A disappointing loss to the Milwaukee Admirals by the Chicago Wolves at the Bradley Center Friday. The Wolves, after struggling to take the lead from a 2-0 deficit, could not hold on, losing two goals and the game in the final five minutes of play when Kelsey Wilson scored twice in 37 seconds.
Ondrej Pavelec was called for unsportsmanlike conduct as a result of the final goal. Pavelec's defense was penetrated repeatedly during the game. It seems like a problem that has continued all season with Pavelec finally responding to it in a physical manner. But you need to wonder if this was the fault of the opposition or the opportunity they used to win?
In other words, it is the job of the defense to deny the opposition position between them and the goal. Yet, that is what Brian Sipotz, in particular, is allowing in game after game. Sipotz is listed as 6'7” and 248 pounds. His hometown is listed as South Bend but he's playing with a Swedish passport on that ice. It is a wonder to me that his +/- is +5. That demonstrates to me how limited this statistic is for measuring the quality of blueliners.
Milwaukee is in command of the conference at the moment. They have 62 points, which is 12 points and a game in hand over the second place team, the Rockford IceHogs. For every team in the North and the West, this team has a target on it. Last night, the Wolves almost succeeded in doing what few teams have been able to do, beat them at home. That's only happened five times this season. On a side note, Milwaukee is in a bit of a slump at home, having lost three of the last five games played at the Bradley Center.
Milwaukee led the scoring with two goals in the first five minutes of the game. At the end of one period it was two goals on ten shots for Milwaukee. In the second frame, Sipotz was penalized with a high sticking resulting in a Milwaukee power play. Joey Crabb, just down from Atlanta, picked up a loose puck and broke away to score a shortie. After Chicago received a power play late in the period, it evened the score on a goal from Spencer Machacek.
Entering the final period of play, Chicago created a lead on a Brett Sterling goal, then extended it on a Jordan LaValee score, making the game 4-2 Chicago with about six minutes remaining. One of the reasons Sipotz has that high +/- that I discussed earlier, is that he is on the ice for the offensive successes. That happened in the third period, where he is credited with two assists. For the night he only had a +1. He was on the ice for what happened next.
Milwaukee went on the power play at 15:11, the result of a tripping called on Riley Holzapfel. Kelsey Wilson used the advantage to score. Here's the tale of the sudden reversal from the Milwaukee Admirals game summary:
Thirty-seven seconds is all it took for Wilson to add two goals to his assist and first period fight, and it sure did come at a good time. At 15:28 of the third period, the Admirals were on the power-play when Cody Franson fired a rocket slap shot from the point and Wilson was there to tip it in and tie the score at four apiece.
My note here: Kelsey was wide open. No defense. Just him and Pavelec.
The game-winner for Wilson came off a rebound shortly after his first marker of the evening. It was Ryan Maki who drove the puck in down the right-wing side and fired a shot that bounced hard off of Chicago goalie Ondrej Pavelec’s legpad, and came right out to Wilson who fired it in for the go-ahead goal of the game.
Same thing again.
“He’s a good presence on the power play in front of the net. I made the decision this morning that he was going to play on the power play in front of the net, and low and behold, he makes something happen when he’s doing that,” said Admirals head coach Lane Lambert.
Undoubtedly a star of the game performance by Wilson who notched a Gordie Howe Hat Trick with his first goal. Just amazing. Wilson notched two goals and an assist for the night with a fighting major. He only was credited with two shots on goal for the night, so he was 100 percent in shooting. Wow. Just Wow!
Cody Franson had a goal and two assists for the MAds, while Ryan Maki had a goal and an assist. Drew MacIntyre's win counted 29 saves.
Pavelec notched 30 saves on the night and an unusual minor penalty for a goal tender. Jeff Hamilton and Sipotz had two assists. Joey Crabb notched five shots on goal.