The Milwaukee Admirals started their first game of the postseason slowly and fell 6-2 to the Toronto Marlies
Winners of five out of their last six contests prior to the playoffs, Milwaukee’s confidence was sky high prior to their game tonight. Trailing 1-0 after the first period, however, the Nashville Predators AHL affiliate watched Toronto’s lead grow as the game progressed.
“We didn’t put the puck in the right areas. We need to do a better job of controlling the important areas,” Admirals coach Dean Evanson told Admirals Roundtable. “We had the puck through the neutral zone a lot, so now we need to figure out how to get it in those good areas. Our guys have to get to the net more, they did a good job of boxing us out.”
The higher seed in the matchup, the Marlies decided to have the first two games of the best-of-five series played in Milwaukee and the last three in Toronto. The home team to open the series, Milwaukee needed to start strongly but they couldn’t accomplish that this evening.
“On that first goal, I wouldn’t say it was a missed assignment. It was kind of just bad luck for us,” Evanson said. “A situation where Rodney gets tripped up following his guy behind the net, then we’re not squared up with our guys and they score.”
Forward Josh Leivo‘s power-play goal extended the Marlies lead to 2-0 in the second period, and the Admirals looked hesitant in the offensive zone as they tried to mount a comeback.
“They won a lot of the battles tonight, but I don’t think it should have been a 6-2 game,” Milwaukee defenseman Anthony Bitetto said. “They got a couple empty net goals at the end to really stretch the score, but it was a tight game. The kind of chippy, playoff type feel you expect. Now we just need to play better tomorrow.”
A one-timer by Admirals Patrick Cehlin cut the Marlies lead to 2-1, but a quick answer sent the Marlies to the locker room up 3-1 after 40 minutes. Any other offense by the Admirals after that, just wasn’t enough.
Now down 1-0 in the series, Milwaukee must emerge with a win before the series shifts to Toronto for whatever remaining games must be played.
Game two in Milwaukee is tomorrow night at 7 p.m. (CST).