(Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch)
Let me be clear: I’m not sour on the season. You shouldn’t be either. There’s lots of hockey still left. And this team is able to play well. We’ve seen it. Resist the temptation to throw in whatever towel you have. Five points out of the playoffs, with games in hand.
I am very sour about this game though. The IceHogs continue to own the Admirals, and they took this one 4-1 in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 15,888 at the Bradley Center.
I’m tired of tipping my cap to IceHogs goaltender Carter Hutton. This is the fifth straight game that the Admirals have scored just one goal against the IceHogs. Some of that is Hutton. Some is his defense. Some of that is the Admirals have not been able to adjust.
In the season series so far, the Admirals have 5 of a possible 16 points so far.
Here’s coach Herbers with the High Level Overview, presented by Google Maps.
The IceHogs scored the only goal of the first period, seconds after Juuso Puustinen went down along the nearside boards near the top of the circle after blocking a shot. The referee let play continue and was even talking to Juuso as the play was progressing. Shifting into a power play mode, Brandon Svendsen had the puck at the goal line on the far side, and his pass to the slot went off of Kevin Henderson’s skate, and right to Chris DiDomenico right in front of Jeremy Smith. DiDomenico’s stuff beat Smitty’s poke-check.
After a scoreless second period, the IceHogs doubled their lead courtesy of Svendsen. Scott Valentine was caught snoozing, and Svendsen sped past him along the right wing, and he rifled a shot that beat Smitty up high.
Shortly after that goal, Wade Brookbank was called for interference (Ryan Thang did push him into Smith, but Brookbank took advantage of that real estate to go high up on Smith). And seven seconds into that power play, a Jon Blum shot from the far point had eyes and made it past Hutton to make it a one-goal game. Mueller won the face-off back to Victor Bartley, who had a nice hold-in at the point. He fed Blum on the other side and his wrister was good.
But about three minutes later, Philippe Paradis put the IceHogs back up by two with a shot from the top of the near circle that made its way through a DiDomenico screen, and it looked as if it went off of Smith’s stick and up and in.
Here’s coach on the deflating goal.
Peter LeBlanc had an empty netter, although there are some whispers that we’ve heard that say that it may be changed to DiDomenico for his second of the night, and third of the year. Linesman Roger Behling with the assist, as he got in the way of Jon Blum’s clear, and the puck went straight to LeBlanc/DiDomenico/whoever.
Rematch tomorrow in the land of Beef-A-Roo. Here’s Coach on what’ll need to be different.
– Michael Latta is back! Could do without the penalties though…
– Man, what a loss Puustinen is. It always seems to be early in the game that the Ads lose a guy, and then have to shuffle the rest of the night. We didn’t expect specifics from Coach when we asked him afterwards, and from this soundbyte, it sounds like he knew it was coming. Next question please.
Scott Ford missed some time in the second period after getting his lip cut.
– The Ads had a 5-on-3 in the second period cut short with a Zack Stortini penalty in the offensive zone.
– The officiating was awful. Worst of the year in my opinion, at least from the home games I’ve seen. Marcus Vinnerborg was the man in the stripes tonight, and he was Jeff Smith in the first period, Shaun Davis in the second period, and then Ian Croft in the third. It’s not a reason for the loss, and he was pretty awful for both teams, but it’s still frustrating to watch.
– Scoring by committee? The players who scored for the IceHogs tonight….DiDomenico had his 2nd or 3rd goal of the season. Paradis had his 3rd. Svendsen had his 2nd. It wasn’t their offensive stars that beat the Admirals tonight.
And then on the other side….Chris Mueller won the face-off that led to Blum’s goal, and doubled his scoring output in the season series to two points, with a -7 defensive rating. Victor Bartley also had an assist, and leads the team with six points against the IceHogs. Kyle Wilson still only has one assist, and is -5 defensively. Thang has a goal and an assist. Brandon Pirri, who didn’t play tonight, has 11 points in the series….which is more than Mueller, Wilson, Puustinen, and Beck combined in the series.
– When will stick-tossing become an Olympics event, and who has the early edge, Mueller or Hutton?
– Give me some numbers…. The success of the IceHogs against the Admirals….what percentage do you think we should attribute to Hutton, the D, and the lack of offense for the Admirals? Here is Sutty’s breakdown as an example:
Rockford D: 20%
MKE lack of O: 40%
– You have to think we’ll see Hutton again tomorrow? Who do you throw in there for the Admirals?
– Will the return of Latta be enough to offset the loss of Puustinen?
– Would you rather see Jeff Foss or Tyler Sloan on the blue line?
– Think the Boy Scouts are going to come back next year and sell 9,000 tickets for a game?