The Milwaukee Admirals dominated the Chicago Wolves in a 5-1 decision that marked a sweep of the Wolves by the Admirals at the Allstate Arena this season. Pekka Rinne, the Admirals goaltender, stopped 35 Wolves shots for the win.
Chicago’s magic number to clinch a playoff berth declined to three, despite the loss, due to the Peoria Rivermen losing to the Houston Aeros.
“Milwaukee has out-shot, out-competed and out-coached us this season,” Wolves head coach John Anderson said. “They come in against us truly believing they can beat us. There’s no question they’re the best team in the division right now.”
The Wolves looked intimidated starting from the first period of play. With just five minutes into the game, Ville Koistinen brought the puck from behind the Admiral’s goal and passed through several Wolves defense men to cross the blue line. A pass over to Nolan Yonkman and Yonkman’s shot from the circle marked the first goal of the night on Wolves goaltender Fred Brathwaite. The Wolves replies about five minutes later. The play started with Admiral Pat Leahy bringing the puck across the Wolves blue line. In the right circle he passed cross ice to Kim Staal who was within the hash marks and had open net to shoot at. Brathwaite made a spectacular post to post save and Staal crashed into the boards. Jason Krog came up with the puck and passed it up ice to Darren Haydar. Haydar penetrated the Milwaukee zone at center ice and drew two defenders into him. He passed it to Brett Sterling on his left who had no defenders and put it past Rinne to tie the game. The next score occurred off of a face-off during a Wolves power play. Mark Popovic came up with the puck and brought it back into the Wolves defensive zone along the boards. Cal O’Reilly stole the puck from Popovic and was undefended when he faked Brathwaite to score. 2-1 at end of the first frame for the Admirals.
On an Admirals power play, O’Reilly brought the puck across the Wolves blue line along the boards where he ran into opposition. He passed to center ice outside the hash marks to find Jason Guerriero. Guerriero crossed into the circle and passed cross ice to find Brandon Segal off the far post. Segal, virtually undefended, one-timed it in for the score. 3-1 Admirals. Bracken Kearns seemed to do a drop pass on the next goal, but he retained the puck, penetrating the Wolves defense again, to find himself undefended for 4-1 Admirals.
Although the Wolves put up a physical fight, with Guillaume Desbiens, Andre Deveaux, Sheldon Brookbank and T. J. Reynolds receiving fighting penalties, the rest of the Wolves seemed to fold their hands. In the third period Milwaukee played with the Wolves, putting only five shots on goal. A third period empty net goal by Chris Durno confirmed the Wolves attitude as defense simply gave up on keeping up with Durno in his break-away.
Brathwaite received the loss with 19 saves. Milwaukee went two for three on power plays, while the Wolves were unable to convert any of their seven power plays.