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Milwaukee Musings: Admirals Drop Four Straight

Milwaukee’s losing streak has allowed Texas to leapfrog them for the division lead.

Fresh off their east-coast road trip, the Milwaukee Admirals returned home to host the Hartford Wolfpack and the Toronto Marlies, dropping both high-scoring affairs. To complete their week, the Admirals traveled down to Chicago and left with their fourth-straight loss to the struggling Wolves.

At 15-9-2, this group will welcome Chicago to town tomorrow before regrouping over the holidays with the goal of reclaiming first place in the Central Division in mind.

Quick Hits

  • Kevin Gravel (D) and Roland McKeown (D) were both returned to Milwaukee after a brief stint in Nashville
  • Subsequently, Matthew Cairns (D) was released from his professional tryout (PTO)
  • Yesterday, Tommy Novak (F) was recalled to Nashville and made his season NHL debut
  • In a stunning turnaround from last season, the Admirals currently have the second-fewest penalty minutes (228) in the entire AHL

Milwaukee Admirals (3) vs. Hartford Wolfpack (4)

Opening the week against Hartford, Milwaukee got off to a hot start as their top-scoring trio of Tommy Novak, Luke Evangelista, and Cole Schneider connected for a first-period power-play goal; it was their only conversion on five man-advantage chances all night.

The Wolfpack didn’t sustain much pressure in the opening 20 minutes, but they got off to a hot start in the second period with Austin Rueschhoff deflecting a Turner Elson shot past Yaroslav Askarov just 31 seconds into the frame. Seconds later, Novak and Evangelista buried the go-ahead goal thanks to a slick backdoor pass from the latter to the former.

From there, Milwaukee’s defense became too porous. Head coach Karl Taylor criticized their lack of discipline against odd-man rushes, which led to two goals from Will Cuylle and Tanner Fritz.

The Admirals responded nicely in the third period as Askarov had to turn aside just seven shots. John Leonard tied the game with just his second goal of the season in a nice individual effort pulling the puck off the wall and driving it to the net. Overtime was uneventful, and Hartford ultimately bested Milwaukee two goals to one in a shootout.

Milwaukee Admirals (5) vs. Toronto Marlies (6)

Looking to shake off their loss to Hartford, Milwaukee did anything but in welcoming the Toronto Marlies to town last Saturday. Phil Tomasino opened the scoring just one minute into the contest thanks to a setup from Adam Wilsby, and then things got crazy.

A few moments later, Logan Shaw took advantage of a blueline turnover and converted a shorthanded breakaway to tie the game. Then, Noel Hoefenmayer beat Yaroslav Askarov with a harmless shot from the point. Seconds later, Spencer Stastney risked a costly pinch at the line leading to a 2-on-1 and a subsequent goal for Semyon Der-Arguchintsev. Milwaukee tied things back up when Kiefer Sherwood tipped in a Stastney point shot and when Tim Schaller dug in a rebound around the net. And then, all momentum vanished as Askarov let another low-danger, shorthanded shot sneak past him.

Devin Cooley came into the game in relief—after Askarov called four goals on six shots—but couldn’t stop the bleeding. Nick Abruzzese beat him with a great deflection early in the second period. John Leonard then delivered again with a slapshot goal on the man advantage—a rarity for Milwaukee’s suddenly-anemic power play that went 1-for-6 and allowed two shorthanded goals.

Jimmy Huntington did get a deflection past Erik Källgren with 20 seconds to play, but it was too late as the Marlies had already connected on an empty-net goal.

Milwaukee Admirals (3) @ Chicago Wolves (5)

With their dads in town, the Milwaukee Admirals traveled down to Chicago to take on the Wolves with Devin Cooley between the pipes. The team also welcomed back reinforcements in Kevin Gravel and Roland McKeown.

Gravel’s first act in return was a cross-checking penalty where Brendan Perlini converted on the ensuing power play. Markus Nurmi got called for a blatant trip late in the first period, and Noel Gunler—left alone in front of Devin Cooley—buried another power-play marker. Less than a minute into period two, Dylan Coghlan blasted a point shot into the net, giving Chicago a quick 3-0 lead.

Later in the period, Milwaukee’s bottom six responded with another hardworking goal from Zach Sanford and Tim Schaller, but the Wolves survived the Admirals’ sustained third-period pressure. Jamieson Rees increased their lead to 4-1 on a breakaway chance, but Schaller responded with a mid-range wrister off a turnover. Chicago’s early lead was too much to overcome as Milwaukee couldn’t convert on any one of four chances on the man advantage, dropping their fourth straight game with a 5-3 final.


The Week Ahead

  • Wednesday, December 21 vs. Chicago Wolves

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