The Admirals are 14-4-1 in their last 19 games, and still can’t claim a playoff spot.
Yet, they still control their own destiny, and a point tomorrow in Peoria will give the Admirals the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs.
This is possible due to their big 2-0 win over the Chicago Wolves Saturday night, and absolutely no help from any other team.
Rockford trailed 3-0 to the 1st place Texas Stars. The IceHogs apparently had them right where they wanted them, as they scored four goals in the third period to win 5-3.
Oklahoma City put 7 goals up against Abbotsford. Rochester put up 5 against Hamilton.
If the Admirals had lost tonight, they would have been eliminated.
Coach Evason says that he’s not surprised that this team has had to do everything themselves down the stretch here.
And Coach says that this team doesn’t feel any pressure.
For the second straight night, Mark Van Guilder scored the first goal of the game, and this time it ended up being all the offense the Admirals would need. After Kevin Henderson and Mattias Ekholm exchanged passes along the near boards, Henderson fed Van Guilder in the high slot area. Van Guilder had time and space, and fired a slapper past Matt Climie, who fell to 0-7-1 against the Admirals this season.
The Admirals penalty kill had to be strong, and they killed off all four Chicago power play chances. The Milwaukee power play was kind of meh, but they only had two opportunities the entire night.
Nursing another one-goal lead in the final minute of the game, the Admirals got an empty net goal for the second straight night. This time, newly returned Kevin Henderson had the honors, after the Admirals did a great job keeping play to the perimeter when the Wolves had the goalie pulled.
Magnus Hellberg…what else is there to say about the job Magnus Hellberg has done as the Admirals have been on this 14-4-1 stretch. He has started the last 10 games due to Jeremy Smith’s injury and has a 7-3 record. He’ll be playing his third game in three days tomorrow in the regular season finale — the second time he’s had to play 3-in-3 this month. Tonight was his fifth shutout of the year.
Coach Evason says that Magnus has come a long way this season.
Seems like it was only two years ago that Mark Dekanich got injured in a March game, and then the Admirals rode his replacement, Jeremy Smith, into the post-season.
While the Admirals couldn’t clinch a spot for themselves tonight, we can enjoy that they got to officially eliminate the Wolves. They finished the season with an astounding 10-2 record against Chicago. Outstanding.
So for the second straight season, it’s going to come down to game 76. Last year, the Admirals rose to the occasion with a convincing 6-1 win over the Checkers. This year, they’ll be playing in Peoria, in a game that may be the last AHL tilt in that building for awhile, depending on how things work out in the off-season. The Admirals have a 7-2-0-2 record against the Rivermen this year. The Rivermen have lost their last three games, including a shutout tonight courtesy of Charlotte. All the Admirals need is a point tomorrow to make the playoffs.
We all know what’s at stake. The stage is set. Just need to wait for 5pm to get here.
No questions. Just talk amongst yourselves. You don’t need me to give you a topic. Fine, I’ll give you a topic. Madison Square Garden is neither a square, nor a garden, nor is it in Madison. Discuss.