Ads Outshine Stars, Advance to Play Aeros
Milwaukee, WI—Behind another stellar performance by goaltender Jeremy Smith, the Milwaukee Admirals clinched the series four games to two and advanced to the West Division Finals by beating the Texas Stars in a double-overtime thriller 3-2 Monday night at the Bradley Center.
Game six shaped up to be another low-scoring, hard-hitting chess match with both teams trading goals for the first three periods. Mark Van Guilder came through as the hero for Milwaukee as he knocked in the series clinching goal 10:42 into the second overtime.
Milwaukee got off to a lead 4:20 into the first period on Mike Bartlett’s first point of the series. Andreas Thuresson received a pass from Kelsey Wilson and brought the puck around the left boards where he jammed a shot at the post and was turned away by Texas netminder Richard Bachman. Bartlett trailed the action and came in to flip the rebound past Bachman to give the Ads the early advantage.
The Admirals had to kill off two penalties midway through the first period where Smith came up with some spectacular saves. The Ads penalty kill unit couldn’t hold on forever though as Texas managed a power play marker 4:41 into the second period. Smith slid out to his left and turned away a shot from Raymond Sawada but right-winger Colton Sceviour swooped in to slap the puck into the open net to even the score.
The Admirals came out swinging in the third period as they jumped out to a 2-1 lead just 1:28 into the period on Thuresson’s first goal of the playoffs. Wilson got the play started by finding Bartlett in the left corner where he controlled the puck and surveyed the ice. Bartlett then hit Thuresson perfectly in stride coming down the slot where Thuresson slid the puck past the outstretched leg of Bachman to light the lamp.
Texas would not end their season without a fight however as they netted the equalizer six minutes later from their leading scorer Travis Morin. Ondrej Roman had possession behind the Milwaukee net were he crept around and found Morin positioned at the top of the crease. Facing away from the net, Morin then flipped a backhander over Smith’s left shoulder to deadlock the score at two.
Neither team could manage a goal in the final 12:46 so they headed to their third overtime game of the series. Skating through the first overtime Milwaukee managed to survive as they got more miraculous saves from Smith as they were out shot by Texas 13-2.
Finally, after 90:42 of back-and-forth action, the Admirals managed to clinch the series when Van Guilder was able to beat Bachman for the final goal. Ryan Thang got tripped up at the blue line but managed to poke the puck away and regain possession. He then skated up the right side and got an uncontested shot off at Bachman that bounced to the high slot. Van Guilder was right there to slap in the rebound for his second goal of the playoffs.
Bartlett (1g-1a), Thuresson (1g-1a) and Wilson (2a) paced the offense as they notched multiple point nights.
Smith earned his fourth Calder Cup Playoff victory to improve his playoff record to 4-2 as he made 52 saves, with 19 of those coming after regulation.
Bachman turned in an impressive performance for Texas as he helped keep the score close making 47 saves in the loss.
The Admirals start West Division Finals action against the Houston Aeros, who swept the Peoria Rivermen in their opening series, on Friday April 29 at 7 pm at the Bradley Center. Fans can purchase tickets by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or logging on to milwaukeeadmirals.com, while fans looking for playoff packages, group tickets or more information should call the Admirals office at (414) 227-0550. Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook!