Yesterday’s Future Stars Game at the Bridgestone Arena marked the end of Nashville Predators Development Camp. Team Gold would win 5-3 over Team Blue with invitee Zach Magwood stealing the show by recording a hat trick on the night.
Nashville Predators Development Camp returned to the ice this afternoon after yesterday’s community activities around the city. The lengthy session was the final series of practices before tomorrow night’s Future Stars Game at the Bridgestone Arena.
This morning’s on-ice activities for Nashville Predators Development Camp were split into two sessions. The first group out focused on the defensemen in camp. That would be followed by all the forwards. This all taking place following a grueling 7AM track session at Vanderbilt University.
The Nashville Predators Development Camp festivities are off and running. Day 1 at Centennial Sportsplex is in the books and provided fans the chance to get to see some of what the prospect pool has to offer. It also saw the likes of Scott Ford and Wade Redden running practice as well as a coaching presence from Scott Nichol, Ben Vanderklok, and David Rook.
When the chips were down and the Milwaukee Admirals needed to luck out on three consecutive calls of all-in at the Central Division poker table – they were in trouble. The Admirals would get eliminated on Tuesday night but followed up with successive defeats to the Iowa Wild to end the 2017-18 season. The 4-2 loss yesterday meant that the Wild would leap the Admirals for fifth place in the division across the finish line. That only added one final low to a season of countless ups-and-downs.
The fate of the Milwaukee Admirals was out of their control last night. First, they needed to win against the Chicago Wolves. But, most importantly, they couldn’t see the Rockford IceHogs so much as earn a single point on the road against the Iowa Wild. It was tight rope walking and yet there were flashes last night in which it seemed it was all going to come good.
By the time the Admirals had to go empty net and extra attacker: the IceHogs were leading 4-3 in Iowa. By the time Harry Zolnierczyk scored with 29.6 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime in Milwaukee: the IceHogs had scored an empty netter to cement their place into the 2018 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs and eliminate the Admirals from contention. It was a gut punch and it would be followed later on by the Admirals losing in a place they just haven’t done so much this season – in a shootout.
The Milwaukee Admirals weekend got off to a rough start. In fact, if not for the Texas Stars scoring three goals in the third period to beat the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 on Saturday night – the Admirals would have been eliminated from playoff contention then and there. The Chicago Wolves beat the Admirals soundly. And, yesterday, the Admirals played a decent game but weren’t getting rewarded for it only to see the Iowa Wild take a 2-1 lead with 4:36 remaining in regulation.
This is when the Admirals could have caved in, broke mentally, and succumbed to what has been a season defined by ups and downs. What happened instead was Fred Allard scoring 1:23 later to force overtime and then Trevor Smith scoring 1:33 into the overtime period to secure a win and extend the Admirals playoff hopes to Tuesday night.
The Milwaukee Admirals Tuesday-Wednesday setup was always going to a test following their 6-2 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday. I expected some push back on the Admirals part. What I did not expect was seven first period goals scored in those contests against the Chicago Wolves and Cleveland Monsters. The Admirals, when they get it right, are so much fun to watch play. Their pace out of the gates on defense and offense to beat the Monsters 6-3 was outstanding.
The only buzzkill came down in the state of Texas where the Rockford IceHogs won again to make things that much more difficult. There are five-games remaining for both the Admirals and IceHogs and the difference remains five points for the fourth spot in the Central Division. The Admirals might be playing their best hockey of the season -but- so might the IceHogs. It is beginning to feel like the Admirals will run out of time.
Why? Why, time after time after time after time, is it always the Grand Rapids Griffins? The only evidence that I have at this point are the results over time -but- I firmly believe the Milwaukee Admirals mentally get shutdown within these games as they happen. There will be some good spurts. They might even win some regular season games. But when the chips are down and it is time to deliver with everything on the line – nothing.
The Admirals archenemy in Grand Rapids swept them out of the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs the last two straight seasons. They might have just solidly struck a nail in the Admirals 2017-18 coffin with last night’s 6-2 blowout. The Rockford IceHogs found the strength to rally back in the third period and beat the San Jose Barracuda. The Admirals could not do the same against the Griffins. The gap has widened and time isn’t on the Admirals side one bit for games like last night.
Last night could well have been a night perfectly placed to make the Milwaukee Admirals fall. They had a good amount of time between games and the Texas Stars are an opponent that has really worked them hard with pace and quality defending this season. It started sluggish but turned into a small slugfest for both power-play groups. The Admirals tightened up enough at even strength to secure a 5-3 win and keep their playoff lives very much alive.