With their backs against the wall, the Milwaukee Admirals find themselves in a 2-1 hole against the Manitoba Moose in the Central Division semifinal round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Falling 3-2 in back-to-back overtime games, the tide has turned against the Admirals. A stark contrast from last season when Milwaukee dispatched of Manitoba in five games.
On Wednesday, the Admirals trailed early in Game 3 until forward Luke Evangelista ignited the Admirals crowd, notching his second goal and fifth point of the postseason.
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) May 4, 2023
“We just have to move the puck quick, get to the net and put a their goalie under a little more pressure than what we have,” Milwaukee Admirals head coach Karl Taylor said. “A little more intensity in what we’re trying to do in all areas. Whether it’s battles or backchecking. We just have to ramp it up & understand that we’re in this situation.”
Following a 24-game stint in the NHL this season, Evangelista is no stranger to creating scoring chances. He had seven goals and 15 points after making his NHL debut in February.
After the Moose went ahead 10:03 into the second period, Admirals defenseman Kevin Gravel evened things up with his first goal of the playoffs in the third. Predators top prospect Joakim Kemell, picked up the assist, notching his first career postseason point with the secondary assist and force overtime.
new dad goals are the sweetest kind of goals 🚨
cc: new dad kevin gravel pic.twitter.com/nYDzTIbpBj
— x – Milwaukee Admirals (@mkeadmirals) May 4, 2023
After Admirals defenseman Jordan Gross was called for high sticking five minutes into OT, Manitoba forward Wyatt Bongiovanni beat Ads goaltender Yaroslav Askarov over the shoulder to win it on the powerplay to push Milwaukee to the brink of elimination.
“They just work really hard,” Admirals captain Cole Schneider said of Manitoba. “That’s a pretty good team down the hall. Really we’re just focused on us — we just got to be better.”
As they transition to Game 4 on Friday, Schneider said the Admirals need to play their game and not let the Moose get under their skin.
“Last night, we just didn’t give ourselves much a chance during the game,” Taylor said Thursday morning. “We’re just not on our game. That’s on us a group and the the coaching staff and the players to focus on getting ready for tomorrow.”
The plan for the Admirals in Game 4 is much like that of Game 1 — dictate the pace of the game and generate more scoring chances up front. Milwaukee scored three goals in each of the first two periods of that game, a 6-2 victory.
“When you see adversity you have a chance to answer the bell, focus on what you have, and see what you’re truly made of and that’s where we’re at,” Taylor added.
Follow Nick on Twitter @KieserNick