Wolves: Scouting the Enemy


GOOD NEWS. Jake Allen isn’t in the AHL this season. (Photo Credit: Ross Bonander)

The start of the Amtrak Rivalry begins tonight in Chicago. The Milwaukee Admirals, who have won all four games they’ve played so far, are one of two teams in the AHL that are currently unbeaten. The other team that hasn’t taken a loss is last season’s Calder Cup winners the Texas Stars.

Quick refresher course. The Admirals have score no less than three goals per game heading into tonight. They’re coming off of their strongest win of the season – a 4-0 shutout on the road against the Iowa Wild.

As for the Wolves, they have played every single game (tonight included) on home ice. They enter with a record of 3-0-1-0 (7 points) and have allowed no more than two goals in their opening four games. And are coming off of a two games in two days thrashing of the Lake Erie Monsters… featuring an 18-save shutout by Matt Climie in a 4-0 win… and then seven different Wolves scored goals in the following night’s 7-2 beat down. To put it simply. Tonight. This is the test.

~Hooray For No More Jake Allen~

What should make everyone feel all the more excited with tonight’s game is that Jake Allen is no longer in net for the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. The winner of last season’s Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award for the AHL’s best goaltender currently finds himself right where he belongs in the NHL.

Against the Admirals last season, Allen won 7 games from 9 starts and had a 1.51 GAA with a 0.939 SV%. He also shutout the Ads twice in the final month of the regular season.

Who carries the reigns then for the Wolves in net? It’s early days just yet but the 31-year old veteran Climie has shouldered the brunt of the opening slate. He has won all 3 games he has started, has a shutout, a 1.00 GAA, and a 0.945 SV%. Expect a match up tonight between him and Marek Mazanec as these two should be going with the hot hands.

Backing up Climie is 21-year old Jordan Binnington – who spent almost all of last season playing for the Kalamazoo Wings in the ECHL: 23-13-3 record, 2.35 GAA, 0.922 SV%, and a shutout to his name. He did play in one game for the Wolves last season: allowing 3 goals but picking up a 4-3 win against Rockford. He is the goalie of record in the game in which the Wolves dropped their one and only point of this current season: a 2-1 (OT) loss against the Charlotte Checkers.

~Prospect Power~

When you check out this year’s Midwest Conference, the talent pool all across the board is pretty well loaded for all teams this season. Looking at the Wolves roster is just a reminder or the depth that the St. Louis Blues organization has at its disposal.

Ty Rattie and Dmitrij Jaškin are on the Wolves again this season. The two combined for 77 points (46 goals, 31 assists) last season. Both were in their first full-season of professional hockey. And both have hit the ground running this season with each having 4 points in the Wolves opening 4 games of the season.

Elsewhere, defensemen Jani Hakanpää and Joel Edmundson are back after completing their rookie seasons. The good news in terms of tonight. Both have missed the opening games of the Wolves season due to injury: Hakanpää (thumb) and Edmundson (back). No word on their status ahead of this game. Fact of the matter remains that, when they get back, they only make this Wolves roster that much better.

~Austin, Son of Wat~

Shifting gears to our side of things. If you are looking for someone to step up tonight for the Admirals in the Amtrak Rivalry. Look no further than Austin Watson. He was the joint top scorer in this match up last season with Taylor Beck with 6 points from 12 games. And, in his career against the St. Louis Blues AHL affiliates, Watson has 14 points (9 goals, 5 assists) in 24 games.

Playing as a right winger this season and last season has proved to be a boost for Watson. He has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the Admirals opening 4 games and has seemed to have developed a great on ice chemistry with Mark Van Guilder. Barring an injury, call up, or trade – I just don’t see these two moving around this season. The combo of 29-51 works and it should continue working well tonight in Chicago.

Thoughts for tonight’s first Amtrak Rivalry game? What are your expectations? Can the Admirals escape Chicago tonight still unbeaten? What is your scoreline prediction?

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Marek Mazanec: By The Numbers


Marek Mazanec hasn’t just played two games in two days here at the AHL level. He’s also pulled the feat three times for the Nashville Predators. (Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon)

With the Milwaukee Admirals four games and four wins into the season there is plenty of positives worth pointing at. Brendan Leipsic has fit right into the team’s top two lines and leads the team in scoring with his six assists – four of which are primaries. Austin Watson, who had great success on the right wing late last season, has continued playing well in a wing capacity: 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists). Of the thirteen new faces into the team this season – eight of them have scored a point already.

