Despite a Great Effort, the Rocket Defeated 4-2 by the Admirals in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE - In their first-ever visit to Milwaukee, the Rocket were unable to spoil their rivals home opener as the Admirals celebrated their 50th season in the AHL. JoÃ«l Bouchard's troops created several excellent scoring chances throughout the game but lacked opportunism and faced a strong netminder, which ultimately resulted in a 4-2 loss.
Both teams displayed strong offense and physicality right off the bat. After a few solid body checks from each team, the Admirals were first to strike only three minutes into the game. Yakov Trenin took advantage of a bouncing puck near the Rocket's blueline only to deke and defeat goaltender Charlie Lindgren. Lindgren was solid between the pipes for the Rocket, making eight saves in the first period. He was particularly sharp against Eeli Tolvanen, making a clutch save after Tolvanen skated past Laval's defence and gained a breakaway. The Admirals lack of discipline allowed the Rocket to challenge goaltender Connor Ingram, who made a spectacular glove save to rob Charles Hudon. The Rocket tied the game a few minutes later thanks to Josh Brook. The young defenseman scored his first goal in the professional ranks after sending a snipe from the left faceoff to defeat Ingram. Otto Leskinen also earned his first point in the AHL with an assist on his teammate's goal. Near the end of the frame, the Finn unleashed a shot from the point that was tipped in front of the net by Nikita Jevpalovs to give the Rocket the lead. Kevin Lynch also earned his first point with Laval with an assist on Jevpalovs goal.
The intensity and animosity between the Rocket and the Admirals carried to the second period. As it was the case in the first 20 minutes of the game, the home team scored early. Josh Wilkins tied the game, surprising Lindgren blocker-side from the right faceoff circle. With Leskinen serving a penalty, Milwaukee's Cole Schneider took advantage of his team's powerplay to give his team the lead. The Rocket were unable to capitalize on several scoring chances. Leskinen was close to scoring his first goal in the AHL but his shot hit the post while Varone's shot from the slot just missed the net.
Down 3-2, the Rocket were off to a strong start in the third period. Consistent forecheck against the Admirals defense allowed Phil Varone to gain a second solid scoring chance but Ingram made the save again with the glove. The Admirals netminder really left his mark in the final frame, making excellent saves on Alex Belzile on the powerplay, as well as Jevpalovs and Riley Barber. Pulling Lindgren for an extra forward, the Rocket tried to tie the game in the final minutes of the frame, but the Admirals had the final word, scoring in an empty net.
"There are little things we need to work on but it's coming along. [Our performance] is better than last week's. We're growing as a team and we keep getting better," said defenseman Josh Brook.
"The effort was much better; we were much more organised. We couldn't score on our chances and we had some great powerplay opportunities as well and we couldn't score. We have to give credit to the goalie at the other end of the ice. [...] I think we were more in control [of the play]. There are things we need to improve on, that's for sure," said head coach JoÃ«l Bouchard
LAV: Brook (Leskinen, Alain) | Jevpalovs (Leskinen, Lynch)
MIL: Trenin (Schneider, Carrier) | Wilkins (Allard, Tolvanen) | Schneider (Pitlick, Donovan) | Trenin
LAV: Lindgren (19/23) | MIL: Ingram (28/30)
1. Yakov Trenin - MIL | 2. Connor Ingram - MIL | 3. Cole Schneider - MIL
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