MILWAUKEE - Peoria out shot, and frankly, out played Milwaukee for the better part of two periods, but the Admirals managed to squeak out a 2-1 victory in the final five minutes of Thursday night's game against the Rivermen Thursday night.
Although this was the third meeting of the season between the two teams, this is the first time Peoria has skated at the BMO Bradley Center this season. In their first three contests, the Rivermen have the upper hand, winning two of the three, including their most recent match-up in mid-December. It also marks former Admirals captain Scott Ford's first trip back to Milwaukee since joining the Rivermen during the offseason. Ford played four seasons in Milwaukee, including one of which he served as captain, before signing with the Rivermen's parent club St. Louis Blues on July 1st.
Thursday nights game also marked another first for the team, as the Admirals took the ice in uniforms that haven't been seen in action since the 1979/1980 season. The uniforms, which are being auctioned off to benefit the Admirals Power-Play Foundation, are part of the teams 35th anniversary celebration. You can bid on the game-worn jerseys in person in the West Atrium of the BMO Bradley Center through the second intermission of tomorrow nights game, or online on the Milwaukee Admirals website.
The Rivermen drew first blood with a goal from forward Adam Cracknell at the 14:29 mark of the first period. Cracknell, who is on a seven-game point-scoring streak, stuffed a rebound between Admirals goaltender Jeremy Smith's right skate and the pipe for his 6th of the season. Cracknell would end up leaving the game sometime in the third period per Rivermen beat writer Dave Eminian, who also cited that the dreaded flu bug is making its way around the Peoria bench and that it could be a possible reason for Cracknell's sudden departure.
Milwaukee evened the score at one-a-piece just inside the 13:00 mark of the second thanks to a solid effort from the Blum-Beck-Mueller line. Defenseman Jon Blum ripped a slap shot from the top of the far circle, which was converted into a wrap around attempt by Taylor Beck, whose rebound was knocked in by an awaiting Chris Mueller to make it a 1-1 game.
Although they trailed the visitors in shots on goal all night, the Admirals were the team to break the 1-1 tied late in the third period. Defenseman Ryan Ellis, who is one of two players from the Predators here because of the NHL lockout, fired a rocket from the top of the near circle and deflected off the stick of a Peoria defenseman's stick and just over goaltender Jake Allen's right shoulder to make it a 2-1 game. The goal, which ultimately became the game-winner, marked the first of the season for the 21-year old Hamilton, Ontario native.
The Admirals and Rivermen meet again tonight at 7:00pm for the fifth time overall this season, second on Bradley Center ice.