Admirals make playoff push, sink Rivermen

MILWAUKEE -- Kyle Wilson scored a pair of their period goals to break a 1-1 tie as the Milwaukee Admirals defeated the Peoria Rivermen by a score of 3-2 Wednesday night at the Bradley Center. The win for the Ads snapped a five game losing streak to the Rivermen and pulled Milwaukee within one point for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Admirals controlled the puck for most of the opening period as they outshot the Rivermen 14-3. The first also offered plenty of scoring chances for the Ads, but they were not able to capitalize on any of them. On more than one occasion the Ads had a chance to knock in a rebounded puck left alone in front of the net, but there was no one there to take advantage. Milwaukee’s best scoring chance came when Chris Mueller took advantage of a Rivermen turnover and a fired a shot on Jake Allen, which just missed over Allen’s glove shoulder. After one period of play the Ads and Rivermen were scoreless.

Peoria looked to break the scoreless tie with 15:33 left in the second period as the Rivermen had Atte Engren beat but defensemen Scott Valentine came to his goalies rescue and kept the puck from the back of the net after it had trickled behind Engren.

At the 15:27 mark of the second Milwaukee’s Taylor Beck blocked a shot from the Rivermen. Beck took control of the puck as he raced out to a two-on-one with teammate Brodie Dupont. Beck fired a shot past Allen’s glove side putting the Ads up 1-0.

The Rivermen answered back with 56 seconds left in the second as Derek Nesbitt, as he was falling down, fried a shot from the right point that beat a screened Engren tying the game at one, which is how the second period ended.

The Ads took the lead for good at the 3:15 mark of the third period as Wilson carried the puck into the zone at full speed, before he stopped on a dime and took a shot from the right faceoff circle that whizzed past Allen’s glove. Wilson’s goal put the Ads up 2-1.

Wilson added his second goal of the game, which would also be the game winning goal, with 4:41 left in the game, when he went from the far faceoff circle to the high slot and sent a backhander that beat Allen blocker side shoulder extending the Admirals lead to 3-1.

The Admirals needed that two-goal cushion as just over a minute left in the game the Rivermen scored their second goal of the contest with Allen on the bench in favor of an extra attacker. Brett Sterling slammed a puck that was bouncing in front of Engren to the back of the net cutting the Ads lead 3-2 with 1:02 to play. Allen came out of the net again, but this time the Admirals were able to hold off the Peoria pressure and preserve the win.

In addition to Wilson’s two goals, Beck also recorded a two-point night with a goal and an assist, while Engren made 19 saves to earn the win and snap a four-game losing skid.

The Admirals return to action on Friday, March 2nd when they host the Rockford IceHogs at 7:00 pm at the Bradley Center.