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Milwaukee Musings: Admirals Improve, Win Two in a Row

Can Milwaukee turn a winning week into sustained momentum?

AHL: DEC 04 Milwaukee Admirals at Cleveland Monsters Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With another chance to take six points home, the Admirals came up short against division rival Rockford last Wednesday. But Milwaukee was able to turn the ship around with a confidence-boosting sweep of the Cleveland Monsters to top off the weekend.



Quick Hits

  • Forward Matt Luff and defender Ben Harpur were recalled to Nashville ahead of the team’s four-game road trip
  • In a corresponding move, defender Dylan Blujus was recalled from the Florida Everblades
  • With Juuse Saros out with illness, goalie Connor Ingram was recalled to Nashville on Tuesday, and Parker Gahagen was recalled to Milwaukee from Florida in response
  • Former Admiral Patrick Harper signed a one-year contract with HPK of the Finnish Liiga
  • Anthony Richard has been out of the Milwaukee lineup for the last three games

Milwaukee Admirals (1) vs. Rockford IceHogs (3)

With a bit of line mixing behind the top unit, the Admirals welcomed Rockford to town last Wednesday to contest two crucial division points. Both teams played a balanced first period with few mistakes, but it was a defensive lapse from Mitch McLain and David Farrance that led to the IceHogs opening the scoring just a few minutes into the night.

Matt Donovan responded later in the period with a nice wrist shot that beat Malcolm Subban, but Rockford was able to retaliate before the end of the first. Farrance failed to pick up the puck-carrying Isaak Phillips as he chased his own rebound to the far post and put one past Connor Ingram.

The IceHogs didn’t grant Milwaukee many high-danger chances and had to kill just one minor penalty all evening. Evan Barratt recorded his second of the night on the power play in period three as Ingram stopped 27 of 30 shots in defeat.

Milwaukee Admirals (4) @ Cleveland Monsters (1)

On Friday, Milwaukee traveled to Ohio for a rare non-divisional matchup with the Cleveland Monsters and wasted no time controlling the game. Matt Luff replaced Cole Schneider on the top line, and the Admirals welcomed Kole Sherwood into the lineup for the first time. That retooled top line struck early—just a minute and a half into the game—with Cody Glass scoring off a deflected Jeremy Davies’ shot:

In the second period, Milwaukee limited Cleveland to just six shots and pumped in three more goals—two from Rocco Grimaldi and one from Michael McCarron—in less than five minutes to start the frame. Grimaldi has brought some sorely-needed energy to this group, catalyzed the top line and top power-play unit, and developed some excellent chemistry with Cody Glass:

The Monsters certainly came out of the third-period gates with some fire, and Tyler Angle cashed in their lone goal after dancing around David Farrance. Ultimately, however, Milwaukee took home two points thanks in part to a perfect penalty-killing unit and a 28-save performance from Connor Ingram.

Milwaukee Admirals (5) @ Cleveland Monsters (4)

Shooting for only their second pair of consecutive wins all season, Milwaukee was rejoined by Joseph LaBate and Frederic Allard on Saturday but was without Cody Glass. The Admirals committed to themselves to improving many details of their game and scored early and often, including this opener from Matt Luff, thanks to battles won all over the ice:

Luff maybe hasn’t been a flashy skater for Milwaukee this season, but he’s been a steady presence in the top six, scoring seven goals and 16 points (including six primary points at even strength) on the season. The recent free-agent acquisition was rewarded with a call-up to serve as Nashville’s extra forward in the near term.

Cleveland battled back in the second period to tie things up at three, but Cole Smith connected on a power-play chance midway through the period to retake the lead. Smith skated on a mostly-effective third line with Michael McCarron and Mathieu Olivier that seemed to be registering more shot attempts than normal—especially McCarron who had 11.98 total shot attempts per 60 and 7.98 high-danger shot attempts per 60:

Nashville Forward Prospects | Individual Shot Attempts per 60
@OnTheFutureOTF

LaBate added an insurance goal in the third assisted by Admirals’ captain Cole Schneider—his fourth assist of the evening; The ten-year AHL veteran is now fourth in AHL scoring with 21 goals in 18 games.

All in all, despite allowing Connor Ingram to face 41 shots, the Admirals left Ohio with a sweep of the Monsters and 2-1-0 record last week.


The Week Ahead

  • Friday, December 10 vs. Iowa Wild
  • Saturday, December 11 vs. Iowa Wild
  • Tuesday, December 14 @ Iowa Wild

All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, theAHL.com, or manually tracked.