Admirals Top Aeros, Take Series Lead
Houston, TX—Steve Begin scored the game-winning goal and added two assists to lead the Milwaukee Admirals to a 5-3 win over the Houston Aeros Tuesday at the Toyota Center. The win gives the Admirals a 2-games-to-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Begin, a former Calder Cup MVP, scored the game-winner just 79 seconds after Houston defenseman Marco Scandella’s power play goal brought Houston within one at 3-2. Milwaukee forward Andreas Thuresson skated into the offensive zone on the right wing as the Admirals moved into Houston’s end 3-on-2. Thuresson passed to the left circle for Mike Bartlett. Begin moved to the right post and slammed the Bartlett pass into the net for his second goal of the postseason at 9:35 of the third period.
Just 33 seconds later, Houston forced a turnover at neutral ice and Jarod Palmer went in on a breakaway. His shot cleared goalie Jeremy Smith’s glove and bounced out of the net. The referee signaled it was not a goal and the goal judge’s light never came on. Milwaukee carried the puck to the Houston zone. After a whistle, the official spoke with the goal judge and after a conversation the Aeros were awarded the goal.
Milwaukee answered again just 26 seconds after the call. Again, Begin carried the puck into the Aeros zone on the left wing. He fired a shot on goal that bounced away from Houston netminder Matt Hackett and Bartlett scored on the rebound. Bartlett’s second goal of the postseason was tallied at 10:34 and was assisted by Begin and Roman Josi.
Houston scored a power play goal at 8:15 of the first to claim the early 1-0 lead. Aeros forward Robbie Earl had the puck on the left wing boards. He fed a pass to the right circle for a pinching defenseman, Jared Spurgeon. Spurgeon’s quick shot hit the back of the net for his first postseason goal.
Milwaukee’s Mark Van Guilder tied the game at 17:55 of the first period, just as a Houston penalty ended. Aaron Johnson manned the right point and passed to the left circle. Ryan Thang made a nice reception of the feed by kicking the puck from his left skate to his stick. His shot was redirected by Van Guilder for his third postseason goal.
Thang gave the Admirals a 2-1 lead with his fourth goal of the postseason at 8:55 of the second period. Kelsey Wilson gained the Aeros zone on the right wing, delayed then dropped a pass for Scott Ford. The defenseman’s shot was kicked away by the right leg of Houston goalie Matt Hackett to Thang crashing to the left post.
Milwaukee gained a two-goal advantage as defenseman Grant Lewis skated around a Houston defender into the slot. He was tripped and drew a delayed penalty against the Aeros. As he fell, he passed the puck behind the Aeros goal to Begin. Begin fed a quick pass to the top of the crease where Thuresson fired a one-timer for his second goal of the postseason at 13:58 of the second period.
Admirals goalie Smith stopped 31 shots for the win. Milwaukee totaled 25 shots on goal against Hackett.
Games four in the series is Thursday night at 7:05 pm at the Toyota Center. The Admirals will host another viewing party for game four at Buck Bradleys. Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook!