The Admirals’ 2-1 win over Abbotsford was a huge victory in more ways than one. It was Milwaukee’s first win against the Heat in almost a year and Magnus Hellberg’s second consecutive win.
And it was step one of the “two-out-of-three” hockey plan coaches Dean Evason and Stan Drulia have stressed the last two games.
Evason went with the hot hand in Hellberg after he shut out Peoria on Sunday, and the big goalie kept rolling.
The Ads came out looking worse than they did two games ago in a 5-2 loss. For the first ten minutes Milwaukee had a hard time getting out of its own zone. The Heat held a 7-0 shot advantage before the Admirals got their first, and even that one was questionable…
By periods end, Abbotsford led 16-5 in shots, but thanks to Hellberg it remained a scoreless game. And the Ads wouldn’t waste his effort.
Hellberg admitted his defense helped him out with rebound control, and the fast start actually got him into the game early.
The defense stepped up, holding the Heat to four shots in the second period, and the Ads were finally able to break through on (wait for it) … THE POWER PLAY!
Chris Mueller brought the puck into the Abbotsford zone and fed it to Cam Reid in the slot. Reid fed another of his beautiful (quickly becoming trademark) centering passes to Juuso Puustinen who beat All Star Barry Brust at the 11:50 mark for a 1-0 lead.
It was Reid’s fourth point in four games as Puustinen picked up his seventh goal of the year.
On the ensuing faceoff the Ads got another big boost from Mike Liambas who dropped the gloves and rocked Zach McKelvie.
Right after that, there were hints of another scrum as the Heat went after Michael Latta. Uncharacteristically, Latta shook them off, refusing to let Abbotsford have a chance at gaining momentum.
Evason talked about the benefits of Latta’s decision.
3:35 into the third period, Milwaukee extended its lead to 2-0. Taylor Beck did a great job keeping the puck alive after Brust attempted to poke check it away. Beck was able to finish the play and put it past the diving goalie for his eighth of the year.
At the 9:18 mark, Max Reinhart broke up Hellberg’s bid for a second consecutive shutout.
Hellberg said he saw the puck and it was just a good shot by Reinhart.
The big goalie didn’t let in any more, stopping 10 shots in the third, helping the Ads seal the win.
Evason said he was surprised with his team’s slow start, but was pleased with how it finished the game with a full 60 minutes of hockey.
Evason talked about his appendectomy experience and his unique opportunity to watch Sunday’s game online rather than in person.
Patrick Cehlin was back in the lineup tonight, while Jack MacLellan was recently sent down to Cincy.
Krys Kolanos’ reign of terror finally came to an end Tuesday. Coming in with a point in each of his last 10 games against Milwaukee, the Ads finally were able to keep him off the scorecard.
So Roundtable, how big was this win in your eyes?
Who gets the start Friday? Evason said he’s going to evaluate, and as you heard Hellberg’s going to respect whatever decision is made.
On a two-game win streak how will the Ads finish off the homestand in the 3-in-3 this weekend?