The Milwaukee Admirals won 3-2 in overtime against the Iowa Wild at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena on Sunday evening.
A late goal by Fred Allard helped force overtime in a chippy contest against the Wild. After a rough and tumble moment earlier in the night it seemed destined for Trevor Smith to score on Niklas Svedberg. He did and did so in overtime. The Admirals playoff hopes remain alive.
“[Fred Allard] made a great shot and I think when that happened that sure sparked us up and lifted up the spirits on the bench,” said Milwaukee Admirals forward Justin Kirkland after the game. “We knew we need these two points. We’re fighting for our lives. Great play by [Jimmy Oligny] there to get [Trevor Smith] the puck and good finish by him going to the net.”
The Admirals got on the board first today and did so with Justin Kirkland notching his seventh goal of the season. Jack Dougherty was firing a shot from the far right blueline on net that Niklas Svedberg was able to stop. The rebound however knuckled out in front of the Wild netminder and Kirkland skated in and smacked the rebound home for a 1-0 Admirals lead.
Towards the end of the first period there was a scrap. Brandon Bollig matched up with Kurtis Gabriel in the AHL’s heavyweight division. Bollig had the better of the exchanges standing up and then got the takedown for good measure. That’s a 10-8 round for Bollig in the fight card.
The second period would be odd, to say the least. The Admirals had a five-on-three power-play chance that they burned their timeout on only to see it go bust when Trevor Smith got into a slight dust up with the Wild’s goaltender. The Admirals outshot the Wild 16-2 in the frame but it was the Wild who got on the board midway through the contest.
Zach Palmquist snapped a shot from the point that looked to be going straight into the glove of Troy Grosenick. The problem is that Gerald Mayhew was right on top of the crease and got a tip on the shot for the redirect and his fifteenth goal of the season.
With 4:36 remaining in regulation the Wild took a 2-1 lead. Sam Anas skated in off the low left wing circle and put a wrister over the right pad of Grosenick to record his twenty-sixth goal of the season.
This would be followed up quickly by the Admirals. Fred Allard would loop off the left wing wall and back into the circle before rifling a wrister past Svedberg with 3:13 remaining making it a 2-2 game. Allard’s goal was his eighth of the season.
“That was unbelievable,” said Smith of the Allard goal. “He’s been pretty clutch for us. He has scored a lot of game-tying goals for us and the way he plays he has a lot of promise in his future.”
“They had scored a goal but we were all over them I think the whole game,” said Allard of scoring so quickly after the late Wild goal. “I think that good leadership out there helps us.”
That would force overtime to be played. The pace was ludicrous and the Admirals would open up for an odd-man rush that was Smith end a two-on-one all by himself. He cut hard back to the backhand, botched the final finish, but had time to push the puck across the line before get could get closed down. Smith had his seventeenth goal of the season and the Admirals playoff lives continue to Tuesday night.
“You pick your spots when you’re trying to do something like that,” said Smith of getting a last laugh on Svedberg. “To score the game-winner and get the two points that’s the most important part.”
The Admirals return to home ice Tuesday night when they host the Chicago Wolves at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena. That same night the Rockford IceHogs will be playing on the road against the Wild. If the Admirals lose in any way shape or form -or- if the IceHogs earn a single point: the Admirals will be eliminated from playoff contention.
“One at a time. That’s what we’re focusing on,” said Smith of the road ahead. “Just make sure we play our game and try to keep our hopes alive.”
Ramblings: Since the Milwaukee Admirals played last night there were no roster moves made by the organization. Today’s line combinations and defensive pairings were: Zolnierczyk-Pettersson-Gaudreau, Richard-Smith-McNeill, Kirkland-Gaudet-Butler, Bollig-Trenin-Moy, Oligny-Dougherty, Carrier-Ramage, Allard-Granberg. Today’s scratches were: Cody Bass (upper-body), Joonas Lyytinen (undisclosed), Trevor Mingoia (undisclosed), Zeb Knutson (healthy), and Mark Zengerle (undisclosed).
What is your reaction to today’s game? What happened on that initial Trevor Smith scrum that caused chaos to spill over as it did? Can the Milwaukee Admirals extend their playoff hopes beyond Tuesday and into the final weekend of the regular season?
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