MILWAUKEE, Wis. – The Milwaukee Admirals needed a win Tuesday night against the Chicago Wolves at University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Panther Arena if they wanted to make the playoffs. They also needed a Rockford IceHogs loss.
The first period was as evenly matched as it could be, with the two teams ending the period with on chance on the power play and eight shots on goal apiece. Though they traded cycles, neither team was able to spoil the other’s goaltender.
That is, until Jake Bischoff found twine just 38 seconds into the second period. T.J. Tynan found the defenseman all alone at the blue line and slid him the puck which the Minnesota-native teed up from distance. The puck went off an Admirals defender in front of goaltender Anders Lindback and in to give the visitors the game’s first lead.
While Milwaukee would not convert on a four-minute power play courtesy of Paul Thompson high-sticking Bobby Butler, Anthony Richard got his team on the board at 16:23 of the second completing a tic-tac-toe pass play in front of Oscar Dansk.
Minutes later, Thompson made up for his earlier penalty when he regained the lead for Chicago on the power play. Stefan Matteau caught Chicago’s captain wide open in front of the Milwaukee net for the easy goal.
Teemu Pulkkinen gave Chicago a 3-1 lead at 5:45 of the third when his wrister from the front of the net beat Lindback and appeared to all but send Milwaukee’s playoff hopes into oblivion.
However, Frederick Gaudreau got one back for the Admirals in the must-win game on the power play when he beat Dansk glove-side at 15:29.
Chicago gave Milwaukee a chance to tie with 2:27 on the board when Paul Thompson went off for a holding penalty. Dean Evason pulled Lindback for the extra attacker, and his gamble paid off. Harry Zolnierczyk tied the game on the power play with 30 seconds on the clock, beating Dansk on an impossible angle from the goal line near the bottom of the circle.
Though Zolnierczyk’s goal kept the Admirals’ playoff hopes alive, they would be dashed a minute later when the Rockford IceHogs clinched the fourth and final Central Division playoff spot with a 5-3 win over the Iowa Wild. Now, the Admirals were playing for pride.
Though the two teams would trade off chances in overtime, it would take a shootout for a victor to emerge. Trevor Smith and Brandon Pirri were the only skaters to score in the opening three rounds, and Philip Holm’s goal in the fifth round of the now-sudden death shootout round let Chicago skate away with the extra point.
Dansk made 24 saves in the second of back-to-back wins over the Admirals. With the two points, the Wolves now need just four points to seal the Central Division title with three games left.
After starting the season 5-11-4-1, Chicago now finds itself 40-22-7-4.
The Chicago Wolves next face off against the Rockford IceHogs in the first of a home-and-home Friday at Rockford. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. CST.
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