Yet, for all that, what has intrigued me the most is the role of Marek Mazanec in the team’s opening four games. The Admirals played a two-in-two in each of the two weeks of AHL hockey so far. Rather than rotate the goalies in either of the fixtures the team has remained confident in the 23-year old Czech. This has left Magnus Hellberg in a position he became quite familiar with at the end of last season with the Cincinnati Cyclones: the bench.

When you look at the progress of Mazanec as the Admirals #1 choice goaltender it’s worth looking into scenarios such as the two-in-twos that the AHL delivers so often. To this point in his North American professional playing career he has played in twelve of these situations – one of which actually being a fully fledged AHL three-in-three. Here is how he has performed in those situations so far in his career when his named is called upon to handle back-to-back nights of netminding duty.

10/30/13, @ Charlotte Checkers
11/1/13, @ Charlotte Checkers

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 33 SV, 1.88 GAA, 0.943 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%

11/15/13, @ Pittsburgh Penguins
11/16/13, vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Game 1: L, 4 GA, 21 SV, 6.08 GAA, 0.840 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 39 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.951 SV%

11/27/13, @ Columbus Blue Jackets
11/28/13, vs. Edmonton Oilers

Game 1: W, 0 GA, 19 SV, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%
Game 2: L, 2 GA, 25 SV, 2.07 GAA, 0.926 SV%

1/11/14, vs. Ottawa Senators
1/12/14, vs. Minnesota Wild

Game 1: OTL, 1 GA, 20 SV, 1.01 GAA, 0.952 SV%
Game 2: L, 4 GA, 19 SV, 4.00 GAA, 0.826 SV%

1/18/14, @ Oklahoma City Barons
1/19/14, @ Oklahoma City Barons

Game 1: L, 2 GA, 23 SV, 2.06 GAA, 0.920 SV%
Game 2: SL, 4 GA, 21 SV, 3.75 GAA, 0.840 SV%

1/24/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs
1/25/14, @ Rockford IceHogs
1/26/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%
Game 2: L, 2 GA, 29 SV, 2.05 GAA, 0.935 SV%
Game 3: OTL, 4 GA, 39 SV, 3.71 GAA, 0.907 SV%

1/31/14, @ Iowa Wild
2/1/14, vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1: W, 2 GA, 24 SV, 1.87 GAA, 0.923 SV%
Game 2: SL, 2 GA, 35 SV, 1.85 GAA, 0.946 SV%

3/7/14, vs. Rockford IceHogs
3/8/14, @ Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 22 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.880 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 28 SV, 2.00 GAA, 0.933 SV%

4/11/14, @ Rockford IceHogs
4/12/14, vs. Chicago Wolves

Game 1: W, 1 GA, 26 SV, 1.00 GAA, 0.963 SV%
Game 2: W, 1 GA, 28 SV, 1.00 GAA, 0.966 SV%

4/25/14, vs. Toronto Marlies
4/26/14, vs. Toronto Marlies

Game 1: L, 4 GA, 22 SV, 4.05 GAA, 0.846 SV%
Game 2: L, 4 GA, 36 SV, 4.02 GAA, 0.900 SV%

10/10/14, vs. Charlotte Checkers
10/11/14, @ Rockford IceHogs

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 24 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.889 SV%
Game 2: W, 2 GA, 29 SV, 2.02 GAA, 0.935 SV%

10/17/14, @ Iowa Wild
10/18/14, @ Iowa Wild

Game 1: W, 3 GA, 27 SV, 3.00 GAA, 0.900 SV%
Game 2: W, 0 GA, 29 SV, 0.00 GAA, 1.000 SV%

These figures of course also include his stint last season in the NHL with the Nashville Predators as well as with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL. Here is what the grand total ends up with for his Game 1 and Game 2 split.

Game 1 (total): 8-3-1-0 record, 27 GA, 289 SV, 3.47 GAA, 0.915 SV%
Game 2 (total): 6-4-0-2 record, 27 GA, 346 SV, 3.21 GAA, 0.924 SV%

What does that all add up to? For me, I think the numbers show that Mazanec performs even better in the second half of a two-in-two and he really has to. You would figure on the second game that a team and -specifically- defense would start getting tired. That means more chances in attack and more saves needing to be made. With pressure on him, as well as the back-to-back fatigue going against himself as well, Mazanec has delivered when called upon for a second consecutive night of action between the pipes.

