The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-2 on the road against the Texas Stars at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park on Saturday night.
The Admirals started this four-game road trip with a 3-2 win against the Manitoba Moose. They end it having lost three consecutive games in regulation and conceding fourteen goals. They have now fallen to sixth place in the Central Division standings with twenty-one games remaining in the regular season.
The Admirals were able to get on the board early in the first period to claim their first lead of the season over the Stars. Frédérick Gaudreau forced a turnover off of Brent Regner along the left wing wall in the Admirals attacking zone. Once Gaudreau rolled away with the puck he quickly picked out Trevor Smith in the slot for a one-timer that gave the Admirals captain his tenth goal of the season.
It appeared that Smith gave the Admirals a 2-0 lead in the second period after a deflection on a Jack Dougherty shot. Smith reacted as though the puck snuck past McKenna and across the line yet the officials quickly waved it off. After a video review the officials stayed with the no goal call.
After the game, Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia would tell Aaron Sims on 105.7 FM The Fan that the officials told the Admirals bench that the video froze and they had to go with the initial call on the ice.
Brian Flynn then thought it would be a great idea to start a grappling match with an unwilling combatant in Petter Granberg in front of the Stars bench. Despite trying to flee the area for more than ten-seconds the officials called both to the box for roughing.
What would follow on four-on-four play was a nightmare for the Admirals. The Stars scored twice in fourteen seconds to take a 2-1 lead. The Admirals then decided to use their timeout to try to calm the situation down but would allow a goal forty-two seconds after using that timeout as former-Admiral Andrew O’Brien scored his first goal of the season.
The damage wasn’t done there, either. Travis Morin added to the destruction after getting his eighth goal of the season that came from a juicy rebound. The Stars lead 4-1 and scored all four-goals in the span of 3:53 of ice time.
With the third period came an Admirals team that was being too aggressive looking to rally back. They committed numbers too far forward, including defenseman Trevor Murphy, and it would allow the Stars to counter with an odd-man rush. After a shot by Dillon Heatherington there was no one near Justin Dowling on the doorstep to help out Anders Lindbäck. Dowling had an easy rebound tally to make it a 5-1 game from his ninth goal of the season.
There would be a fight between Derek Army and Matt Mangene late in the contest. While there really weren’t many punches thrown or landed the grappling exchange went the way of Army by the end of the scrap.
The Admirals did get one final strike through to end the five-goal run for the Stars. Justin Kirkland received a pass from Emil Pettersson that sent him loose down the face-off circles. Kirkland would snap a backhander bardown against McKenna’s stick-side for his fifth goal of the season.
That would end the scoring on the night and the Stars earned a 5-2 win. McKenna was solid once again against the Admirals to earn his third win of the season in this match-up and has stopped 99/102 shots on goal in the process.
This game was the last for the Admirals in the state of Texas on the 2017-18 season. It also ended their four-game road trip and the slate of games for the month of February. The Admirals don’t have a game scheduled until this coming Friday but it will signal in the start of a marathon three-in-three weekend: Rockford IceHogs on Friday at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, on the road Saturday night against the Grand Rapids Griffins at the Van Andel Arena, and a return to home ice on Sunday evening when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins return to Milwaukee for the first time since the 2004 AHL Calder Cup Finals.
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: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Gaudreau, Richard-Zengerle-McNeill, Kirkland-Pettersson-Mingoia, Labrie-Army-Moy, Murphy-Dougherty, Lyytinen-Granberg, Allard-Carrier. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (upper-body), Jimmy Oligny (upper-body), and Yakov Trenin (healthy).
What is your reaction to tonight’s game and this four-game road trip for the Milwaukee Admirals? How concerned are your right now that the Admirals window to get into the 2018 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs is closing with all of these bad results? Is this season salvageable? What was it about the Texas Stars that frustrated the Admirals the last two night?
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