Admirals jump out to big lead, hold on for 3-2 win over Heat in AHL action

ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Mark Dekanich made 25 saves and Chris Mueller picked up the game winner Friday as the Milwaukee Admirals edged the Abbotsford Heat 3-2 in American Hockey League action.

Mueller scored his first of the season four minutes into the second with a weak shot that got past Heat starter Matt Keetley for a 3-0 lead. Blake Geoffrion had a pair of assists on the night for Milwaukee.

“I liked our start,” said Admirals captain Brett Palin. “We were playing our game at the start and obviously in the second period (Abbotsford) picked it up and we had to respond, which took us a while.”

Abbotsford (5-5-1) finally got going before the halfway mark of the second as Matt Keith buried a rebound off Mitch Wah’s shot past Dekanich.

Lance Bouma pulled the Heat to within one just over three minutes later, getting his stick on a bouncing puck in front of Dekanich.

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The Heat pushed hard for the tie in the third but were unable to beat Dekanich, despite outshooting the Admirals 11-5 in the period.

“Everybody has to prepare better—starting with myself,” Keith said of the slow start. “The game’s too hard to come back when you’re down three goals.

“Second and third periods, yeah we played, more so in the second we showed glimpses, but it’s about a 60-minute effort.”

Matt Halischuk and Kelsey Wilson staked Milwaukee (4-2-2) to a 2-0 lead after one.

Halischuk opened the scoring 42 second in, redirecting Aaron Johnson’s point shot.

Wilson doubled the lead on the power play when he got a stick on Geoffrion’s shot from the point.

“It was an entertaining game,” Palin said. “There’s a lot of things that we’re going to look back on and try and correct.”

Milwaukee finished 1-for-2 on the man advantage while Abbotsford was 1-for-4.

Keetley finished with 22 saves.