Last week, we wrote that winning just four of six points on the table over the past three games was critical for this Milwaukee team, and that’s exactly what they did. While we’re not ready to declare this team the real deal (yet)—even after hanging seven on the Chicago Wolves—things are moving in the right direction very quickly.
One thing to watch moving forward: Connor Ingram’s workload. He’s played in 72.7% of the Admirals’ games and has started their last nine.
- With their recent surge, Milwaukee now sits fourth in the Central Division with a 0.523 points percentage
- The Admirals have dropped to third in the AHL in penalty minutes (574) behind Iowa and Hershey
- Two Admirals sit in the top-20 in league scoring: Cole Schneider is 15th with 35 points, Rocco Grimaldi is 18th with 34 points
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Rockford IceHogs (0)
With a season-long six-game win streak on the line, the Admirals traveled to Illinois to take on the Rockford IceHogs. Both teams traded chances in the first two periods but neither broke, setting up a critical final frame. Well after the halfway point of the third, Marc Del Gaizo executed a takeaway in the neutral zone, giving Joseph LaBate an easy set-up for Mitch McLain who, left alone in the slot, buried the game-winner.
Milwaukee’s top unit—Matt Luff, Cody Glass, and Rocco Grimaldi—were excellent once again. They posted a 57.1%, 59.5%, and 51.6% Corsi rating at even strength, respectively, and combined for 11 individual shot attempts, including four from high-danger areas.
Connor Ingram stopped all 26 shots he faced to post his AHL-leading fifth shutout of the year—just two behind the Admirals’ all-time record set by Brian Finley in 2004-05.
Milwaukee Admirals (0) vs. Chicago Wolves (1)
The weekend series against Chicago was the Admirals biggest test to date and an opportunity to prove how real their season turnaround is. It didn’t go exactly as planned.
Milwaukee turned in a spirited performance, with the top-six leading much of the way (Grimaldi, Glass, Schneider, Smith, Novak, and Luff), but the Wolves still felt in control most of the night. Connor Ingram was spectacular, turning aside several high-danger chances, but was beaten for the game’s only goal by CJ Smith on a broken play right in front of the net. With Friday’s loss, the Admirals' win streak ended at seven games.
Milwaukee Admirals (7) vs. Chicago Wolves (5)
Looking to rebound from Friday night’s loss, Milwaukee could not have made a bigger statement against one of the league’s best on Saturday. Within the first five minutes, Marc Del Gaizo cleaned up a Matt Luff rebound to open the scoring, and Rocco Grimaldi added his 18th goal of the year with a laser wrist shot from the high slot. Del Gaizo’s confidence has really boomed lately; he’s driving to the net and getting involved deep in the offensive zone without sacrificing his defensive responsibilities. He’s been rewarded with five goals in his rookie year—second among the team’s defenders.
The Admirals chased Wolves’ goalie Jack LaFontaine from the net after he allowed four goals on 11 shots and finished the first period leading 5-1 thanks also to Josh Healey, Graham Knott, and Cole Smith. Knott’s goal was highlighted by a brilliant primary assist from newcomer Jimmy Huntington.
Chicago added two goals in the second frame to make it 5-3, but Matt Luff responded just 40 seconds into period three with another incredible wrist shot.
You guys like it, you Luff it.— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) February 6, 2022
So, here it is. pic.twitter.com/ywToOYMBz6
Despite the Wolves getting within one late in the game, Milwaukee stuck to what’s been working: heavy forechecking, a strong, annoying presence along the boards, and occupying tons of space in the middle of the ice—a similar game to Nashville’s.
Marc Del Gaizo notched his second of the game at the literal last second of the game to ice an inspiring win against the division’s measuring stick.
The Week Ahead
- Friday, February 11 @ Texas Stars
- Saturday, February 12 @ Texas Stars
- Tuesday, February 15 @ Chicago Wolves