Milwaukee Loses Finale
Playoff seeding was on the line for Milwaukee and three other teams as the season went to its final day Sunday in Houston. The Admirals lost in a shootout to the Aeros, 3-2.
The loss to Houston, coupled with San Antonio's 4-3 loss to Quad City, gives the Admirals the fourth position in the West Division playoffs. Milwaukee will take on Chicago in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs beginning Wednesday at Chicago. San Antonio finished fifth in the West Division and will travel to Toronto to face the Marlies in the first round. Third-place Houston will play at Rockford.
Milwaukee got on the board first Sunday against the Aeros when Mike Santorelli fired a wrist shot from the right circle over Houston goalie Nolan Schaefer's right arm for his 21st of the season. The goal, scored at 1:32 of the first period, was assisted by John Laliberte and Kelsey Wilson.
Houston tied the game at 10:58 of the first period when Houston's Serge Payer deflected a clearing attempt by Janne Niskala off his skate to Joel Ward in the slot. Ward's wrister beat Milwaukee goalie Pekka Rinne to the stick side to knot the game.
The Aeros took a 2-1 lead at 15:20 of the first period when Milan Gajic scored a power play goal with a tap-in from the left post. Colton Gillies slid a pass from the right corner to Gajic for the go-ahead tally.
Milwaukee tied the game with a power play goal of its own at 5:15 of the second period. Josh Langfeld's slap shot from the top of the left circle was stopped by Schaefer, but the rebound caromed to Antti Pihlstrom in the right circle for an easy goal. It was Pihlstrom's 27th goal of the year, ninth on the power play. Langfeld and Janne Niskala notched the assists.
The game went to a shootout with Milwaukee scoring just once (John Vigilante) in four rounds while the Aeros scored three goals against Rinne.
The loss means Rinne will remain tied on the Admirals single season list for wins with Brian Finley (2004-05) at 36.
Milwaukee will start tghe playoffs Wednesday at Allstate Arena against the Chicago Wolves. Faceoff is at 7 p.m.