The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 in a shootout against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
For the second time in two months: the Admirals have swept a weekend three-in-three. The new-look Admirals now find themselves sitting in fifth place of the Central Division standings. Anders Lindbäck’s thirty-eight save effort stole the show tonight, forced overtime, and he and Anthony Richard closed out the shootout in style.
“[Lindbäck] has been -the- guy, not our guy, -the- guy,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of his goaltender. “And he continues to do that. We just feel so confident in him. He’s been everything on and off the ice.”
Wearing the “A” patch on his jersey for the first time as an Admiral, Frédérick Gaudreau got the Admirals on the board first with a shorthanded goal. Emil Pettersson was whistled for hooking and then the Admirals penalty kill had Anthony Richard’s speed to trigger a counter attack. He triggered a two-on-nothing attack down the the left wing and then dished the puck to a wide open Gaudreau for a tap in and his fifteenth goal of the season.
After a barrage of shots on goal, the Penguins finally found the back of the net with less than two minutes to play in the first period. Ethan Prow took the puck and went untouched from the right point and fired a shot past traffic and Anders Lindbäck to tie the game at one apiece.
Reverting back to old habits, the Admirals were once again outshot in the opening period by a wide margin. After being outshot 8-2 in the first period of Friday night’s game, the Admirals were outshot 20-5 in the first period tonight.
“I think they came out with a mindset of shooting the puck which creates zone time and to steer in the rebounds,” said Anders Lindbäck of the Penguins opening flurry of shots. “I thought we did a good job. We did a good job of clearing guys out in front of me so I could scoop the rebounds that were there.”
In the second period, Petter Granberg made a questionable hit on Adam Johnson into the boards and the play was whistled dead for boarding. However, Tom Kostopolous wasn’t having it and decided to pick a fight with Granberg. The two went after each other and were split apart after Granberg brought Kostopolous to the ice.
Later in the period, Anthony Richard gave the Admirals the lead on his thirteenth goal of the season. Mark Zengerle had the puck behind the net as Richard skated down the slot and took Zengerle’s pass right in front of the goal and delivered a strike past Anthony Peters for the his thirteenth goal of the season.
“I think when you’re unable to score you just try to pick out a small corner in the net and you miss good chances,” said Anthony Richard. “Last night I missed a lot of chances, just missed the net. Just tried to shoot on the net tonight and keep things simple offensively. It worked, and I’ll keep that for the next games coming.”
With 1:21 left in the third period, Anthony Peters skated to the bench for an extra Penguin attacker. The Penguins were able to take advantage of the 6-on-5 situation as Josh Jooris tied the game at two with just 39.3 seconds remaining in regulation. Jean-Sébastien Dea took a slap shot from the right-wing circle and was scooped up by Jooris on the rebound as he snuck a shot past Anders Lindback.
With the game knotted at two, we headed to overtime. This was the second time this season the Admirals and Penguins have gone to overtime, with the Penguins prevailing the first time in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton back on 12/1/17.
With neither team able to score in the overtime period, we headed to a shootout. In the first round, both Justin Kirkland and Christian Thomas scored. In the second, both Frédérick Gaudreau and Daniel Sprong missed. In the third, both Bobby Butler and Jean-Sébastien Dea missed. In the fourth and final round, Anthony Richard scored and Garrett Wilson was stopped by Anders Lindbäck to secure the Admirals’ 3-2 victory.
The shootout victory now makes the Admirals seven-for-eight in shootouts this season. Not only that, but the Admirals now move into fifth place past the Rockford IceHogs in the Central Division with the tonight’s result.
Both starting goalies were very solid in this one. Anthony Peters stopped 20/22 shots he faced, while Anders Lindbäck stopped 38/40 shots he faced. Lindbäck was once again outstanding for the Admirals, making some incredible saves throughout the regulation and overtime periods. Most importantly, Lindbäck made the game-winning save against Garrett Wilson in the shootout en route to his twenty-fourth win of the season.
The Milwaukee Admirals will now have a few days off before a 10:30 AM CST face-off with the division-leading Manitoba Moose on Wednesday. It will be the first time these two have played since a post-game fracas that resulted in a goalie fight between Lindbäck and Jamie Phillips.
“I don’t think their goalie is going to come down,” laughed Lindbäck. “It’s going to be a quiet one! We will see.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals last played on Friday night, there have been no roster moves made within the organization. Prior to tonight’s game Harry Zolnierczyk was suspended for one-game by the AHL for a “kicking incident” Friday night against the Rockford IceHogs. Zolnierczyk will be back in action on Wednesday. Tonight’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Kirkland-Smith-Butler, Richard-Gaudet-Gaudreau, Bollig-Pettersson-Zengerle, Trenin-McNeill-Moy, Lyytinen-Granberg, Allard-Dougherty, Carrier-Ramage. Tonight’s scratches included: Cody Bass (upper-body), Trevor Mingoia (healthy), Jimmy Oligny (upper-body), and Harry Zolnierczyk (suspended).
What were your thoughts on tonight’s game? Was this weekend sweep the spark the Milwaukee Admirals needed? How impressed have you been with how quickly the team seems to have gelled?
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