The Milwaukee Admirals won 4-1 against the Rockford IceHogs at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Friday night.
After scoring in the opening two minutes: the Admirals hit a bit of a lull. With just seven shots through two periods it was a feat of its own to be tied heading to the third. The Admirals would break out in a big way, however, scoring three goals within four minutes to pull away late. Backed by Emil Pettersson’s two goals, and Anders Lindbäck’s strong play, the Admirals put an end to their three-game skid.
“We talked after the game that two points is two points,” commented Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “Obviously it wasn’t how we drew it up but [Lindbäck] was really good, held us in there.”
The new-look Admirals struck early in this one thanks to Emil Pettersson’s eleventh goal of the season. Just fifty-two seconds into the first period, Adam Clendening was whistled for slashing and the Admirals went on the power-play. Shortly after, Alex Carrier found a wide-open Emil Pettersson at the right-wing circle and fired a wrister past Jeff Glass near-side for the power-play goal.
After being outshot 7-2 in the opening period, the Admirals were outshot again in the second and trailed 22-7 in shots through two full periods. That was the least amount of shots by the Admirals in any single period this season. The previous low was three back in the third period against the Cleveland Monsters at home on 11/22/17.
“If you look at the shots you could see we didn’t create much offense but I didn’t think we played bad,” stated Emil Pettersson. “I still think we had good offensive opportunities. A lot of shots got blocked and missed the net.”
The IceHogs would get on the board in the second period on a power-play score from Cody Franson. Harry Zolnierczyk was called for a cross-check and the IceHogs went on the power-play. A loose puck in front of the crease was batted around and cleared by Jack Dougherty but ended up right in the stick of Cody Franson as he found the back of the net for his fourth goal of the season. It was Franson’s first game back in Milwaukee since 3/5/10 when he was a member of the Admirals.
The score would remain unchanged until late in the third period after the IceHogs committed a turnover in their own zone that would prove costly. With 5:07 remaining in regulation Emil Pettersson found Mark Zengerle, who then found Frederick Allard at the left-wing circle and deposited the puck into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the season giving the Admirals a 2-1 lead.
A few minutes after Allard’s goal, Emil Pettersson found the back of the net for his second goal of the night. From the end boards, Mark Zengerle found a cutting Pettersson in front of the net as he squeaked a shot past Jeff Glass for his twelfth goal of the season.
With 2:33 remaining in regulation, and the IceHogs down by a pair of goals, Glass was called to the bench for the extra skater. Mark McNeill would manage to fight through to the empty net and bag his seventh tally of the season to give the Admirals a 4-1 lead. The Admirals scored three goals in a span of 3:36 with 5:07 remaining in regulation to earn the victory tonight. The Admirals had only nine shots on goal prior to the deadlock being broken.
This was a fantastic game for Lindbäck. The Swede stopped 24/25 shots he faced en route to earning his twenty-third win of the season. He allowed the Admirals to weather the storm until the offense struck late.
“[IceHogs] were better than us in the first two periods,” said Anders Lindbäck after the game. “They really came hard. They’re a fast team that have a lot of skilled forwards. We managed to stick around in the game. In the third period I thought we managed it well and pulled out those goals when we needed it to. It was obviously a huge win for us.”
Strangely enough, the Admirals were outshot 22-7 through two periods and 25-12 in the entire game. Although they did not have as many scoring opportunities as the IceHogs, they still managed to put up four goals in the contest.
The Milwaukee Admirals will head to Grand Rapids for a match up with the Griffins at the Van Andel Arena on Saturday night before returning home to face off against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday to complete the weekend three-in-three.
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played there have been several notable moves made. The Nashville Predators traded Pontus Åberg to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Mark Letestu before quickly trading him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for their fourth round draft pick. The Predators then acquired Brandon Bollig and Troy Grosenick from the San Jose Sharks organization in exchange for a sixth round draft pick. The Predators then made two deals on NHL Trade Deadline Day. The first saw them acquire Ryan Hartman and a fifth round pick from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Victor Ejdsell as well as a first and fourth round pick. The second was an Admirals specific trade that saw Trevor Murphy and Pierre-Cédric Labrie traded away to the Arizona Coyotes organization for Tyler Gaudet and John Ramage. An extension to that trade also saw Derek Army traded by the Admirals to the Tucson Roadrunners for future considerations. All picks exchanged were for the 2018 NHL Draft. Adding to the joyousness of all this roster activity was Matt O’Connor being assigned by the Predators to the Wheeling Nailers. It is O’Connor’s fifth different ECHL team of 2017-18 season. He joins Wheeling who now have their captain Army back because he was immediately reassigned by Tucson upon arrival from his trade with Milwaukee. Additionally, Bobby Butler returned to the Admirals after his time with Team USA for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive parings were: Zolnierczyk-Smith-Butler, Richard-Gaudet-Gaudreau, Bollig-Pettersson-Zengerle, Kirkland-McNeill-Moy, Allard-Dougherty, Lyytinen-Granberg, Carrier-Ramage. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (upper-body), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), Jimmy Oligny (upper-body), and Yakov Trenin (healthy).
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? What were your first impressions on the Admirals’ recent acquisitions? Do you think the new acquisitions will bring a new energy to this team in the stretch run?
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