Rocco Grimaldi scored a pair of goals to lead the Milwaukee Admirals to a 5-3 win over the Texas Stars Saturday at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
The victory moved the Admirals into third place in the Central Division past idle Iowa. Milwaukee has a .543 winning percentage, just ahead of Iowa’s .536 winning percentage. Milwaukee improved to 3-0 against the Stars this season with the victory.
Like the previous game, where the two teams combined for five power play goals, special teams played a big part in the contest.
The Stars opened the scoring after the Admirals had killed a minor penalty against Matt Donovan. Ten seconds after Donovan exited the penalty box, a shot was deflected and Stars forward Fredrik Karlstrom was able to slap the puck into a mostly open goal at 6:56 of the first frame.
Milwaukee tied the game with a power play tally at 8:13 of the first period. Defenseman Jeremy Davies held the puck in at the middle of the Stars blue line. He slid a pass to Matt Luff in the right circle and Luff roofed a wrist shot over the right shoulder of Texas goalie Matt Jurusik for his 13th goal of the season.
The Admirals had another power play attempt at 10:14 of the first period, but a turnover at the Texas blue line sprung Nick Caamano on a breakaway and he was able to give the Stars a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded goal at 11:06 of the first period.
The Admirals “knotted” the game once again at 4:30 of the second period. Forward Graham Knott fired a shot from the slot over the goalie’s shoulder, with Joseph LaBate providing a screen, for his eighth goal of the season. Davies and Josh Healey had the assists.
Milwaukee claimed the lead at 7:20 of the second frame when Cole Schneider backhanded an airborne puck from the right post into the goal for his 17th marker of the season. Defenseman Marc Del Gaizo tried a pass from the left wing boards in the Stars zone. It was deflected into the air and Schneider swatted the puck into the cage. Del Gaizo and Grimaldi both assisted on the tally.
Grimaldi scored his 19th goal of the season while on the power play to give the Ads a 4-2 advantage. Luff fed a pass from the center point to the left circle and Grimaldi blasted a slap shot into the goal at 9:26 of the second period. Donovan was also awarded an assist.
Texas moved to within a goal when defenseman Dawson Barteaux backhanded a rebound into the net at 12:17 of the third period.
Grimaldi scored into an empty net at 19:44 of the third frame. It was his 20th goal of the season. Cody Glass and Schneider picked up the helpers.
Admirals goalie Devin Cooley, who hadn’t played in ten games, earned the win with 21 saves. It was his first win since Dec. 22 and his first appearance in a game since Jan. 15.
Milwaukee will visit Chicago for an 11am face-off against the Wolves Tues., Feb. 15. The Admirals return home Wed., Feb. 16 to host the Rockford IceHogs at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.
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