|(Credit: Milwaukee Admirals)
In a matchup between the top two teams in the Central Division, it was the home side Admirals taking the first of two against the Texas Stars by a final of 5-4 from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this evening. The Stars had some great pushback throughout the game, coming back from deficits twice in the game to tie things at two, go ahead by one and further to tie things at four. The true back breakers were two shorthanded goals against.
Ultimately, the offensively-charged contest pushed the Admirals to a six-point lead for the division crown. Texas led at the turn of the calendar but has squandered their advantage with a 1-5 record, including a 1-3 home record. The Ads, meanwhile, have now won six straight, have just three losses since December 2nd and have not lost back-to-back games since November 4th.
Milwaukee jumped to a quick lead off a quick pass to beat Artem Grushnikov going the other way just 69 seconds in. Zach L'Heureux lit the lamp, then Egor Afanasyev made it 2-0 on a shorthanded bid 2-on-1.
Texas was not happy with this turn of events and went hard to turn the tables in the rest of the period. Logan Stankoven started the charge to even the count on the power play where the Ads had scored shorthanded. It was just a clean shot from the top of the circle with no traffic. Matthew Seminoff would tie it finishing off a rebound at the net.
Antonio Stranges cut in down the left wing side and went far side on Askarov to make it a 3-2 Stars lead. All this happened in just 2:35 of game time, stunning the home side.
Milwaukee came back from the intermission back in control. The Stars had a few chances to clear the puck as the game hit the halfway point, but Jordan Gross blasted a puck in from the point to tie things at 3. The puck went off a Texas defender to beat Murray.
Who else but Mark Jankowski would push the Ads ahead next? Close in on Murray, Jankowski tipped a Keaton Thompson shot. To close the second, however, Michael Karow knocked in his third of the year off a turnover, and once again the teams were tied. This time they had four each.
Frustratingly, Texas got back-to-back power plays in the third period but ended up with the puck in the back of their net. The first power play unit did everything but score on their initial shift, which lasted almost the entire two minutes. Milwaukee forced a turnover on a Texas zone exit and made the Stars pay.
The Stars would pull Murray with 80 seconds left, attempting to get a 6-on-5 goal as they've done five times so far this season. It was unsuccessful this go around.
These two teams face off again tomorrow.