Admirals Finish Three-In-Three Winless
Despite starting the season off with the bang, it was inevitable that the Admirals would eventually have to lose. That was the case this week as the Ads struggled mightily in their difficult stretch of three games in three nights. In the end Milwaukee heads home with one of a possible six points, giving up a whopping 14 regulation goals in the three game span.
The trip began down in Austin as the Ads took on the Texas Stars for two straight nights. Milwaukee had already seen Texas twice at home and managed to come back from down two goals twice to beat one of the stronger teams in the AHL. This go around things didn't go quite as swell. On Friday night they gave up the most goals they've given up all year, seven, on Texas's 41 shots. The game was Magnus Hellberg's first since being returned to Milwaukee by Nashville. He was in for six of the goals, which could be chalked up to rust. The Admirals gave up three goals in both the second and third period and skated off the ice losing by a 7 to 4 deficit.
After a rough night for Hellberg and with the timing off the three games Dean Evason decided to go with Scott Darling between the pipes. The game was Darling's first AHL start after spending a majority of his career in the ECHL and the SPHL. However, the result stayed the same as the Stars scored four goals in the first two periods to give them a 4-1 lead. They padded their lead further in the third by getting one past Hellberg, who was put in net for the third after Darling had to sit with an equipment issue. However the Ads did show they had a little fight in them, as Zach Budish, Colton Sissons, and Anthony Bitetto all scored to bring the Ads within one. The team could see their reliance as a moral victory, but it was too little too late as Stars won this tilt 5 to 4.
The Admirals did manage to get one point out of the trip Sunday night by taking the San Antonio Rampage to a shootout. After San Antonio got out to a two goal lead the Admirals one again showed an ability to come back. Bryan Rodney scored on a clear look in the second and Simon Moser tied things up six minutes into the third thanks to solid puck movement. The rest of the third and overtime period went without any scoring, sending things to the shootout. Rampage forward Jon Matsumoto was the only player to beat either goalie, Hedberg or Dov Grumet-Morris, which sealed a victory for the home team.
Shots, Shots, and More Shots
The Ads have had some brutal play in the second period of these three games. Here's a stat you never like to see. The shots on goal for the opponents during the second period are as followed: 20 on Friday, 20 on Saturday, and 17 on Sunday. Besides Friday the shots did even out by the end, but it is still difficult to win when you give up huge runs like that.
The team earns praise for their ability to fight back, but there is a serious problem with slow starts. At many points it doesn't feel like they kick into full gear until they absolutely have to. It wasn't a problem to harp about when they were managing to pull off comebacks, but if it begins to bite them in the butt then it will become more of a talking point.
Forsberg Has Good Start
Filip Forsberg has fit right into the Milwaukee lineup after being sent down and is one of the silver-linings in a rough week. He already has four points (1+3) in the AHL and has looked good alongside a few different linemates, including Simon Moser, Sissons, and Austin Watson. The Predators must be happy that sending him down has gone as planned. He's getting the increased playing time he needs right now to develop and is thriving.
Ads' Stars Still Putting Up Points
Despite the losses, the players who are supposed to be scoring are still putting up points. Anthony Bitetto scored two more goals and at this point leads the team in both goals (6) and is tied for the most points (10), quite impressive for a defenseman. He's tied with Sissons picked up a goal and three assists, which gives him an even five goals and five assists on the year. Miika Salomaki, Austin Watson, and Mark Van Guilder round out the team's top five scorers.
The Ads continue a busy November schedule with division games on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. On Wednesday the Ads play at home for the first time in a little under two weeks as they welcome the Grand Rapids Griffins to the Bradley Center for the first time this season. Grand Rapids, the defending league champion, is having no title hangover as they are second in the Western Conference in points On Friday they will be at home again against the Chicago Wolves before taking a flight to play at Iowa on Saturday night. The Wolves and Wild are easier tests, with both teams currently hovering around .500.