Jeremy Smith played a solid 59 minutes in net for the Admirals, but had to be helped off the ice with 13.4 seconds to go.
Magnus Hellberg filled in, and the Ads withstood a big third period from the IceHogs to get back on the winning track with a 3-2 victory.
Milwaukee’s offense was the story of the first two periods as the Ads held a 3-1 lead and a 34-19 shot advantage heading into the second intermission.
Ryan Ellis gave the Admirals the 1-0 lead right at the end the first period scoring with a tenth of a second left on the clock. Michael Latta whipped a quick pass to Ellis whose shot from the right circle beat Rockford goalie Carter Hutton.
The Ads carried momentum into the second period, scoring just 11 seconds after the break. Latta took the puck into the Rockford zone and freed it up for Mark Van Guilder. MVG hit Kevin Henderson at the left dot and his shot cleared Hutton’s right shoulder.
The Admirals grabbed a 3-0 lead at the 12:31 mark with a power play goal from Latta. Hutton made a few big time saves in front, before Latta was able to poke the puck past him for his eighth goal of the season.
The IceHogs finally got one past Smith about five minutes later, however, as Brandon Svendsen picked up his third goal of the year. Smitty had to move hard from left to right to take away a shot opportunity from Adam Clendening, and unfortunately that left Svendsen wide open in the slot.
The game was far from over at the second break, as Rockford had won an AHL-best nine games after trailing in the first two periods entering the matchup.
The IceHogs displayed some of that knack to come from behind outshooting the Admirals 18-10 in the final period.
At 9:14 Martin St. Pierre cut it to a one-goal deficit with his 22nd of the season, but for the final ten minutes Smitty stood tall to keep the Ads ahead.
Kenndal McArdle was all alone with nine minutes to play, but Smith was able to poke check his shot away. He then gobbled up a Jeremy Morin slapper with 8:01 to play in a nice sequence.
With just under 45 seconds left and Hutton on the bench, Smitty gloved a Brad Mills shot.
Later, the puck was tipped in front of Smith and a mad scramble ensued. Smitty made the save, but was piled on top of after Rostislav Olesz shoved an Ads defender into him.
After laying face-down for a few minutes, Smitty had his right leg worked on by trainer Doug Agnew and had to be assisted as he went to the bench.
Hellberg didn’t face a shot in the final 13 seconds, as Mike Moore blocked Rockford’s only attempt and the Ads were able to clear it away.
Milwaukee finished with 44 shots on net with Latta’s seven and Juuso Puustinen’s five leading the way.
Smitty stopped 35 of 37 shots in one of his more impressive outings of the season. He’ll see a doctor tomorrow and will most likely be out. No idea on the weight of his injury yet. We’ll keep you updated on his status as we learn more.
Brad Winchester assisted on the Latta goal after re-signing with the Ads today. The power play goal was the only one of the game, as both teams went a combined one-for-nine with the extra attacker.
Are you concerned that the Ads let Rockford get off 18 shots in the final 20 minutes? Why do you feel they had a hard time keeping the IceHogs down after mostly dominating the first two periods.
On the other end, what do you think has helped the Ads up their shot opportunities recently. They didn’t appear to be missing Nashville call-up Craig Smith tonight, and the offense looked really good throughout the game.
How big is the potential Smitty loss? Coach Dean Evason has mentioned how great it’s been of late to have both of his goaltenders play at a high level.