
“What you see in him is his work ethic before he gets into this game,” said Evason of Paterson. “We were so excited for him and to give him the opportunity to battle for his teammates. Because he’s the guy that day in and day out he’s staying out late [at practice], he’s a positive influence in the room and practice.”
The Admirals continue on at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena this coming week with a pair of games. They will see the San Antonio Rampage once again on Wednesday night and then the Texas Stars on Saturday night. The Admirals will then head up to Manitoba where they begin the first of a four game road trip.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made within the organization. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Trenin-Smith-Kirkland, Zolnierczyk-Zengerle-McNeill, Richard-Pettersson-Gaudreau, Labrie-Army-Moy, Oligny-Dougherty, Lyytinen-Granberg, Allard-Carrier. Tonight’s scratches were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), Trevor Murphy (upper-body), and Rick Pinkston (healthy).
What is your reaction to tonight’s game? How did you think this game went with all the chaos? Does it say a lot about the Milwaukee Admirals character that they managed to rally back the entire game and earn a win?
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