The Admirals lost 4-1 in Rockford against the IceHogs Saturday night. Despite outshooting their opponent 37-26 – the Admirals came up short again for their third consecutive loss. The IceHogs are now on a points streak of nine-games. They are one of the hottest teams in the entire AHL at the moment.
“I think we played a pretty good game,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “There were a couple of situations that could have went our way early. It could have been a different outcome. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good work ethic. We maintained some offensive zone time. We got pucks to the net. Then LaBarbera played real good.”
Just halfway through the first period – the IceHogs were able to put a puck past Hannu Toivonen for a goal. The former-Admiral Brad Winchester fired a slap shot that snuck through Toivonen’s glove arm to make it a 1-0 game. It’s Winchester’s sixteenth goal of the season.
Later in the first period the Admirals were caught for having too many men on the ice. It was a mental error that caught them out twice in last night’s game against the Abbotsford Heat – and tonight the IceHogs burned them for it. A great cross-ice feed from Pierre-Marc Bouchard was one-timed by Brandon Pirri. His shot flew by Toivonen for a power-play goal that made it a 2-0 game. For Pirri, it is his tenth goal – first scored on the power-play – this season.
Despite the Admirals doubling-up the IceHogs in shots, 12-6, in the second period they not only didn’t score – they conceded a goal with thirty-two seconds remaining in the frame. Jeremy Morin was able to score his eighteenth goal of the season by zipping one by Toivonen on the shortside post to extend the IceHogs lead to 3-0. For Morin, he now has scored points in nine-straight games.
Before the puck dropped in the third period the team decided to pull Hannu Toivonen in favor of Scott Darling. Toivonen allowed three goals on nineteen shots on goal before exiting.
“Dean and I talked before the second period,” said Drulia. “It’s 3-0 and do we really push these guys or do you kind of save some energy for tomorrow? We thought the only way we’re going to get out of this slump is to work hard.”
Six minutes into the third period – the IceHogs were also able to put a puck behind Darling to push the lead into rout territory, 4-0. Terry Broadhurst chipped a puck towards the net and, after some scrambling, Mark McNeill managed to put in the garbage for his sixteenth goal of the season.
Having endured a power-play drought of no goals from their last nineteen opportunities with the man advantage – Vinny Saponari finally ended the drought by scoring his eleventh goal of the season. Bitetto slid a pass to Saponari who kicked the puck from his skate to his forehand – beating a very phenomenal Jason LaBarbera to end his shutout bid.
Nothing more would come from this one. The Admirals have now lost three straight games and the IceHogs are on a streak of points in their last nine games – and a winning streak of four games. The gap between the Ads and IceHogs is now up to six points in the division.
Ramblings: Simon Moser made his return from Olympic hockey where he represented Team Switzerland. His last game played was with the Swiss against Latvia on 2/18/14. His last game before leaving for the Olympics came with the Nashville Predators on 2/8/14 against the Anaheim Ducks. His last game with the Admirals was on 1/31/14 at Iowa.
How do you think the Admirals can turn games like these into wins? It seems like many good things happen in these games but fail to earn them the win. Why? What’s alluding them here? And can it be solved tomorrow in Grand Rapids?