Wilson, Admirals Force Game 7
Milwaukee, WI--The Milwaukee Admirals escaped elimination as Kelsey Wilson tipped in the game-winning goal 1:01 into overtime as the Ads beat the Houston Aeros 5-4 on Sunday night at the Bradley Center. The win evens the series at three games each as the West Division Finals heads to a game seven on Tuesday May 10 at 7 pm at the Bradley Center
Ryan Thang (4a) and Wilson (1g-2a) both had career nights to pace the Ads offense and ended Houston’s streak of 11 consecutive overtime wins.
Entering the game the Admirals were 1-for-22 on the power play and just 4:01 into the first period the Ads found themselves with the man advantage. From the top of the left circle Roman Josi controlled the puck and slid a pass to Ryan Ellis positioned at the top of the point. From there Ellis wound up and blasted a slap shot that was too much to contain for Houston’s goalie Matt Hackett, and the puck bounced in at 4:46 to give the Ads an early 1-0 lead. The tally was the first professional goal for Ellis, playing in just his sixth game with Milwaukee.
Later on in the first period Gabriel Bourque was in the right place at the right time as he notched his eleventh point of the playoffs on a goal at 18:29. Mark Van Guilder led the Admirals rush at center ice and found Mark Santorelli across the ice at the top of the circle. Santorelli then gave a quick pass to Bourque flashing in front of the net where Bourque tipped it past Hackett to give the Ads a 2-0 lead.
Early into the second period the Admirals found themselves on the man advantage again, and capitalized scoring their second power play goal in three tries. Thang skated with the puck at the near boards and spotted Wilson positioned in the slot and hit him with a quick pass. Wilson then noticed Josi trailing and dropped a perfect pass back where Josi smoked a shot past Hackett to give the Ads a seemingly comfortable lead at 3:24. The assist gave Wilson at least a point in four consecutive games.
Houston had other ideas as they mounted a furious comeback in the second period netting three consecutive goals within 3:52 of each other. Jarod Palmer got the Aeros on the board 9:42 into the period when he avoided the Ads defender and fired a point blank wrister at Milwaukee goalie Jeremy Smith that beat him glove-side.
After the face-off the Aeros were deep in the Admirals zone where Patrick O’Sullivan controlled the puck behind the Ads goal. O’Sullivan slid a pass from behind the goal line across the zone to Maxim Noreau at the top of the circle where Noreau placed a slap shot over the should of Smith to make it a 3-2 game just 47 seconds after their first goal.
Three minutes later the Aeros got another goal, this time on the power play, to give them at least one power play tally in the last five games. O’Sullivan again set up the goal for the Aeros as he found Jon DiSalvatore flying through the slot and fed him the puck where DiSalvatore knocked in the one-timer past Smith to knot the score at three.
Halfway through the third period the Aeros tallied their fourth consecutive goal to give them their first lead of the game. Off of a face off the puck got in on Smith where he couldn’t corral it and then found himself amongst a pile of skaters. After a few shot attempts the puck bounced right to O’Sullivan where he slapped in the go ahead goal 9:32 into the period to give him his third point of the night.
With under five minutes to go, and the Admirals fighting for their playoff lives, they managed to net the equalizer on a great give-and-go between Chris Mueller and Thang. The two Admirals forwards passed back and forth in the high slot and Mueller ended up with the puck where he wristed a shot past a screen Hackett to keep the Admirals alive.
With the score deadlocked at four the two teams lined up for their third consecutive overtime game, where Milwaukee has never beat Houston in the postseason. The Admirals didn’t waste any time in the extra frame as Thang unleashed a shot from the left point that Wilson re-directed in the net for the series saving goal just 1:01 into the period.
Smith stayed active in net as he added 29 saves to his league leading 394 in the postseason and improved his record to 7-5.
In addition to Thang and Wilson’s seven points, Mueller (1g-1a) and Josi (1g-1a) both had multiple point nights for Milwaukee.
Tickets for Tuesday night’s game seven can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000 or logging on to milwaukeeadmirals.com. For more information, or to purchase group tickets, fans should call the Admirals office at (414) 227-0550. Don’t forget to follow the Admirals on Twitter (@mkeadmirals) and on Facebook!