Bad Blood; Admirals Lose 6-3 in Manitoba

(Photo Credit: Jonathan Kozub)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 6-3 on the road against the Manitoba Moose at the Bell MTS Place on Wednesday night.

Things at home haven’t been great for the Central Division leaders but the Moose snapped their five-game home losing streak tonight. Yet, the skill displayed took a backseat to the lunacy of one Brendan Lemieux who triggered a brawl and subsequent goalie fight by taking a shot after the final horn sounded tonight.

The Moose would net the opener tonight with a power-play goal in the first period. Joonas Lyytinen gave JC Lipon a hard ride into the boards and his stick elevated back up into Lipon’s visor to draw a high sticking minor.

That was set the stage for Michael Sgarbossa to deliver a wrister from the right wing that appeared to deflect around Brendan Lemieux and kick up on Anders Lindbäck, The Swede made the initial save with the right toe but Buddy Robinson followed through to pop up the loose puck over the right pad to score his twenty-second goal of the season.

The Admirals power-play would get a response instantly out of the gate in the second period. Sami Niku was called for a slash. After an Alex Carrier dump-in the puck would get raced down behind the net by Frédérick Gaudreau who would find Mark McNeill all alone at the bottom of the face-off circles for a one-timer that torched Jamie Phillips. The goal for McNeill was his sixth of the season and his first scored as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals.

Lemieux’s lightning rod behavior would then take over in the second period. He used his excellent speed to fly down the left wing and manage to flip a shot from right on the goal line over the shoulder of Lindbäck to the short-side post to record his fourteenth goal of the season. Lemieux gave the Moose a 2-1 lead and would then injure Admirals defenseman Jimmy Oligny on a late hit behind the play on the following face-off. Oligny would not return to the contest.

The Moose would add another goal in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Jansen Harkins was able to fight through to a puck battle in the left wing pocket and the Admirals would be guilt of puck watching as he found Mason Appleton all alone as he entered the attacking zone. The pass went to Appleton’s tape, he glided across towards the right wing, and wired a shot top shelf on Lindbäck for his seventeenth goal of the season.

Lemieux wouldn’t be done with the Admirals. In the third period he stationed himself right in front of Lindbäck and was able to deflect a shot from the right point by Charles-David Beaudoin that went above the glove for his second tally of the night and fifteenth goal of the season.

Gaudreau’s hot goal scoring run would continue into this game. He was able to win a puck battle along the low left wing boards and continue to fend off pressure all the way around the back of the cage. He would skate up into the low right wing from behind the net, glance up, and whip a wrister top shelf on Phillips for his fourteenth goal of the season and tenth goal scored in the Admirals last eleven games played.

Wisconsin native Appleton would continue his incredible play against the Admirals this season by helping Chase De Leo get an answer to Gaudreau’s goal less than two minutes later. Appleton ran that gauntlet along the right wing, fought through the backcheck of Gaudreau, and find himself breaking to the net before guiding a perfect pass backpost for De Leo to tap home for his tenth goal of the season.

In one of the more wild moments of the season the Admirals closed the gap to make the game 5-3 on a goal that was only awarded after video review. There was a massive scramble around Phillips and the Moose goal crease and a puck had kicked out towards Fred Allard whose follow up shot popped up into the air, fell behind Phillips, and was swiped away from the crease by Tucker Poolman. Yakov Trenin and Anthony Richard seemed convinced at the time that the puck crossed the line. Upon further review the officials determined they were correct. Allard’s fourth goal of the season clawed the Moose lead back to two goals.

With 2:22 remaining in regulation the Admirals would bring Lindbäck to the bench to go empty net and extra attacker on. Appleton would secure the empty netter for the Moose moments later and took a high stick towards his left ear from Admirals captain Trevor Smith en route to his second goal of the night and eighteenth on the season.

The game should have ended at a 6-3 final with the Moose winning. It however did not end so lightly. After the final horn sounded Lemieux put a hard shot on Lindbäck. That triggered a minor brawl to spill as all Admirals on the ice wanted to get a piece of Lemieux. He would head for the hills as his teammates took his place. Richard had the red mist and quickly squared off with Kirill Gotovets. That would be followed by the goalies going at it with Lindbäck using all of his size to manhandle Phillips. The two would stand-off a bit longer after the dust settled before finally exiting the ice.

This was the last trip of the 2017-18 regular season to Manitoba. The Admirals and Moose play one more time and that takes place on March 7th with the second School Day Game of the season at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. As if anyone needed an additional reason to attend one of those games with such a loud atmosphere. That one has certainly been circled in red on all Admirals calendars ASAP.

The current four-game road trip now shifts way down South. The Admirals are off to play against the Texas Stars at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Those games will take place on Friday and Saturday night.

Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played on Monday afternoon there was an official and unofficial roster move made. The Nashville Predators assigned goaltender Matt O’Connor from the Manchester Monarchs to the Wichita Thunder in the ECHL. There was then news that Mathieu Olivier, currently finishing his major junior career with the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL, signed his first professional contract and did so with the Milwaukee Admirals. There was no official news made on the Olivier signing but Sherbooke played tonight and will have a further nine-games to play in their 2017-18 regular season schedule. It is likely a more formal announcement will be made once their season comes to an end. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-McNeill, Richard-Trenin-Gaudreau, Kirkland-Pettersson-Moy, Labrie-Army-Mingoia, Lyytinen-Granberg, Oligny-Carrier, Murphy-Allard. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (upper-body), Jack Dougherty (illness), and Mark Zengerle (late scratch due to illness).

What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? What is it with the Milwaukee Admirals and the second period this season and especially these last few games? Do you feel the AHL should take another look at the hit Brendan Lemieux delivered that injured Jimmy Oligny as well as him triggering a post-game brawl? How do the Admirals respond this weekend after a long flight down in Texas?

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