Jeremy Smith got his first start in four games, and he made the most of it playing with noticeable swagger.
The Admirals rebounded from a disappointing 5-1 home loss Friday, beating the IceHogs 3-2.
Smitty got some help from a rare 2-0 first period lead, as the offense came out of the gates strong.
Brad Winchester got the Ads on the board 7:57 into the first period after Chris Mueller poked the puck lose in the IceHogs’ slot. Mueller found a wide open Winchester who was able to reach out and sneak it past Henrik Karlsson.
About six minutes later Daniel Bang grabbed his fifth goal of the season to put Milwaukee up 2-0. Winchester again made a great play, feeding Bang with a no-look backhanded pass, that Bang snuck under the right leg of Karlsson.
The Admirals finished the period with the lead in the shots category, outshooting Rockford 14-6. The quick start kept the pressure off Smitty, as he went on to stop 22 total IceHog shots.
Late in the second period, Patrick Cehlin continued to produce picking up his second goal in as many days after failing to score since Dec. 9th.
Cehlin beat Karlsson over his right shoulder with a nice wrister from the right circle to give the Ads their most commanding lead in over a month with a 3-0 advantage.
Milwaukee would need all of that cushion as less than a minute later Kyle Beach cut the deficit right back to two goals.
The IceHogs closed the gap even further 13:24 into the final period when Martin St. Pierre hit Jimmy Hayes at the at the left circle for a one-timer.
Smitty was able to hold on and earn the win, getting the Ads a crucial two points in a location that’s been tough on them in the past.
With the win the Ads are now three points behind Lake Erie for the eighth spot in the Western conference.
The Ads went 0 for 5 on the power play, but were able to hold off all five of Rockford’s power play attempts.
Winchester and Bang each led the team with four shots on net, and each picked up big goals to get the Admirals a rare cushion.
The Ads were able to rally around Jeremy Smith, giving him a nice early cushion to work with, and he responded with a solid showing in net.
Do you think the recent competition with Hellberg and time on the bench was what Smitty needed to elevate his game?
Would you give Smitty the Sunday start?