Milwaukee Musings: Depleted Ads Being Tested
After an 0-1-1 weekend, Milwaukee is losing their second-place lead.
With a tight three- or four-way race for the Central Division lead, the Milwaukee Admirals entered last week needing to come out on top in two games against Manitoba. What they got was one out of a possible four points.
The Ads are still 6-2-2 in their last ten games, but Manitoba is now just one point behind them for second in the Central and Texas has widened their first-place lead to three points.
This roster is depleted—badly. Top scorers like Tomasino, Novak, and Sherwood are up in Nashville and depth pieces like Nurmi, Huntington, and Kondelik have been banged up. All in all, this team is missing nearly 40% of its goals scored this year from the lineup.
David Poile and Scott Nichol have responded by adding Isaac Ratcliffe in a change-of-scenery move from the Philadelphia Flyers, but this squad will need more until its top guns return for the Calder Cup playoffs. Now would be an excellent time for the likes of Luke Evangelista and John Leonard to take another step and for players like Egor Afanasyev to prove they can be a top AHL scorer.
2022-23 Nashville Predators AHL/ECHL Stats
- Last Tuesday, forward Mark Jankowski was returned to Milwaukee from Nashville; he’s recorded one assist in two games since his return
- Last Tuesday, Milwaukee also signed forward Cam Hausinger to a professional tryout (PTO); it’s his second PTO of the season
- Last week, Nashville recalled forwards Kiefer Sherwood and Zach Sanford from the Admirals
- On Sunday, Nashville acquired forward Isaac Ratcliffe from Philadelphia and assigned him to Milwaukee
- Defender Kevin Gravel was also reassigned to Milwaukee yesterday/
Milwaukee Admirals (2) @ Manitoba Moose (3)
This week got off to a rough start for Milwaukee, as they were largely absent from the first 20 minutes of this contest, recording just two shots. Manitoba got on the board first when a seemingly harmless shot from the boards by Tyrel Bauer snuck through Yaroslav Askarov’s five-hole. The Russian goalie remained rusty later in the period, letting Wyatt Bongiovanni beat him over his glove hand from near the top of the circle.
The Ads responded with a much stronger second period, but Bongiovanni added to the Moose lead with a nearly identical shot to his first goal.
Milwaukee avoided further disaster when Manitoba had a goal waved off due to interference, and before the end of the middle frame, Egor Afanasyev got them on the board, knocking in a rebound off of Arvid Holm’s blocker. Both goalies were excellent in the third period, especially Holm, who stopped a breakaway chance from John Leonard. But the Ads found the back of the net once more thanks to a Cole Schneider deflection; ultimately, though, it wasn’t enough to overcome Manitoba’s early lead.
Milwaukee Admirals (3) @ Manitoba Moose (4)
After a tough loss on Thursday, Milwaukee responded well on Saturday when they welcomed Markus Nurmi back to the lineup. The Admirals stayed out of the penalty box for the most part and got on the board first thanks to Cam Hausinger’s first AHL goal; Manitoba tied things up 10 minutes later on a two-on-one play.
😰😰😰 pic.twitter.com/GPDF4Bl131— Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) February 25, 2023
Askarov was getting little help from the Ads’ defense, which completely abandoned Evan Polei when he scored the Moose’s second goal. But the Russian netminder continued to bail his team out, stopping 31 of 35 shots, demonstrating some great footwork skills, and being more aggressive in attacking the space around his crease.
In the third period, Jordan Gross tied things up on the power play thanks to a slick setup from Luke Evangelista. Moments later, Keaton Thompson gave Milwaukee its first lead of the weekend; all of Thompson’s ten points this season—strangely—have been primary ones scored at even strength.
That lead didn’t last ten minutes, as Askarov was beaten over his left shoulder by Cole Maier to tie the game. Declan Chisholm potted home a rebound from a breakaway chance in overtime to send Milwaukee home with just one point.
The Week Ahead
- Wednesday, March 1 vs. Iowa Wild
- Friday, March 3 @ Texas Stars
- Saturday, March 4 @ Texas Stars/
All statistics are courtesy of eliteprospects.com, theAHL.com, or manually tracked.