The Milwaukee Admirals were shutout 1-0 this afternoon by the Texas Stars. The loss snapped a five-game point streak and ended the last of a four-game homestand on a bit of a down note. Yet, if you were to really put this game under an electron microscope, I think you would be hard pressed to find too many glaring positives or negatives for either team. This was simply a grinding defensive game with a wild bounce resulting in the game’s only goal. The chances for either to generate quality chances, even from the power-play, were almost nonexistent.
What will probably stand out the most for me on this game was the Admirals power-play. It hasn’t been delivering enough lately but today looked detached and at times worse than how the Admirals were generating offense at five-on-five. When the game is played that tightly the chance to capitalize from a man-advantage is paramount to achieving a successful result. The Admirals earned themselves five chances on the power-play today. That’s a really good thing and they also didn’t tax themselves too badly with their own trips to the penalty box. But to have all of those chances and not get a goal? That’s why today’s game doesn’t even see a point earned for all the work done.
And this is where I get bummed out from a game like this. The Admirals defensively may have just stamped out one of their better start to finish games of the entire 2017-18 season. Anders Lindbäck was terrific. The defense and forward groups were all working really quick and effective with sticks in lane, sticks on puck, and getting pucks out of their own zone. All of that almost feels lost though by the result – and the only goal that decided the result came from a fluky bounce off of the end boards and an astonishing piece of hand-eye coordination from Sheldon Dries to swat a puck out of mid-air with a swing on his backhand. That’s all there was. And it saps what should be a positive feeling for the defense of the Admirals taking a good step forward as a group.
What comes next is a four-game road trip. One that even in terms of the schedule and travel could be mentally and physically taxing. The Admirals are heading up to see the Central Division leading Manitoba Moose on Monday afternoon and Wednesday night. They will then see these Stars in their own barn, the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, on Friday and Saturday night. That is a sprint and a marathon all in one go. The Admirals will need to be ready come 2:00 PM CST at the Bell MTS Place in Manitoba.
After today’s game myself and Nicholas Hatch spoke with Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. We then were able to speak with former Admirals and now members of the Texas Stars: defenseman Andrew O’Brien and forward Tyler Kelleher. I must preface that in the O’Brien interview a security guard walked into our chat at random to ask if I had a black truck – I do not. Then in the Kelleher interview there were numerous cameo appearances that include: Tyler Moy holding a water bottle like a microphone and asking a question, Admirals assistant equipment manager Adam Kocsis, and French speaking TSN corespondent Jimmy Oligny. These were today’s interviews.
What were your thoughts on today’s game? Would your impression on the Milwaukee Admirals have dramatically swayed if they had won 1-0 as opposed to being shutout 1-0 by the Texas Stars? With an defensive game of this magnitude does it help or hurt the Admirals as they next face the Central Division leading Manitoba Moose and their high octane offense?
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