A nightmarish nine-minute stretch from the end of the second period into the third saw the Admirals surrender four goals and take a 1-1 game into a 5-1 deficit as Milwaukee dropped game two of the Central Division Semifinal series 6-1 to the Iowa Wild.
The loss puts the Admirals into a 0-2 deficit in the best-of-five series with game three scheduled for Thursday night at Panther Arena.
The first period featured a lot of offensive chances with the Admirals outshooting the Wild 15-13 and each club getting one on the board. Iowa as the first to strike as Ryan Donato found a crashing Luke Kunin between the wheels and he fired a wrister that beat Ads goalie Troy Grosenick stick side.
Milwaukee responded 71 seconds later when Kirkland picked up the team’s first goal of the playoffs. The play started when Anthony Richard took a shot from the left dot that was stopped by Iowa netminder Andrew Hammond, but Richard picked up the rebound, skated around the net and found a perfectly positioned Kirkland, who had a tap-in to knot the score.
It looked like the two teams would go into the second intermission with the score level, but a high-sticking penalty late in the second on Milwaukee led to a power-play marker by Matt Read with only 10 seconds to play in the frame to give Iowa a 2-1 advantage and put the momentum squarely on their side.
The Wild scored three in just over three minutes early in the final period to put the game out of reach. Kunin’s second of the night came at the 5:34 mark and that was followed by Mason Shaw’s first of the playoffs at 6:38 and Gerald Mayhew at 8:49 to make it 5-1. Former Admiral Mike Liambas finished the scoring with 36 seconds left in the game.
The Admirals finished the night 0-for-4 on the power-play, while Iowa was 1-for-4.
The series now shifts to Milwaukee for the duration beginning with game three on Thursday night at 7 pm at Panther Arena. If necessary, game four would be on Friday night with game five scheduled for Monday.
Tickets for game three, which range in price from $8 to $30, are on sale now either online at www.milwaukeeadmirals.com or by calling the Admirals office at (414)-227-0550.
Listen to the game on The Big 920 and iHeartRadio!
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Photo: Milwaukee Admirals