ONTARIO, CALIF – Continuing their California tour, the Milwaukee Admirals stopped by Ontario last night to take on the Ontario Reign.
The Admirals were coming off of a 2-0 loss to the San Diego Gulls and sit just above the Cleveland Monsters in 6th place.
The game did not start out well for the Admirals, who left Philippe Maillet completely alone in front of Troy Groesnick. Michael Mersch wrested the puck away from Milwaukee as the team tried to leave the defensive zone and fed it to Maillet. Maillet then out-waited Groesnick to put the Reign up 1-0.
Ontario then proceeded to take four penalties in a row, surrendering all of the momentum to the Admirals. While Milwaukee was unable to convert on the power play, the Admirals managed to tie the game at 17:33 when Yakov Trentin put the puck past Cal Petersen. Forty seconds later, Brandon Bollig put the Admirals up 2-1 and it looked like the Reign were in trouble again.
Ontario added another penalty kill to its stats for the night early in the second and then set about the task of tying the game. It took an Austin Wagner deflection of a T.J. Hensick shot right on the doorstep, but the Reign got themselves back in the game. Seven minutes later, Hensick got a deflection of his own, this one from a Sean Walker shot, and the Reign went up 3-2.
It was then up to Cal Petersen and the defense to hold onto the lead. They shut the Admirals down, allowing only 3 shots on goal in the third, including a late power-play opportunity.
The Good: Hensick continued his scoring streak with an assist and a goal. Wagner now has three goals in the past four games. Prior to that, his scoring pace had been six goals in 13 games, after a 19 game drought. Maillet has been playing very well as of late, sharing the majority of the team’s energy with Wagner, and he was finally rewarded with a goal. The penalty kill went 6-for-6 and looked good doing it.
The Bad: Two goals in 40 seconds echoes the chances the Reign gave the Monsters on Wednesday. The Reign seem to lose focus for a few shifts, allowing their opponents back in the game.
The Ugly: While the penalty Kill went 6-for-6, the Reign still took six penalties to the Admirals two. Some may be attributed to the reputation Ontario has in the Western Conference, but others are undisciplined. Brett Sutter’s penalty with only 2:15 left in the game, and the Admirals looking to tie it, could have completely turned the tide against Ontario.