It was a rough week to be a fan of the Nashville Predators organization. When you follow a minor league team you frequently get the solace of at least one of your teams winning. That didn’t seem to be the case this week for Milwaukee Admirals fans. The Admirals dropped their three matchups this last week. On Wednesday December 5 the Admirals lost 5-1 to the Texas Stars. On Friday they lost to the Stars again 3-2. The San Antonio Rampage took the extra point in an overtime match on Saturday to win 2-1.
Wednesday December 5th vs. Texas Stars (Away)
The Admirals had a rough showing after a few lineup shakeups in the days leading up to this game. Milwaukee did not have Eeli Tolvanen, but did have Anthony Richard back in time for this game after a one-game call up to the Nashville Predators. Having Richard back did not end up being enough to help the Admirals out offensively.
Texas opened up their onslaught of goals late in the first period at 13:24 Texas rightwinger Denis Gurianov scored his ninth goal of the season against Milwaukee netminder Tom McCollum.
The second period was where the Stars pulled away. At 5:26, Joel L’Esperance scored his first goal of the game with assists from Erik Condra (16) and Travis Morin (11). This game came on the powerplay during a Jeremy Gregoire cross-checking penalty. Colin Markison scored his second goal of the season at 14:28. L’Esperance (12) scored his second goal of the game at16:36 with assists from Gurianov (15) and Adam Mascherin (7). Milwaukee did have one powerplay during the second period at 7:15 when Ben Gleason was called for hooking.
The third period saw the Stars getting their fifth goal at 4:52when Adam Mascherin (10) was able to beat McCollum. Milwaukee scored its lone goal of this contest at 7:53 when Garret Ross scored his first goal of the season.Ross has been with the Admirals since November 24th
Needless to say, Milwaukee did not have a strong offensive (or defensive) showing in this matchup. The Admirals were 0 for 3 on the powerplay. They were 75% on the penalty kill in this matchup. Despite it being 5-1 the shots on goal were much more even. Texas led 31-30.
Friday December 7th vs. Texas Stars (Away)
This matchup had a lot of similar aspects to the Wednesday night matchup. Key differences are obviously that the score was much different and the Admirals had a chance to win.
Texas scored early at 1:33 in the first period when Justin Dowling scored his seventh goal of the season with assists from Gurianov (17)and Adam Mascherin (8). Just a little over two minutes later the Admirals gave up another goal at 3:45 when Niklas Hansson (2) was able to score on Troy Grosenick. Erik Condra (17) and Travis Morin (12) had the assists on the second goal.
The Admirals were able to cut the lead in half at 10:56 when Milwaukee’s Connor Brickley scored on Landon Bow with assists from Anthony Richard (5) and Emil Pettersson (7). This was Brickley’s fifth goal of the season and even came on the powerplay during a Brady Norris high-sticking minor.
The Admirals tied the game early in the second period at 1:48 when Alexandre Carrier scored his second goal of the season which an assist from Emil Petterson. This was the second powerplay goal of the season and came five-seconds into a Justin Dowling slashing penalty.
The tie lasted about ten minutes, but Texas was able to pull ahead when Roope Hintz scored the go ahead goal at 10:59.
Neither team scored in the third period despite Milwaukee putting 9 shots on goal and Texas putting 11 on Troy Grosenick. The Admirals did have two powerplay opportunities during the third period but failed to capitalize on either of them.
Texas is on a three-game winning streak, mostly at the expense of the Milwaukee Admirals.
Saturday December 8th vs. San Antonio Rampage (Away)
San Antonio has been at the bottom of the Central division all season. Leading up to Saturday night’s matchup, they hadn’t won ten games yet and had already lost to the Admirals before. This should have been a match that the Admirals put away.
Both goaltenders were lights out through the first and second period. Grosenick turned away 20 shots during those periods and San Antonio’s Jordan Binnington turned away 17. Both teams also got a powerplay chance during the first two periods. Milwaukee’s Justin Kirkland took a two-minute tripping penalty at 2:08 in the first period. In the second, San Antonio’s Tyler Wotherspoon was called for roughing at 11:19.
The third period saw both teams scored. At 6:23, former Admiral Trevor Smith scored his fourth goal of the season to give San Antonio a 1-0 lead. Their lead lasted until 11:11 when Tyler Gaudet scored his fourth of the season with assists from Carrier (8) and Matt Donovan (9).
Neither team was able to put this one away in 60 minutes, so to overtime we went. Everything seemed equal for most of overtime, which Milwaukee maybe would have preferred given their recent performance in the shootout. However, at 4:23 Joey LaLeggia was mounting a breakaway when Milwaukee was called for too many men on the ice. This allowed LaLeggia to have a penalty shot. He was able to beat Grosenick to end the game. 2-1.
It was a rough week for the Admirals (obviously). It may be safe to say that until things settle down in Nashville with injuries that the Admirals will have weeks like these. The Predators organization has a lot of offensive depth, but with Arvidsson, Forsberg, Turris and Subban still on IR the pain will trickle through the entire organization.
The Admirals did have two powerplay goals in the Friday night matchup which gave some promise to what has been a struggling powerplay for the Admirals. They did improve to 15% by the end of the week. Their penalty kill has been steady around 87.5% for a few weeks now.
Eeli Tolvanen did not play in the Saturday night matchup between the Predators and Canucks. He will probably stay in Nashville for a bit longer. However, once one of the Nashville players is back either Tolvanen or Rocco Grimaldi will probably make their way back to Milwaukee.