Welp, the Milwaukee Admirals weren’t about to win out for the rest of the season – as much as that would have greatly helped punch a ticket into the 2018 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. The Admirals matched up with a team on a winning streak of their own and now the Chicago Wolves are on the league’s hottest active winning streak at six-games.
It’s really how last night’s game ended that is leaving such a sour taste in the Admirals mouths. Petter Granberg was called for boarding with 3:03 remaining in regulation. After all that happened in that game, KER-BLAMMO (that wasn’t a penalty), it felt harsh for a call to decide that game. Though, that’s exactly what ended up happening. Zac Leslie scored a power-play goal for the Wolves with 1:47 remaining in regulation. The Wolves would win 4-3 and win off of that Leslie power-play goal coming off of the Granberg penalty call.
I prefer to be honest off the bat here. I didn’t see that incident for Granberg happen. It was a bit behind the play. I was puck watching during a 3-3 game. And, when I saw an arm go up, I took a look around and saw some frustrated fans and a vocal Admirals bench. It wasn’t until after the game when Nicholas Hatch asked Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason about that late power-play for the Wolves that I got the impression things were.. well, bad.
“It’s embarrassing that we’re even on the penalty kill. Our guy pushes their guy and it’s a penalty with three-minutes left in a hockey game? It’s embarrassing. It can’t happen. It just can’t happen. I’d love to go in and rip our guys for being undisciplined and taking dumb penalties. That’s ridiculous. It’s not a penalty. It’s simply not a penalty in our level or any other level – especially in a 3-3 hockey game where he gets pushed to the boards and falls down. It’s a joke.”
This is likely after getting a second look at the boarding call itself. It’s about as fired up as I have ever heard Evason and he isn’t someone I’ve known to go on a tangent like that without reason. After hearing that I was quick to double check with the returning Jimmy Oligny to get his take on the matter.
“I’d say it’s a tough call there, especially at the end of the game like that when we just tied the game. It’s a huge call and it can change the game. I don’t know. I had no problem with the call but if it would be like when it’s 3-1 in the second period but I don’t think you can call it that late. As far as the gesture. I think it was a boarding but I think it was pretty soft. It wasn’t a big boarding. It was a tough call for us.”
This is where a new thought entered my head. Does the time in which a penalty change the penalty call or is it more so the fact that so many other incidents were not called that by comparison that being called late in a game came off bad? It’s a weird conversation to have but one that comes up in a game like that. What I always prefer to see is lines firmly stated by officials for the rights and wrongs of the game. After that earlier Oligny hit that flattened Stefan Matteau into the end-boards and caused the Wolves head athletic trainer to race out on the ice? When that isn’t called for anything you’re setting yourself up for more plays to see where the line is. Granberg might have just been guilty of finding that line and doing so as regulation was about to end.
Beyond the penalty itself: the Admirals had a penalty kill to work through. That didn’t work out and it’s a shame. Talk out of that game could have been continued brilliance by the part of Anthony Richard, Frédérick Gaudreau, or a solid showing for Troy Grosenick in his debut as an Admiral in Milwaukee. Instead it ends up being this toxic talk about a single game deciding penalty.
There could be finger pointing here. There certainly is frustration. None of that changes the result. What you hope for now is that the message of last night’s game gets learned from and that the emotions get channeled the right way for the Admirals tonight against the Rockford IceHogs. The Admirals can’t afford to get caught up in setbacks or the past. They need to keep focused on right now. And right now the IceHogs have had today’s game circled on their calendar for a week’s time. They are ready. The Admirals need to match them and beat them.
After last night’s game we did catch up with Evason as well as Oligny and Richard. These were last night’s post-game comments from the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
What were your thought’s on last night’s game? Did you get a good look at the boarding call against Petter Granberg and, if so, what did you make of the decision and Dean Evason’s post-game comments? Is this the loss the Milwaukee Admirals narrowly avoided for three of the four games they won during that winning streak?
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