The Admirals hit the road for a three-game swing this week, playing two rare opponents in Hartford and Springfield. They went 1-1 in those Eastern Conference matchups but still sit atop the Central Division with a 15-7-1 record and 31 points (to Texas’s 30 points).
Milwaukee returns home this week to host Hartford and Toronto before traveling down to Chicago to face a familiar foe in the Wolves.
- Defenders Roland McKeown and Kevin Gravel were recalled to Nashville yesterday to replace the injured Alex Carrier and Jeremy Lauzon
- Milwaukee signed defenders Matt Cairns and Chris Cameron to professional tryout contracts
- Yaroslav Askarov was named the AHL’s Player of the Week after stopping 60 of 61 shots in two starts last week
Milwaukee Admirals (1) @ Rockford IceHogs (2)
In the first game of the week, Milwaukee traveled to Illinois to take on division rival Rockford. Kiefer Sherwood opened the scoring halfway through the first period, banking his ninth goal of the season in off of goalie Dylan Wells.
The Admirals weathered the IceHogs’ storm through two periods despite being outshot 21 to 13. Milwaukee’s troubles were exemplified by their third pairing of Roland McKeown and Adam Wilsby. While both recorded 56.5% Corsi ratings at even strength, they surrendered four high-danger shots and successfully orchestrated just 50.0% of their zone exit attempts (including just one where either of them skated the puck out).
Ultimately that pair was stuck on the ice for a long offensive shift for Rockford that ended in Lukas Reichel blasting a puck in and out of Yaroslav Askarov’s glove, which trickled into the net.
With no scoring in overtime, Luke Evangelista, Tommy Novak, and Sherwood were all stopped in the shootout, but Reichel bested Askarov again, giving Rockford the full two points.
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Hartford Wolfpack (0)
After their shootout loss, Milwaukee took a rare trip east to take on the Hartford Wolfpack in Connecticut; Askarov started between the pipes again, continuing to solidify his 1A status.
After a scoreless first period, Phil Tomasino drew a penalty driving to the net after receiving a gorgeous spin pass from Markus Nurmi. On the ensuing power play, Nurmi tipped home a Tomasino shot to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead.
Despite multiple power-play opportunities—including two foolish penalties from Adam Wilsby, drawing out his less-than-desirable week—Hartford couldn’t get pucks past Askarov. Tommy Novak put the nail in the Wolfpack’s coffin just a couple of minutes into the final frame.
Milwaukee was only slightly outshot, but Hartford controlled much of the flow of play. That’s evidenced by the Admirals’ top unit of Tim Schaller, Tomasino, and Nurmi. They posted a 42.1%, 42.9%, and 45.5% Corsi at even strength and mustered just five shot attempts total (and none from high-danger areas). In transition, the trio successfully exited the defensive zone on just four of nine attempts but was better entering the offensive zone with a 57.1% success rate.
This game was all Askarov; he more than earned his first AHL shutout and player-of-the-week honors.
Milwaukee Admirals (0) @ Springfield Falcons (2)
On Saturday, the Admirals headed one state north to take on the Springfield Falcons with Devin Cooley starting between the pipes. This game was ugly from start to finish, and Milwaukee gave one of their flattest performances of the season. That might have to do with them icing just five defenders, as Roland McKeown and Kevin Gravel were held out of the lineup pending their recall to Nashville.
These two squads combined for 52 penalty minutes, and the Admirals couldn’t convert on a single one of their seven power-play chances. Devin Cooley was good, stopping 30 of 32 shots, and Milwaukee did their best on special teams, allowing just one goal on six chances.
Unfortunately, the Admirals couldn’t generate much at even strength, and the Falcons exploited them for a shorthanded goal in the third period after Cooley mishandled the puck.
Three points out of six last week aren’t ideal, but that’s due to the high standards Milwaukee has created this year.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday, December 14 vs. Hartford Wolfpack
- Saturday, December 17 vs. Toronto Marlies
- Sunday, December 18 @ Chicago Wolves