2017-18; One Long Lesson

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

When I left the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena last night it seemed as if the city of Milwaukee was barren. I cut across all construction, took up towards the McKinley on-ramp, and was on my way home. It was in that silent drive on home that the dust had settled on a thought I had by the time December was rolling along. The Milwaukee Admirals weren’t going to make the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs this season. It perpetuated in the weeks and months that followed and only last night was it realized.

This is only the third time in the seventeen-year AHL history of the Admirals that they will not be making the playoffs. Yet, it is the second time in four-years that they have failed to reach the playoffs. What does that mean? What was this season? And what happens next for the Nashville Predators’ AHL affiliate?

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Chatterbox, Vol. 273

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

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.

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Eliminated; Admirals Lose Shootout 4-3 to Chicago

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus. Game Recap: Nicholas Hatch.)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 4-3 in a shootout against the Chicago Wolves on Tuesday night at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

It was going to take a lot for the Admirals to extend their playoff hopes to the weekend. As Harry Zolnierczyk scored a dramatic game-trying goal with 29.6 seconds remaining the Rockford IceHogs scored into an empty net to secure a win and the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division. The Admirals are officially eliminated from playoff contention with two games remaining in the 2017-18 season.

“Obviously we’re disappointed that we didn’t get the win,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason after the game. “But obviously Rockford won as soon as we got back in. We would have been out anyway.”

“What we really liked clearly is our no quit. We’ve talked about this all year basically how our group does not quit. They did not tonight, did all the right things. Fell short. We’re really disappointed to not be playing in the playoffs.”

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Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Dale Woltman)

Tonight is a big one. The Milwaukee Admirals need to win out and the Rockford IceHogs need to lose out inside of regulation for the rest of the regular season schedule. Both have three-games remaining. Both play tonight. The Admirals could well be up against the sword as their game is taking place and a win could end up feeling quite blank by the final horn.

All that the Admirals can control is the game in front of them. That means defeating the Central Division leading Chicago Wolves tonight after having been roughed up by them 5-1 at the Allstate Arena on Saturday night. This night has many combustible elements to it. If things play out correctly the Admirals could extend their playoff hopes to Friday night.

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Chatterbox, Vol. 272

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

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.

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Stayin’ Alive; Admirals Win 3-2 in Overtime

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

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.”

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Wild: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The only thing separating the Milwaukee Admirals from being eliminated from playoff eligibility last night was a three-goal third period by the Texas Stars to give them a 4-3 victory over the Rockford IceHogs. The Admirals 5-2 loss to the Chicago Wolves meant that both the Wolves and Manitoba Moose clinched a spot last night. The Grand Rapids Griffins 4-1 win over the Tucson Roadrunners with the Admirals loss meant they clinched a spot last night.

All that remains is a single point of space. There is no more wiggle room. If the Admirals do not run the table it is over. As that needs to happen they need the IceHogs to lose out in regulation for the rest of the season. So much as the Admirals taking an overtime loss and it is done. They have no ability to take the tiebreak. They need to maintain that magic number for the IceHogs at one.

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Hanging By A Thread; Admirals Fall 5-1 in Chicago

(Photo Credit: Dale Woltman)

The Milwaukee Admirals lost 5-1 on the road against the Chicago Wolves at the Allstate Arena on Saturday night.

Thanks to a three-goal comeback that saw the Texas Stars rally back in the third period to defeat the Rockford IceHogs: the Admirals remain alive by the slimmest of margins.

Tonight’s game saw the Wolves demonstrate drive in their pursuit of the Central Division crown. The Admirals remain alive by a single point. They must now run the table and hope the IceHogs don’t gain a point until the end of the regular season.

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Wolves: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Ross Dettman)

The window for the Milwaukee Admirals to make the 2018 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs narrowed to an extreme last night. The Rockford IceHogs earned a 3-2 shootout victory on the road against the Texas Stars. That result, paired with a 3-0 shutout defeat from the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road to the Tucson Roadrunners, pushed the IceHogs into third place based on head-to-head record against the Griffins.

The IceHogs and Griffins magic number to clinch a spot is down to 3. If both win tonight and the Admirals lose – the Admirals will be officially eliminated from playoff contention.

With the IceHogs win last night we have reached the point where that fourth placed team can’t win for the rest of the season while the Admirals must run the table. The Admirals will never be able to take the first tiebreak scenario or regulation/overtime wins (ROW) so a loss of any kind tonight with wins from both – that will be enough. The Admirals need to win out and receive huge amounts of help to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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