What have you made of Marek Mazanec since his introduction to North America last season? How has he progressed? How do you compare his game to that of Magnus Hellberg’s? Would you expect Hellberg to be given the same chance as Mazanec to perform in a string of games for the Admirals this season?

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Admirals Stay Unbeaten Behind a Hat Trick & Shutout; win 4-0


Marek Mazanec has earned his first career AHL shutout after a 29-save effort against the Iowa Wild. He was a rock while rookie Viktor Arvidsson collected a natural hat trick in the Admirals 4-0 win Saturday night. (Photo Credit: Steven Christy)

The Admirals won 4-0 on the road against the Iowa Wild Saturday night. It is only the third time in team history that the Milwaukee Admirals will have started the season off with four-consecutive wins. You’d have to go back to the 1988-89 and 1982-83 seasons to find the other two.

Tonight’s standout performers were highlighted with man in net shutting the door and another picking up a natural hat trick. Marek Mazanec earned his first career AHL shutout by stopping all twenty-nine shots he faced in net tonight. And rookie winger Viktor Arvidsson scored the Admirals first road hat trick since 3/29/09 when Mike Santorelli did so in Chicago.

The Admirals fourth line kept their solid start to the season going by scoring tonight’s opening goal. Zach Budish fired a low-wrister from the right wing that netminder Johan Gustafsson kicked back into the slot. Joe Pendenza’s center-lane drive saw him get to the rebound before Gustafsson could spot the puck. It was a tap in for Pendenza – his second goal of the season.

After a frantic night for the penalty box last night there was only one penalty called in the first period. The Wild’s captain Stephane Veilleux was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct as he was on the bench.

The resulting power-play saw Viktor Arvidsson score his second goal of the season. The Wild’s penalty kill was pressuring the puck carrier heavily and the Admirals cycled along the wall to escape the thick puck pursuit. Garrett Noonan jumped up on the play and stationed himself behind the net before laying a pass off to Arvidsson that was taken first-time. The shot would have missed the net completely if not for the unintentional assistance of ex-Admiral Jonathon Blum. The puck hit his leg and flew past his goaltender to give the Ads a 2-0 lead in the first period.

Arvidsson’s scoring would continue in the second period as he tallied two more timed to complete a natural hat trick. For his second goal of the night he was leading a two-on-one rush with Triston Grant on the left wing side of him. Rather than slip a pass, Arvidsson faked a slap shot and threw a change-up along the ice and past Gustafsson’s five hole to make it 3-0.

On the Admirals second power-play of the night – Arvidsson would complete his first North American hat trick with an absolute howitzer. His slap shot was borderline violent and resulted in his fourth goal of the season, third goal of the night, and third power-play goal of this young season.

The third period was really cruise mode for the Admirals. The defending stayed strong and allowed for a first career AHL shutout for Marek Mazanec. The 23-year old Czech never looked rattled for a moment in tonight’s game. He stopped all twenty-nine shots he faced tonight. It’s the fourth time in two seasons that Admirals have shutout the Wild.

Ramblings: The defensive shuffling continued tonight with Taylor Aronson being brought back into the lineup at the expense of Jimmy Oligny. Jonathan-Ismael Diaby kept his place in the team-sheet for his second appearance of the season. Scratches outside of Oligny included the injured pair of Patrick Cehlin and Mike Liambas. The hat trick by Viktor Arvidsson was the first by an Admiral since Austin Watson’s teddy bear toss night performance on 4/12/14 against the Chicago Wolves. Raphael Bussieres of the Iowa Wild was injured late in the second period and did not return to the contest. The Admirals have scored 17 goals in 4 games this season. The next closest in the AHL are the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with 15 goals.

Thoughts from tonight’s game? Is Marek Mazanec becoming a rock for a young Admirals defense? Is there something wrong with Colton Sissons and Miikka Salomaki offensively or are the rookies just looking that much better through four games? How long can this unbeaten run to start the season last for the Milwaukee Admirals?

