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Milwaukee Monday: Ads Split Weekend Games

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Week in Review

With two games on the calendar over the weekend, the Milwaukee Admirals looked to establish their foothold in the Western Conference’s West Division. A Friday home tilt against the Colorado Avalanche affiliate Lake Erie Monsters on Friday and a renewal of the “Amtrak Rivalry” against the Chicago Wolves, the Atlanta Thrashers, in Chicago on Saturday filled the menu for the weekend.

The Admirals headed into the weekend games on a three game point streak without Steve Begin and Mark Dekanich, both of whom had been called up to the Predators.

Ryan Thang, Nashville’s third round pick in 2007, opened things up on Friday against Lake Erie at 7:03 in the first period after Lake Erie defensemen Julien Brouillette whiffed on a routine pass in his own zone. Thang quickly took hold of the puck and shot a backhand past Jason Bacashihua for his 2nd goal of the season.

In the second period, Linus Klasen won a fight along the boards and put the puck on Mark Santorelli’s stick for a one-timer that put the Admirals up 2-0 at 5:31. Scott Ford, an unaffiliated Admirals player, chalked up the second assist on Santorelli’s seventh goal of the season.

All the while, Smith stood his ground, turning away 17 shots by the Lake Erie skaters, not even letting a broken mask affect his rhythm.

Finally, with 8:27 left in regulation, Jamie Lundmark banged a shot off the crossbar for his sixth goal of the season and his fourth on the power play.

Meanwhile, Smith managed to hold off the Monsters’ shooters in the closing minutes to pick up the third shutout in his professional career and his first with Milwaukee.

Box Score

Team 1 2 3 Final
Lake Erie Monsters 0 0 0 0
Milwaukee Admirals 1 1 1 3
Location Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Winning Goaltender Jeremy Smith
Losing Goaltender Jason Bacashihua
First Star Jeremy Smith (MIL)
Second Star Ryan Thang (MIL)
Third Star Scott Ford (MIL)
Attendance 5,482

The second game of the weekend series, however, was the polar opposite of Friday night’s game from the get go.

Jeremy Smith got the call again against former Admiral Drew MacIntyre and the Chicago Wolves.

The Wolves, the Thrashers affiliate, are actually located in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. The series against the Wolves is known as the “Amtrak Rivalry” due to the fact that the cities are just 90 minutes apart via Amtrak’s Hiawatha Line (and due to the fact that Amtrak sponsors it).

Drew MacIntyre, a 2001 draft pick of the Red Wings and a former Preds prospect, got the call for the Wolves – it was his first start in 15 games for Chicago. MacIntyre had struggled immensely coming into the game, with an 0-3-0 record, a 5.29 GAA and a 0.841 save percentage. Needless to say, there was a reason that MacIntyre had been riding the pine.

A trap game if there was ever a trap game, the Admirals were coming in with points in their last 4 games against an inconsistent team with a weak goalie. It was a game that – on paper – the Admirals should have won easily.

They didn’t.

The game began with a delay as officials and players from both teams picked up debris from the ice from a pregame pyrotechnic display. One could say that this was the last time that the Ads were in the game. With exactly 8 minutes to go in the first period, Chicago forward Patrice Cormier deflected a Paul Postma slapshot by Jeremy Smith, ending Smith’s 127 minute shutout streak.

It didn’t get better.

The Wolves struck again in the second with Spencer Machacek winning a battle for the puck in front of the net and bouncing it off of Admirals defenseman Aaron Johnson to beat Smith at 6:18 of the second.

With 27 seconds left in the second, Teemu Laakso tripped a Chicago player rushing to the net. Almost immediately after, Jon Blum gave a hard shove to Chicago player Michael Davies, sending him into the net and knocking both Smith and the goal off of their moorings. Laakso was called for tripping, Blum was lucky to get away with interference, setting up a 5-on-3 for the Wolves. With just one second left, Chicago’s Jason Krog scored on the power play and put the Wolves up 3-0 at the break.

The Wolves added another goal on the same power play early in the third as Nigel Dawes scored 34 seconds into the period, putting Chicago up 4-0.

Milwaukee’s one ray of hope was Linus Klasen, who picked up his 14th of the year off of a backhand on a breakaway at 4:36 of the third. The Admirals, however, would not sniff the goal for the rest of the game.

The Wolves, however, did. Nigel Dawes put the Wolves’ fifth and final goal past Smith with 10:40 left in the game.

The Admirals’ 5-1 loss marked their biggest loss of the season to date. For the Wolves, it was Drew MacIntyre’s first win in almost 9 months, with his last coming on March 27 of this year.

Box Score

Team 1 2 3 Final
Milwaukee Admirals 0 0 1 1
Chicago Wolves 1 2 2 5
Location Allstate Arena – Rosemont, Illinois
Winning Goaltender Drew MacIntyre
Losing Goaltender Jeremy Smith
First Star Drew MacIntyre (CHI)
Second Star Nigel Dawes (CHI)
Third Star Spencer Machachek (CHI)
Attendance 8,523

League Leaders

Player Name Category Rank
Mark Dekanich GAA 4th (1.71)
Mark Dekanich Save % 3rd (.941)
Mark Dekanich Shutouts 2nd (3)
Linus Klasen Goals T-7th (14)
Linus Klasen PPG T-7th (6)
Chris Mueller SHG 5th (3)
Chris Mueller GWG 2nd (4)

Division Standings

West Division GP W L OTL SOL PTS
San Antonio Rampage 30 21 8 1 0 43
Peoria Rivermen 30 20 7 2 1 43
Milwaukee Admirals 31 16 9 2 4 38
Texas Stars 31 17 11 2 1 37
Oklahoma City Barons 31 16 11 1 3 36
Houston Aeros 33 16 14 1 2 35
Chicago Wolves 33 16 15 2 0 34
Rockford Ice Hogs 29 12 12 1 4 29

The Week Ahead

Date Time Opponent Location
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 7:00 pm Chicago Wolves Rosemont, Illinois
Sunday, December 26, 2010 7:05 pm Rockford Ice Hogs Rockford, Illinois

Quick Notes

  • Begin and Dekanich were reassigned to Milwaukee on Saturday night. Chet Pickard should be headed back to Cincinnati.
  • The Admirals have been outshot in 18 of their last 19 games. However, they have a 10-6-1-2 record in that stretch.
  • Mark Van Guilder played on Friday night for the first time since November 10th. Van Guilder, an NHL free agent, had been sidelined for over a month with a broken thumb.
  • While starting in place of Dekanich, Jeremy Smith racked up a 3-3 record with a 3.12 GAA and a .901 save percentage. Of course, he also had that shutout. In 3 home games during the stretch, Smith was 2-1 with a 2.05 GAA and a .935 save percentage. The road, however, was a different story. During his stretch as starting goaltender, Smith’s line was 1-2, 3.99 and .873 in road games.

PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Paulus