After a tumultuous start to the season, the Milwaukee Admirals rebounded fairly well last week going 2-1-0 against Manitoba, Iowa, and Chicago. They still sit last in the Central Division with six points, but last weekend breathed new life into the club—particularly with the return of Connor Ingram.
Milwaukee Admirals (2) vs. Manitoba Moose (1)
Desperate for a win, Milwaukee likely breathed a sigh of relief after an early breakaway goal from Marc Del Gaizo—his first pro marker. That goal demonstrated the decent set of wheels the UMass alum has, and we’ve been impressed with his early-season performances. Playing alongside Matt Tennyson on Friday, Del Gaizo recorded a 59.1% Corsi at even strength and stifled all four direct zone entry attempts against him.
Been really impressed with Marc Del Gaizo's season to date & I think MKE's staff has been too.— OTF: Preds Prospects (@OnTheFutureOTF) November 10, 2021
Small detail, but I love how calm he is in tight spaces with the puck along the boards here. Not many undersized D coordinate + this well this early in their pro careers.#Preds pic.twitter.com/BOQLpXQZPB
The Admirals were bailed out by Connor Ingram most of the night, holding the Moose off the scoresheet until late in the second period despite facing 32 shots in total. Milwaukee also did their best to give Manitoba every chance to win with seven power-play opportunities going the latter’s way.
Ultimately, the Admirals prevailed via a penalty shot in overtime from Cole Smith who, while not known for his speed, got behind the Moose defender with a hard-working defensive effort to clear the zone.
Milwaukee Admirals (5) vs. Iowa Wild (2)
If you thought the Admirals gave Connor Ingram a busy night on Friday, you won’t love to hear that the goalie had to turn aside 41 of 43 shots on Saturday against the Wild. Iowa came out buzzing in the first period, putting Milwaukee’s defense on their heels and drawing two early penalties. Ingram was sharp, poised, and calm despite facing 20 shots in that period alone.
A scoreless first paved the way to both teams trading chances in the second, starting with two goals from Cole Schneider (although both deflected in off of his skates). After the Wild tied things up, Milwaukee responded—while giving Iowa several more power-play chances (seven in total)—with three more goals, including a hat trick marker from Schneider, to seal their first set of back-to-back wins all season.
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Chicago Wolves (4)
Facing their third contest in three days, Connor Ingram got the night off, replaced by Devin Cooley—who’s struggled this season but also hasn’t been helped by the defense in front of him.
The Admirals started well again with two early power-play scores. On the first one, from Matt Luff, Cody Glass extended his stat line to seven points (all assists) in seven games in Milwaukee. Only three of those assists were primary ones scored at even strength. With Mathieu Olivier and Michael McCarron being called up yesterday, there was a lot of consternation that Glass wasn’t picked. From a talent perspective, it’s understandable, but Glass has just been okay—not great—in Milwaukee. He’s executed some noticeable, heads-up plays in transition and been helpful on the power play, but he isn’t dominating the way I think he can as a number-one center in the AHL.
.@mkeadmirals up 2-0 early in the 1st off of two power-play goals against Chicago.#Preds #MILHockey pic.twitter.com/izlYSb5BPP— OTF: Preds Prospects (@OnTheFutureOTF) November 7, 2021
Before the first period was up, Chicago responded with two goals of their own, and the penalty boxes on both sides stayed busy. Milwaukee surrendered another five power plays to the Wolves, totaling 19 on the weekend. The penalty kill has been operating at a division-best 88.1% so far, but this team is definitely playing with fire.
The Admirals couldn’t respond much in the second period, and Chicago’s Jalen Chatfield scored a dagger in period three to ruin Milwaukee’s shot at a perfect weekend.
There were several positive signs of life, but Karl Taylor’s team still has several things to tighten up. Returning more players from injury and illness will help stabilize things, and Connor Ingram will give them a chance to win most nights (but the backup goaltending position remains a concern for me).
Ahead of tonight’s game against Manitoba, the Admirals signed forward Matt Bradley to a tryout given their depleted lineup. Bradley notched 47 points in 69 games for Greenville in the ECHL last season. Milwaukee will also travel to Iowa for two games against the Wild on Saturday and Sunday.
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, theAHL.com, or manually tracked.