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Admirals Survive Wild Finish, win 4-3


Three games. Three wins. How are you liking your 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals so far? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Admirals won 4-3 on the road against the Iowa Wild on Friday night. Austin Watson’s hot start to the season continued as he became the first Admiral since Alexander Radulov (2006-07) to score a goal in each of the first three games of the season. The Admirals have won their opening three games for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

After the two team captains collided along the boards, the Admirals took the game’s first power-play and quieted the opening night crowd in Iowa with a goal. The wing-play of the Admirals on their power-play unit is strong enough to open up space right down the slot. That means setting up for rebounds or wing-to-wing passes such as Brendan Leipsic to Pontus Aberg. The young Swede picked up his second goal of the season off the power-play to make it 1-0 Admirals.

Then the first period seemed to tilt the way of the Wild. The first period ended with a hefty 14-5 shots advantage for the home team that stormed back after conceding with a goal of their own. Zach Mitchell managed to score his first professional goal. He did it by camping out in front of Marek Mazanec and backhanding a juicy rebound to make it a 1-1 game.

The Admirals answered back late in the first period following a successful penalty kill. It appeared as if Wild goaltender Johan Gustafsson overplayed a puck and Aberg caught him out of position. He managed to leap back from behind the net and backhand a shot past the scrambling goalie for his second goal of the game.

Iowa took a roughing penalty with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first period. That meant the Ads effectively had a full power-play to work with from the second period puck drop. Just two minutes into the second period and the Admirals found themselves two goals richer.

On the opening second period power-play, Colton Sissons scored his first goal of the season after a poor turnover by the Wild behind their own net. A minute and eleven seconds following Sissons goal and Austin Watson scored – his third in three games this season. Leipsic hit Watson with a pass as he barreled down the slot. It was Leipsic’s third primary assist of the game. The Watson goal was enough for the Wild to swap goalies and bring in John Curry.

Watson would go to the box for a hooking call midway through the second period. His role on the PK was substituted with Aberg who seemed to get lost in the Wild’s puck shuffle. When the puck got to Zach Phillips it left Aberg and Anthony Bitetto scrambling to the right wing. Phillips’ pass across the penalty kill would result in a tap in for Curt Gogol to make it a 4-2 contest.

This game stayed at that two goal margin until the Wild scored with their net empty and the extra attacker on. With 46.6 seconds remaining, Danny Syvret’s point shot ricocheted through traffic and past Mazanec to make it a one-goal game. The goal was credited to Brett Sutter for his first goal as a member of the Wild.

Despite the late tally and a strong push against Mazanec and the Admirals late. The Wild ended up dropping their home opener and the Ads continue their hot start to the season with their third regulation win from three games.

Ramblings: The scratches tonight included Patrick Cehlin (hip), Mike Liambas (undisclosed injury), and Taylor Aronson (healthy scratch). It meant we saw the all left-handed defense for the Admirals this season – with an introduction to Jonathan-Ismael Diaby in place of Aronson. The Admirals and Wild combined for 15 total penalties tonight. The Ads PP went 2/7 while the Wild’s PP went 1/8.

Thoughts on tonight’s effort? Are you at all worried over the Admirals defense? Would you start Marek Mazanec again tomorrow night or give Magnus Hellberg his first start of the season? Which young forward has impressed you more, Brendan Leipsic or Pontus Aberg?

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Wild: Scouting the Enemy

(Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Last season saw the Milwaukee Admirals run rough-shot on the Iowa Wild. They won eight out of ten games against the Wild including three shutouts. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

Last season’s head-to-head against the Iowa Wild was a big bright spot for the Milwaukee Admirals. The Ads went 8-2-0-0 from the season series. Of their eight wins they had three shutouts – all of which came with Scott Darling in net. To boot, this match-up featured the biggest win in the Admirals 2013-14 season when they won 9-1 during the first day of PekkaMania.

All things told. The Ads outscored the Wild last season 36-15 in 10 games. Through the Admirals opening 2 games this season they have 9 goals. The Wild? They have 4 goals in 2 games. The Ads won both contests. The Wild lost two games: 3-2 @ San Antonio, 4-2 @ Texas. So, same old same old? Let’s take a look.

 ~New Season, New Leaders~

The Admirals aren’t the only one missing a quality leader this season to last. The Wild and former-captain Jake Dowell parted ways in the off-season and the ex-Badger now plays for the Hamilton Bulldogs. Dowell had played 94 AHL games in the organization.

Taking over the captaincy of the Iowa Wild is 32-year old veteran winger Stéphane Veilleux. Their new captain has 494 career games of NHL experience to his name to go along with 338 career AHL games. He’s been with the Wild organization since the 2011-12 season.

