Milwaukee, WI- The Milwaukee Admirals started the New Year with a bang when they stomped the Hamilton Bulldogs in a 4-1 regulation win Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
During the month of December the Admirals made it quite clear that their biggest weakness was their power play. Before Saturday’s game the Admirals were 0-31 in their power play attempts in the last 8 home games. However, their luck drastically changed tonight.
The Admirals spent the last month figuring out what to do to get a home win again. They weren’t executing their power plays efficiently and it seemed like the young team was more interested in their fancy footwork and tricks rather than actually getting pucks in the net. However, after tonight’s game it seems as if they are taking a different approach.
Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason stated that in the past his team was trying to be to cute or to fancy, but tonight his views have changed.
“We showed 16 turnovers from last nights hockey game,” Evason said. “We tried to beat people one on one, trying to put pucks between peoples legs on the power play as opposed to going around penalty killers.”
The way Milwaukee played on Saturday was drastically different from the previous games we’ve seen this season.
“We put two people in front of the net, popped off one guy on the side of the net and just wanted to shoot pucks,’ Evason explained. “Our commitment to get pucks to the net made the difference tonight.”
Not only did the Admirals play different on but they had a different roster as well. A last minute call up from the Nashville Predators was in order the night before. The Predators called up forwards Viktor Stalberg and Miikka Salomaki, the Admirals leading forward, which made room for Milwaukee to pull up forward Zach Budish from the Cincinnati Cyclones early Saturday morning.
Budish started the season in Milwaukee but at the end of October was assigned to the Cyclones. The Edina, MN native has played in 27 games with the Cyclones this season scoring 8 goals and 14 assists. After Saturdays game he has played 7 games with the Admirals scoring 2 goals and 2 assists.
During the third quarter Budish made the fourth and final goal for Milwaukee. Having Salomaki and Stalberg out of the game gave Budish the chance to step up and prove to his teammates and coaches that he does in fact belong in Milwaukee. It’s a different game, with different obstacles but he didn’t let that slow him down.
“Coming up from Cincy it’s a step faster,” Budish said. “Guys are smarter and obviously better over all players, but I think I can play at this level.”
Budish seemed to make great impression with not only his goal and his overall appearance.
“Buuds was great, he was absolutely great,” Evason said. “He is arguably the best forward down there doing all the right things.
Evason told Budish not to change his game at all and to keep playing like he was in Cincinnati and that’s exactly what he did.
“He gave us energy, he was physical and he scored a goal, obviously,’ Evason stated. “ He played the game the right way and when you do that, you get rewarded.”
Hopefully the Admirals can keep up this momentum for the games to come. Join Milwaukee on Thursday, January 8th as they take on the Rockford IceHogs at 7pm at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.