ROSEMONT, Ill. – The series between these arch-rivals turned even uglier as the Chicago Wolves fell to for the eighth time this year to the Milwaukee Admirals by the score of 4-3, with two more games still to play for the season series. The series, called the Amtrak Rivalry because of the rail line that runs between the two cities, has been dominated by the Wolves the last three years. The trophy was clinched the last time these two played just under a week ago.
All week long Chicago has played well and kept the interest up for the game, but the simple game seems to have slipped away from the team as mistakes happened and the let Milwaukee’s physicality dictate their play. You look up and down the lineup and you see the size of the team but in this game they played small and let everything about the Admiral’s dominate them. The scores on paper looked close but it should’ve been turned the other way.
Milwaukee got on the board first on the man-advantage as center Austin Watson deflected the puck in past Matt Climie from a pass coming straight in from Mattias Ekholm at the 8:54 mark. Darren Haydar tied up the game in the first as the Admirals turned over the puck in their offensive zone to forward Eric Kattlelus who charged up the lane and finding the Wolves captain to his right for the shot to the back of the net.
The Admirals took the lead again in the second as the player was coming out of the penalty box. Right wing Patrick Cehlin took the puck in along the boards and drove around right past a Wolves defender with ease and charged the net allowing a short rebound that came out enough to have Michael Bang paddle the puck in. The Wolves again managed to tie the score on the power play to finish off the second frame as defenseman The Wolves brought the puck up to Haydar who in turn passed it back to Connauton who was trailing behind, he settled the puck and fired it in passed a screened Magnus Hellberg.
All was going good, but again the third period like most of this season saw the Wolves unravel. Watson got his second of the game unassisted, well you can give the assist to the Wolves as Watson skated in around the near circle, and lightly passed it in across in front of the net past Climie. But the puck hit a Wolves defenseman’s skate and went in behind the netminder.
Late in the period the Admiral’s put up a two-goal lead on the power play as Milwaukee cycled the puck around and trapped the Wolves in the middle where Brad Winchester spotted Jusso Puustinen across the way for a backdoor goal with 3:35 left. After exchanging timeouts, the Wolves managed to play with a little more urgency and managed to close three players in to the net and battled in front with the puck coming to Mark Matheson who lifted the puck up and in over Hellberg with 53 seconds left.
The Wolves got an opportunity to tie the game up as the Admiral’s Michael Latta was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the ensuing faceoff as he slashed Brett Sterling’s stick, but the Wolves couldn’t finish the job.
Milwaukee got only 17 shots on Matt Climie for the win, while Magnus Hellberg went 25 for 28 shots. As for special teams, the Admirals converted 2 of 3 while the Wolves went only 1 for 6 on the man-advantage. By night’s end the loss placed the Wolves in the ninth spot looking in on the playoffs with five other teams breathing down their backs for a chance.
The Three Stars of the game were; Milwaukee’s Daniel Bang with a goal as the First Star, at Second was the Wolves Darren Haydar with a goal and an assist, and with two goals was the Admiral’s Austin Watson.
The Wolves now embark on a six game road trip as everyone one of those games become very important whether the Wolves make it into the playoffs. Then after the road trip the Wolves will again have to deal with the Admirals as they face them twice in the final week of the season.