Added veteran leadership includes names such as: Stu Bickel, Brett Sutter, and goaltender John Curry.

~Prospect Watch~

In Hockey’s Future’s Top 20 Prospects for the Minnesota Wild you will find a good majority of Iowa products. Of that Top 20 there are eight in the AHL right now and that list is topped by Gustav Olofsson.

The 19-year old Swedish defenseman was selected by the Wild in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. Thinking there might be an adjustment for him to North America? Think again. He has had a young career with the Colorado Thunderbirds, Green Bay Gamblers, Colorado College, and had an 8 game cameo with the Iowa Wild last season. Olofsson gives the Wild plenty of skill from defense and, being so young, is 6’2″ with room to grow into a a real force in Minnesota. That aspiration starts this season in Iowa.

The top rated forward prospect in Iowa this season is a former first round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks, Jordan Schroeder. After a series of injuries in his professional career (high ankle sprain, shoulder surgery, left ankle fracture) the Canucks decided not to tender him and Schroeder became an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. The Wild signed him to a two-year, two-way contract. And he is hoping to rebound from a season in which he played only 27 games between the NHL and AHL.

What can we expect out of the Admirals against the Wild in 2014-15? Can the Ads continue last season’s success against Iowa? With another Friday-Saturday two-in-two for the Admirals… Would you start Marek Mazanec in both games as the team did last weekend?

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Magnus Hellberg’s 2014-15 Milwaukee Admirals Mask

Photo by Scott Paulus

This is Magnus Hellberg’s third season as a member of the Milwaukee Admirals. His new mask will be his third but second specifically designed with Milwaukee in mind. (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

I had spoken with Magnus Hellberg back on Media Day in regards to any new mask being in the works for him. As it turns out, the airbrushing maestro David Gunnarsson (DaveART) was putting the finishing touches to it. And here is what we have for Hellberg this season.



Details on the mask via David Gunnarsson:

Today we have the pleasure to present the new Milwaukee Admirals mask artwork for my friend Magnus Hellberg.

The design is created in a classic old school style, crisp and clear, in total sync with the team uniform. And the closer you come the more details will be discovered, and the mask enters a new dimension… :) I just love that :)

The design is created in a vintage style so it looks used and old, and built-in in the stripes created with pearl tech, you find the skull and bone logos of the team.

And for sure all the DAVEART trademark effects is here, many of the details you can only see when you see the mask live.

On the side of the mask you will also find a picture of Magnus´ loved grandma and grandpa.

And just as usual Pelle Svanslös pop up on the side of the mask. Pelle is a Swedish cartoon, and this cool cat comes from the same town as Magnus :) He always pop up on Magnus´ masks, it´s a thing Magnus and me came up with for many years.

You are welcome to check out the mask in the mask gallery or on our Facebook page. You´ll also find a lot of behind the scene photos on our Instagram, and you´re welcome to follow us also on Twitter.

Thanks Magnus, I am so happy to be your painter! And thank you all for your visit here!

Indeed you can see some more close-ups of Hellberg’s new mask on Instagram: here, here, and here. You can also view Hellberg and DaveART’s previous collaborations here: Pelle in AmeriCat and Pelle the Nashville Country Singer.

Thoughts on Magnus Hellberg’s new Milwaukee Admirals mask? Is it an improvement to his previous Admiral lid? Where does it stack up to other masks worn by Admirals goaltenders? Which goalies here in Milwaukee had the best masks?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

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Shalla, Rissling, and Vainonen Assigned to Cincinnati


Josh Shalla has played more games in the ECHL (66) than he has the AHL (58). Is there a place in Milwaukee for him at some point this season? (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

This afternoon the Milwaukee Admirals have announced a roster move that will assign Josh Shalla, Jaynen Rissling, and Mikko Vainonen to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. All three players were healthy scratches in the Admirals opening two games this past weekend. The lone healthy scratch to not join this group to Cincinnati is Jonathan-Ismael Diaby.

With the Admirals carrying nine total defensemen over the weekend you had to expect a move would be coming. I do find it interesting that it appears Taylor Aronson has in fact worked himself into a spot above, at least, Rissling and Vainonen. I wouldn’t anticipate the defense than has won the opening two games to be shaken up right away either. So that would mean some more time out for Diaby. It could be that both Aronson and Diaby flip in-and-out of the lineup this season in similar fashion to how Charles-Olivier Roussel was utilized as a seventh defenseman last season.

