(Photo credit: Scott Paulus)
(Editors note: There will be no Uranus jokes in this recap. There were enough at the game for our quota to be filled for awhile…but it was silly and fun. I enjoy the over-the-top humor. Hope you enjoyed it too.)
For the third time in his last ten appearances, Magnus Hellberg was perfect. He stopped all 30 shots he faced tonight for his third shutout of the season, and the Admirals won their third in a row, defeating the Peoria Rivermen 2-0 on Wednesday night.
Coach Evason thought the team was getting great looks over the course of the night, but he tips his hat to Peoria goaltender Mike McKenna for keeping the game as close as it was.
“We had to make perfect shots tonight to beat him. He was absolutely on fire tonight. It was a big goal to get that second one. He was in the zone for sure…we had so many chances here tonight. It was one of those games where you thought ‘are we ever going to score that second goal?’ But we stayed the course and we didn’t deviate from what we thought we had to do to win the hockey game.”
One of the perfect shots came off of the sticks of Austin Watson and Brad Winchester at 11:45 of the first period. After Winny had a good chance in front of the crease, the rebound was kicked out to the point, right to Watson who was coming in on a line change. Watson’s shot was deflected by Winchester into the net. Originally credited to Watson, they changed the scoring to Winny after the game.
Sorry Watson fans…the goal drought continues. 15 games now. But he did plenty of other things to be an effective player tonight, for sure.
Here’s the first goal.
Mattias Ekholm netted the HUGE second goal with 3:14 left in the second period, after some nice sustained pressure in the offensive zone while the teams were skating 4×4. Taylor Beck and Watson had some good opportunities, before the puck came to Ekholm along the far boards. Pinching down, he won the race for the puck against Sergey Andronov, and then made a great move to make Jeff Woywitka look silly, before firing a shot into the corner of the net. Perfect shot.
I like how TJ Hensick (#7) was just watching most of that shift. Just a spectator. Best seat in the house. Even if he was just KIND OF paying attention, he might have been able to at least disrupt Ekholm’s shot.
From the I-Bet-Don-Tanner-Knew-This File, Magnus Hellberg became the first Ads goalie to shutout the same team in back-to-back meetings since Mark Dekanich did it in 2010 against the Aeros. On the season, Hellberg has stopped 94 of 96 Rivermen shots.
Speaking of shots….the Admirals put up 19 shots in the second period alone. It wasn’t a season high, but that’s a nice crooked number on the scoreboard, as they say. They only had 4 in the third period while nursing the two-goal lead. But I don’t think Peoria’s desperation level really resulted in that many solid scoring chances down the stretch.
It was a nice effort tonight. How much of it do you think was the Admirals playing well, versus the Rivermen playing poorly?
Does Hellberg look like a completely different goaltender than the one that wore his jersey in the first two months of the season?
Did you notice Jani Lajunen on the ice? Or did he continue to be the invisible man? How about Andre Bouvet-Morrissette?