Milwaukee Admirals Bucked This Past Weekend


After six days without a game, the Milwaukee Admirals were up against their first three-in-three of the season with games against the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Iowa Wild all on the cards. If that wasn’t enough to push the stamina meter the traveling to each game would be a nice little test in its own right: Milwaukee (Friday), Rockford (Saturday), and Iowa (Sunday).

It could be worse, though. The Admirals only have three of these three-in-three’s this season. This time a year ago the team would have been begging for a schedule so light. The team had eight three-in-three’s in 2013-14.

The opening game of the weekend triple-header was with the Amtrak Rivals and saw the Admirals escape with a 3-2 (OT) victory. The Admirals held a two-goal lead through two periods thanks to Austin Watson and Viktor Arvidsson scoring each of their sixth goals of the season. Yet, the Wolves came out hard in the third period and earned overtime.

Once again it meant getting a look at the AHL’s overtime format that consists as such: seven minutes of overtime, after three minutes (at the first stoppage in play) the overtime period shifts from four-on-four to three-on-three for the final four minutes of overtime, and -should a shootout be required- it is a best of three shootout format.

For the second time this young season. The Admirals would beat the Wolves in the three-on-three OT. Magnus Hellberg played a puck up the wall to Johan Alm who dinked a pass forward to Pontus Åberg. He is already no stranger to scoring coast-to-coast goals in Milwaukee, but to score end-to-end as he did whilst exhausted from the pace of the overtime frame. Åberg fired out of a toe-drag to get the best of goaltender Matt Climie and seal the Admirals eleventh win of the season.

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From here, the Admirals weekend goes a wee bit south. The IceHogs, behind a masterful performance by ex-Admiral Scott Darling in net, held off the Ads 3-2 in regulation. This was nearly a flip-side result as it was the Admirals coming back from a 2-0 deficit with goals by Garrett Noonan and, for the first time in his professional playing career, Brendan Leipsic. Yet, T.J. Brennan‘s power-play goal in the second period would be enough of a bite back to hold on. The Admirals out shot the IceHogs 40-33 in the game. It was a tough loss for Marek Mazanec to take after having sat out of the last three Admirals games with Hellberg’s perfect start to the season being rode out for all its money’s worth.

Sunday’s contest wasn’t just the Admirals final game in their three-in-three. It was also the Wild’s last leg of a three-in-three. To be honest, the way the game played out the fatigue looked very evident from the two teams. The game ended with a 2-1 (SO) loss for the Admirals and it wasn’t even until 2:23 was left in regulation before the game received its first goal.

Hellberg sprinted out for a flying poke check to disrupt a breakaway on Jordan Schroeder. Yet, he was well out of position when Tyler Graovac got to the puck and fired through the make-shift goaltender on the play – Anthony Bitetto.

With Hellberg to the bench, the Admirals successfully popped in a goal with the extra attacker on. Watson dumped in a rebound after a Leipsic point shot to manage at least a point for the Ads in Iowa. Sadly, that was all they could muster up. The Wild scored the lone shootout attempt with a Zack Phillips snapshot low to the blocker side of Hellberg. The defeat ended the big Swede’s perfect start to his season in net for the Ads. He is now 6-0-1-0 on the season. He maintains an AHL best for goals against average (0.96) and save percentage (0.961).

The Admirals will look to rebound from their second two-game skid of the season with a rematch with the Wolves in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. Then this weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, they make one of their rare trips out to the East Coast where they’ll battle the Carolina Hurricane’s AHL affiliate the Charlotte Checkers.