As for Shalla, in his first two professional seasons he has fluctuated between the Admirals and Cyclones. His points production as an Admiral has never been as good as a Cyclone. 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) in 58 games as an Admiral. 58 points (35 goals, 23 assists) in 66 games as a member of the Cyclones.

The move down for Shalla is probably more indicative of the fourth line performance of Joe Pendenza, Frederick Gaudreau, and Zach Budish than it is a return from injury for Patrick Cehlin or Mike Liambas. Both players out with injury still seem to be on the road back to full fitness. Meanwhile the Admirals fourth line, with Pendenza playing Shalla’s left wing role, has come up with 6 combined points in the first two games – including a goal for each player on the line.

What’s your take on today’s roster moves? Do you think we will see Josh Shalla again at some point this season here in Milwaukee? Are you surprised to see Taylor Aronson picked ahead of Jaynen Rissling and Mikko Vainonen?

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Mazanec Closes Out Rockford, Ads win 3-2


Marek Mazanec is starting to showcase just why he is the Milwaukee Admirals first choice goalie. His 31-save performance tonight against the Rockford IceHogs, on the road, may have been his best game to date. (Photo Credit: Steven Christy)

The Admirals won 3-2 on the road against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night. Marek Mazanec put in a first star performance with thirty-one saves. And Joe Pendenza’s first career goal as a professional hockey player ended up going down as tonight’s game-winner.

Being that this was the opening game of the season for the IceHogs you’d have expected their energy levels to be very high. They were by far the more lively team in the opening period and it seemed as if the Admirals were looking to head into the locker room at a 0-0 deadlock.

The IceHogs were finally rewarded for all their first period pressure after a quick back-and-forth of chances. Teuvo Teravainen ripped a two-on-one chance just wide of Marek Mazanec. Then, after a turnover by the IceHogs, Brendan Leipsic was in-behind the defense and missed on a breakaway chance.

The next rush back up the ice resulted in a shot by Matt Carey leaking through Mazanec and trickling closer and closer to the goal. Ryan Hartman won a race to insure that the puck went in and gave the IceHogs a 1-0 lead after the first twenty-minutes.

Austin Watson recorded his second goal of the season and did so twenty-one seconds into the second period. Mark Van Guilder won an in-zone faceoff and Watson was waiting for it as if he were a quarterback. He fired off the successful draw and beat IceHogs goaltender Michael Leighton. Watson scored twenty-two seconds into the third period last night.

Van Guilder would give the Admirals a one-goal lead after he crashed the net and put in a loose puck. The line that features Watson, Van Guilder, and Salomaki were buzzing around the net and the puck spilled to the Admiral veteran who has now scored a goal in five seasons for Milwaukee.

Mazanec was really looking solid during the course of the first two periods in this game. It looked like the IceHogs were really in need of an ugly goal and that is precisely what they got with four-minutes remaining in the second period. Zach Miskovic’s shot from the point went into traffic, took a deflection, and beat Mazanec. The goal was credited to Hartman – his second goal on the night.

The fourth line of the Admirals would come through with the game-winning goal in the third period. After a puck fooled Adam Clendening behind the IceHogs’ cage, Frederick Gaudreau pounced, collected, and threw a nearly blind backhanded pass out to the left wing side of the net. Joe Pendenza was the man on the spot for Gaudreau’s feed and earned his first career goal as a professional hockey player.

Rockford emptied their net after an icing call with 1:19 remaining in the third period. The man who stood out the most in this game, Mazanec, held his own yet again. He had thirty-one saves tonight – including a big time blocker save with only seconds remaining. For my money that was the best performance Mazanec has put together as an Admiral. He came up big multiple times.

The Admirals next games are in Iowa this coming Friday and Saturday. They should get some more time to comb over things from an opening weekend that saw them grab all four points. It’s possible, with nine defensemen on the roster, that we could also see a shake up as well. Still. When you’re winning games. It’s hard to change something that is working. And the defensive effort the Admirals had in the third period was outstanding.

Ramblings: The Admirals dressed the exact same roster as they did in yesterday’s opener. That meant healthy scratches for Jonathan-Ismael Diaby, Mikko Vainonen, Jaynen Rissling, and Josh Shalla. Patrick Cehlin (hip) and Mike Liambas (undisclosed) remain out with injury.

