The Milwaukee Admirals, who just Thursday morning were on the brink of elimination from the Calder Cup Playoffs, have come back to even their series with the Iowa Wild. On Thursday, the Admirals won 3-1 and Friday won in overtime 5-4. Thursday’s victory was also the first playoff victory for the Admirals since the 2012-13 season.
Thursday, April 25th vs. Iowa Wild (Home)
The Admirals knew that they were going to have to work hard to beat this Iowa Wild team. After losing by at least five goals in their last two matchups, the pressure was on Milwaukee. Colin Blackwell, whose leadership on the team has blossomed over the course of the season, scored only 30 seconds into the game giving Milwaukee an early lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Mathieu Olivier scored at 8:43 of the second period with help from Yakov Trenin and Vince Pedrie.
In the third, Kyle Rau scored his third goal of this series with assists from former Admiral and Predator Cal O’Reilly and Brennan Menell at 13:23 of the third period. Rau’s goal came on the powerplay after Eeli Tolvanen was called for interference.
Milwaukee answered back to Rau just a little over a minute later when Anthony Richard scored his first goal of the playoffs at 14:32 to finalize Milwaukee’s 3-1 victory. Troy Grosenick also earned his first playoff victory with the Admirals. The Brookfield, Wi native stopped 21 of the 22 shots he faced.
Friday, April 26th vs. Iowa Wild (Home)
Saturday’s matchup was a roller coaster. The Admirals were still on the brink of elimination but had momentum and were looking to even the series. Phil Di Giuseppe got things rolling for the Admirals at 6:59 of the first period when he scored on Iowa netminder Andrew Hammond.
Late into the first period, Mathieu Olivier was sent to the box for hooking, while on the penalty kill Anthony Richard had a breakaway and scored a shorthanded goal at 18:14.
Iowa would still get their powerplay goal, however, Matt Read scored at 18:43 to cut Milwaukee’s lead in half.
The only goal of the second period was Iowa’s Gerald Mayhew (3) who evened things up at 4:15.
The third period contained most of the action. Anthony Richard scored his second of the game at 3:11 to give Milwaukee a 3-2 lead, which only lasted for a little more than two minutes. Cal O’Reilly scored while on the powerplay at 5:23.
At 6:54 Phil Di Giuseppe scored his second goal of the game to give Milwaukee the lead again. This, however, would only last until 11:55 when Gerald Mayhew scored while shorthanded to even things up once more, forcing overtime.
Shots in the overtime period were even at four a piece. However, the only shot that mattered was the one taken by Frederic Allard at 12:33 that beat Hammond and evened the series for Milwaukee. 5-4 was the final score.
Resilience. That’s the only way to describe this Milwaukee Admirals team at this point. They’ve managed to go from a 0-2 series deficit against a stacked Iowa Wild team to being even 2-2. The Admirals now have momentum on their side going into a decisive game five. In the AHL, the first round is a best of five, so winner takes all in the next game.
One troubling statistic that seems to be rippling through the Predators organization; the Admirals are 0 for 17 on the powerplay in this series. They have yet to score a single powerplay goal in this postseason, which will eventually come back to bite them.
The Admirals will play again Monday April 29th at 7:00pm with a do-or-die game at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.