Zachary L’Heureux scored his ninth goal of the postseason and goaltender Troy Grosenick turned away 28 shots, but the Milwaukee Admirals ultimately dropped Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals to the Coachella Valley Firebirds by a 2-1 decision.

“As a group there were some good things, but we’ve got more to give,” Admirals Head Coach Karl Taylor told Admirals Play-by-Play Announcer Aaron Sims after the game. “I don’t think we were at our A-game… That’s disappointing the way the game played out, but we had some good effort and some good will. And there were some really good signs out there, but we can play much better.”

The Nashville Predators’ American Hockey League affiliate will look to battle back and even the Western Conference Finals series at one game apiece when Game 2 arrives on Friday. 


Stay Happy

Despite the result, the Admirals top scorer stayed hot on Wednesday evening, scoring his league-leading ninth goal of the postseason.

Of course, L’Heureux’s tying third-period goal was made possible by the gutsy efforts of another Admirals rookie.

Powering through neutral ice and into the Firebirds zone, forward Reid Schaefer drew the Coachella Valley defensemen away from L'Heureux, then dished a quick cross-ice pass to his linemate who fired the puck home to knot the score.

The assist was Schaefer’s first of the postseason, while L’Heureux’s goal gave the rookie forward a league-leading 14 points (9g-5a). 

Goalie Battle 

Two of the AHL’s top netminders came ready to play on Wednesday.

Though Grosenick’s 28 saves were enough to earn the 34-year-old goalie recognition as the third star of the game, it was Coachella Valley’s Chris Driedger who ultimately exited Acrisure Arena with the 37-save win. 

Solving Driedger moving forward will of course be key for the Admirals, who did outshoot their opponent 38-30 in the Western Conference Finals’ opening contest, but only got rewarded once.

“We got two good goalies, and I thought we fought through a lot of adversity today and stayed with it,” Taylor said. “We just weren’t as clean or as sharp, but we’ll be better. I know we’re going to play better on Friday. There’s a lot of will, a lot of backbone in our team in what we’re trying to do here. We’re not in Palm Springs on vacation, we’re here to get wins and go home and try to get some wins. So obviously we’re going to try to get that split now. They got Game 1, that’s fine. We’re going to stare it down, we’ll get ready for Friday and we’re going to play better on Friday.”

Special Teams

While the Admirals went a solid 5-for-6 on the penalty kill in Palm Springs on Wednesday, their power play failed to convert on all five chances. 

Facing a talented offensive group and a difficult goaltender in Coachella Valley, Milwaukee will no doubt enter Friday’s contest looking to spend less time in the penalty box and capitalize more on the man advantage. 


The Admirals look to steal a game in Palm Springs before the series shifts back to Milwaukee next week.

Puck drop for Game 2 is at 9 p.m. CT, with the contest available to stream on AHLTV.