Thoughts on tonight’s performance? Would you have expected the Admirals to win both games here on opening weekend? What is your long term outlook for the Ads season? Would you change anyone on defense? Would you consider Magnus Hellberg for either of next weekend’s games in Iowa?

Be sure to follow Admirals Roundtable on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and see our photos on Instagram.

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IceHogs: Scouting the Enemy

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In 2014-15, the Teuvo is being unleashed in North America. What can his impact be in the AHL and will he be here all that long?

Still buzzing over the 6-3 win in the Admirals season opener? Great news! We get to do it all over again tonight. This time it’s a road tilt against the diabolical divisional rivals, the Rockford IceHogs.

What’s funny to think of when looking at the IceHogs this season is that I feel they may not have the laughable madness in them anymore. Instead, I think they mirror similarly to the Admirals in age and talent. And if I had to hazard a guess, today, who I think could win the Midwest Division this season… it would be the Rockford IceHogs. Why? All you need to do is look at their roster and it will tell you they may have their most talented team in years.

~The Teuvo~

When you think of how thick the Nashville Predators glass ceiling is this season, in terms of leaping from Milwaukee to the NHL, you can’t help but see a team like the Chicago Blackhawks and their AHL affiliate and laugh. There are so many talented young players that could well be NHL talents were they in any other organization. The one that tops the scales for me in that department is 20-year old Teuvo Teräväinen.

Teravainen was selected by the Blackhawks with the 18th overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft. He made his professional debut in North America last season for both the Blackhawks and IceHogs after a solid career in Finland with Jokerit. He suited up for 3 games in the NHL and 5 games for the IceHogs in the AHL. It gave him just enough of a look at the game style here in North America for his head to be fastened firmly come this season.

He might be young. He might have his own learning curve at the North American adjustment. But I’m not sure any of that matters with the mind he has for the game. If Colton Sissons is the man with expectations to shoulder a load here in Milwaukee – his equivalent is Teravainen. The difference between the two for me is that the Teuvo has better instincts for attacking. In 133 games of professional hockey in Finland he produced 93 points (33 goals, 60 assists). I think he can hit the ground running at the AHL level this season.

~Fear the Beard~

One of the better stories from last season was the rise of Scott Darling. He started off as the Admirals guy down in Cincinnati. Played a fair amount of games in the ECHL. And then the hectic cycle of injuries at the goaltending position started for the Nashville Predators and Milwaukee Admirals. In stepped Darling. And it felt like he was right at home. His strong season with the Admirals put him on plenty of teams radars and he eventually landed with his hometown Blackhawks on a two-way contract.

~Him Too?~

T.J. Brennan ran rough-shot on the AHL as a member of the Toronto Marlies last season: 72 points (25 goals, 47 assists) in 76 games. He wound up earning something the Maple Leafs didn’t give him last year, an NHL look. He signed a one-way deal with the New York Islanders in the off-season. Then came a trade. The Islanders acquired Nick Leddy in exchange for Brennan and Ville Pokka and Anders Nilsson. After clearing waivers, Mr. Brennan became an IceHog.

There no doubt that Brennan can handle himself at the AHL level: 199 points (76 goals, 123 assists) in 301 career games. With chances to get into the NHL with Chicago just as difficult as it is for our Admirals to get up to Nashville – Brennan should be here the majority of this season. That’s bad for him. And good for the IceHogs.

Thoughts on the Admirals game tonight? Are the IceHogs the top team in our division this season? Scoreline prediction?

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The Chatterbox, Vol. 39


This celebration happened six times last night. The Admirals were only able to do it four times in three games against Drew MacIntyre in last year’s playoffs! (Photo Credit: Scott Paulus)

The Milwaukee Admirals season started with a bang. They won 6-3 and plenty of the new guys looked right at home in their debuts. The second period may have been rough for the Ads. It became a 3-3 games. But the response in the third period speaks highly to what team could be on our hands this season. Instant answer. Quick team defense. And keeping the throttle down when skating up ice for offensive chances.

This might be the youngest team in the AHL but it didn’t show in the opener. Some areas in the defense will need improvement but this is a team that can only get stronger with games played together as a unit. The talent level spoke volumes over the woes of inexperience. And I think that things can be really special with this team in 2014-15.

After the game I spoke with head coach Dean Evason. I also had the chance to talk to Anthony Bitetto, Pontus Åberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and Zach Budish. Here is what everyone had to say after the victorious season opener.

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