The Milwaukee Admirals are struggling. Staggering. Stumbling. They are clinging on to the last playoff spot after going just 2-5-0-3 in their last ten games. They are four points ahead of the ninth and tenth teams in the playoff hunt, the Iowa Wild and the San Antonio Rampage. The Admirals have 24 games remaining, which is enough time for them to get on a run and jump up in the standings.
This week saw the Ads play a three-in-three starting against the impressive Abbotsford Heat. Before a solid Milwaukeean-crowd of 10,277 (a Cheap Trick post-game concert surely helped), the Ads were ultimately burned by the Heat.
After falling in a quick one goal hole, Vinny Saponari scored his tenth of the year at 3:41 to knot things up.
Taylor Beck gave the home team the lead 3:26 into the second period with his twelfth of the year.
Despite outshooting the Heat 30-14 after two periods, Abbotsford really turned on the heat (so many puns) in the third, outshooting Milwaukee 16-6. The Calgary Flames affiliate scored two goals in the process, beating the baby Preds 4-2.
The Admirals were again dreadful on the powerplay, finishing 0-5.
Scott Darling got the start in net and was hung with the loss, stopping 26 of 29 shots (Ads allowed an empty netter at 19:59 in the third). Full game highlights can be found here.
The Ads then traveled down to Rockford, Illinois to battle the Icehogs. First star of the game Jason LaBarbera stopped 36 shots from the Admirals en route to a 4-1 win against Milwaukee.
Saponari was the only Admiral to find the back of the net to make the game 4-1 at 9:13 in the third. The goal was his eleventh and came from Tony Bitetto and Colton Sissons on the powerplay. They finished 1-5 on the man advantage.
Hannu Toivonen got the start for the Admirals and allowed three goals in 40 minutes before getting yanked for Darling, who allowed one in 19:55 of action.
The next night the Admirals were in Grand Rapids, Michigan where they fought the Griffins to the very end. Darling and Griffins' goalie Petr Mrazek both did not allow a goal in regulation and overtime.
Mathieu Tousignant, Filip Forsberg, and Taylor Beck all scored in the shootout, but Griffins' Brennan Evans scored after Simon Moser wasn't able to, to give the Griffins the win. Both teams were 0-5 on the powerplay.
Up next for the Admirals is a rematch against the Griffins in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Wild come into town on Friday night, and it's Rochester in town on Sunday. This could be an exciting week for the Admirals, who may welcome Pekka Rinne back on a rehab assignment. I sure hope the fans in Milwaukee recognize this and come out to support the greatest Admiral of all time.
(Photo by: Milwaukee Admirals)