MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Admirals raced out to a 3-0 lead and then hold off a late charge by the Hamilton Bulldogs to take a 3-2 win at the Bradley Center Friday night.
This win comes at a time when every point is crucial as the Ads look to move up in the conference standings with the playoffs just around the corner. Milwaukee jumps to 11th place in the Western Conference with 68 points, five shy of the eighth and final playoff spot. However, the Admirals have played fewer games than all of the teams in front of them.
Ryan Thang got things started for the Ads as he took advantage of the their first power-play opportunity; scoring the first goal of the game on a one-timer from a Kyle Wilson pass at 8:49 in the first period. The power-play came as the result of former Admirals forward Robert Slaney’s tripping penalty at 10:51into the game; Ads forward Michael Latta was also awarded an assist on the play.
The second Ads goal came as leading scorer Chris Mueller recorded his 27th goal of the season with 4:22 on the clock as he capitalized on a rebound from the slot on a Brody Dupont shot.
The Ads continued to position themselves in the right place at the right time as they found the back of the net for the third time on the second rebound goal of the game at 11:20 of the second; The play began when Victor Bartley fired a shot from blue line that hit Kevin Henderson in front of the goal and trickled over to Van Guilder, who had an open net.
The goal by Van Guilder would prove to be the final goal for the Admirals as well as the eventual game winner.
Inside the final minute of second period play Hamilton finally put themselves on the board when forward Ian Schultz beat Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith five-hole.
After two periods of intense play, the third began relatively slowly as both teams did much of nothing on offense. However, with five minutes left in the game, Hamilton brought the game within one on a short-handed goal scored by Dogs forward Brian Willsie with an assist from Philippe Lefebvre
The Dogs weren’t done yet as they tried to battle back with time running out. They came close with less than 15 seconds left on the clock, but Smith stopped them short with an amazing stick save that kept the Admirals on top.
Smith finished the game with 17 saves on 19 shots, and proved to be clutch when the game was on the line.
The Ads head to Peoria for a Saturday night game against the Rivermen and return home to battle the Rockford IceHogs for a 3:00 pm showdown to finish the three in three weekend. Sunday will also be the Ads annual Dog Day Afternoon sponsored by Pedigree. Ads faithful are encouraged to bring along their pooches for some pup-a-palooza and can do so for only $3 dollars.