With COVID-19 ravaging the NHL, Milwaukee faced a tough task over the weekend in the red-hot Chicago Wolves, who lead the division with a staggering 20-4-2 record. The Admirals struggled in both games but showed some positives—especially given the context of a shorthanded lineup.
Last night, though, Milwaukee got back in the win column with a gritty 2-0 road win over Rockford, leaving them with an 11-13-2 record on the season.
- As COVID-19 hit the Nashville organization, the Predators recalled Cole Smith (F), Kole Sherwood (F), Mathieu Olivier (F), Rocco Grimaldi (F), and Cody Glass (F) last Thursday
- In response, Milwaukee recalled forwards Zach Solow and Bobo Carpenter and defender Jake McLaughlin from the Florida Everblades
- The Admirals also signed forward Tommy Apap to a try-out contract
- While coaches Karl Taylor and Scott Ford were in Nashville, development coaches Rob Scuderi and Sebastien Bordeleau joined Admirals coach Greg Rallo on the bench in Milwaukee
- On Saturday, Nashville sent Smith, Sherwood, Olivier, and Grimaldi back to Milwaukee
- On Monday, Milwaukee swapped goalies Devin Cooley and Parker Gahagen, recalling the former from the Florida Everblades
Milwaukee Admirals (0) vs. Chicago Wolves (1)
Going against a dominant Chicago Wolves team seeking their 11th straight win, the Admirals had to rely on a depleted lineup and even iced two defenders at forward: Frédéric Allard and Jake McLaughlin.
Defensively, Milwaukee struggled, but they weren’t quite blown out of the water. Jérémy Davies and Matt Tennyson took on most of the tough assignments and held their own; Tennyson finished with a 53.3% Corsi rating at even strength, 9.15 individual shot attempts per 60, 6.10 primary shot assists per 60, and went 0.500 at stopping controlled zone entries.
The Admirals once again couldn’t stay out of the box, affording the Wolves six power-play opportunities. Luckily, the penalty-killing units were perfect, but the lack of discipline this season has been appalling.
Connor Ingram stopped 38 of 39 shots as the Admirals took Chicago to overtime, where Dominik Bokk ended things with a wrist shot from the high slot.
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Chicago Wolves (4)
On Saturday, Milwaukee traveled to Chicago for a rematch with the Wolves and had reinforcements in tow (Grimaldi, Olivier, and Sherwood); Connor Ingram was in net again. The Admirals played a mediocre first period, allowing a goal off of a giveaway to Chicago’s Dave Gust.
Jérémy Davies responded with a power-play goal—his first tally of the season—but special teams crushed Milwaukee’s hopes once again. The Admirals had to kill seven penalties (successfully doing so six times) and allowed a shorthanded game-winner despite scoring on two of their own four power plays.
One bright spot was the newly formed line of Grant Mismash, Rocco Grimaldi, and Anthony Richard. Richard led the way with a 63.0% Corsi and five individual shot attempts; Rocco Grimaldi added three primary shot assists; Mishmash, Grimaldi, and Richard went 50.0%, 75.0%, and 71.4% on controlled zone entries, respectively.
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Rockford IceHogs (0)
After a couple of days off, the Admirals returned to Illinois to take on the Rockford IceHogs in another crucial division matchup. Matt Tennyson and Marc Del Gaizo were missing from the blue line, but Cole Smith did return to line three with Mitch McLain and Mathieu Olivier.
Milwaukee once again came out slowly, letting Rockford control much of the pace of the first period, but they did respond with a much more invigorated second period.
In the third, on their penultimate power-play chance, Egor Afanasyev delivered a nice lead pass to Cole Schneider who deked out Collin Delia for the game-winner.
The Admirals did a solid job staying out of the penalty box, giving Rockford just three power-play opportunities, but the IceHogs did pour things on late in the third period. Rockford nearly tied the game with a tip-in chance with under three minutes to go, but Connor Ingram withstood the pressure, turning aside 29 out of 29 shots. Rocco Grimaldi added an empty-net goal with less than a minute to play.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday, December 22 @ Grand Rapids Griffins