Pesky Ads Comeback Against Stars, win 4-2

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The Admirals won 4-2 against the red hot Texas Stars Saturday night. A great second period effort from the Ads propelled the team to victory after trailing by two goals in the first period.

“We were fortunate we were only down two,” said Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Five on five we weren’t bad in the first period. We just weren’t as detailed as we thought we should have been.”

Colton Sissons continued his outstanding start to the season by scoring two goals. Joshua Shalla and Austin Watson both tallied their first goals of the season. While a great 26 save performance in net by Marek Mazenec helped secure the victory at home.

Former Admiral Chris Mueller started for the Stars and won the opening face-off in his first game against his old team. The popular Admiral was the go-to guy in the pre-game skate as several players and members of the team talked to Mueller. Everyone was quite happy to see him back around the rink.

“It’s always good to see guys who you went to war with,” smiled Mike Liambas.

The Ads earned the opening power-play chance from an interference call by Texas while they were in their offensive zone. The Ads produced two good chances off the stick of Anthony Bitetto. His shots were clean to the net but failed to produce a goal.

The unfortunate then took place. A turnover from the Ads blueline lead to a shorthanded breakaway chance for Travis Morin. Bryan Rodney insured that would not happen by hitting Morin square in the head with a shoulder. The intent for a head shot wasn’t there. Looked like he was going in body-to-body but the pace of Morin altered the angle of impact.

Nevertheless, power-play gone – 4-on-4 hockey with a power-play to the Stars instead. The Stars cashed in just as the 4-on-4 expired. A great pass from Maxime Fortunus reached Morin whose slapper deflected off of Curtis McKenzie for a PP goal.

With the Ads earning another power-play, the Stars PK unit outpaced and simply suffocated the Admirals in their own zone. This lead to a turnover right in front of Mazanec and an unassisted shorthanded goal by Stars center Taylor Peters.

The first intermission was much needed for the Ads who were very over-powered in the first period. How do they start the second frame? Hot. They battled the boards strong and seemed to work the Stars onto their back-foot.

Reward would come after a great shift by the Liambas-Sissons-Rask line put the Ads on the scoreboard. Liambas tossed a puck to the net that Cristopher Nilstorp couldn’t trap. Sissons was right on top of the net to tap in the loose puck for his third goal of the season.

Persistence continued for the Ads as they equalized late in the second period after a silky series of passes. The break into the zone started off with Bitetto, who slowed down to find Van Guilder, and he picked out Joshua Shalla who one-timed it past Nilstorp for an equalizing goal.

The Ads didn’t let off the gas after the equalizer. Just one minute and thirteen seconds after Shalla’s goal Sissons tagged the net for his second of the game. Sissons took a great backhanded feed from the wall by Taylor Beck and deposited his wrister under Nilstorp’s blocker arm. That would be goal number four for him now.

With the Stars beginning to tilt the ice, the Ads and Austin Watson came from nowhere to push the lead to 4-2 in the closing stages of the third period. Watson skated in from the right wing and ripped a shot over the glove of Nilstorp for his first goal of the season.

Texas managed a strong push with their net empty (as well as a man-advantage from a Scott Ford boarding call), but the Ads held on for a 4-2 win over the visiting Stars. A really solid effort by the team after a sluggish start that saw them trail 2-0 and that deficit could have been even larger after the opening period.

Standout player of the evening was netminder Marek Mazenec. He posted 26 saves in the victory. More importantly he made some stellar “last line of defense” saves with the speed of the Stars attack getting the jump on the Ads defense. He looked very confident in net and the rest of the team really believes in the young Czech.

“We said right from the start that Mazenec and Hellberg were going to be 1 and 1-a,” commented Evason. “We didn’t come into the season that [Hellberg] was one and Mazenec was two. We planned on flipping them and seeing where we sit. It’s a nice thing to have two guys that we feel are real good prospects. [Mazenec] showed it tonight.”

The two will lock horns again Wednesday night and I, for one, can’t wait for the sequel.

11 thoughts on “Pesky Ads Comeback Against Stars, win 4-2”

  1. Rodney (D) was poor the first half of the game. I saw him watching the play several times instead of going after the puck, sometimes within 20 feet of the Ads net.

    Mazanec was solid in goal. The team has to play better D in front of him.

    Watson took his time, picked a corner, then a ripped a wrist shot past Nilstorp. Maybe that glove side is a weakness?

    Sissons looked impressive.

    Salamaki is a demon on the forecheck!

  2. The Ads defense wasn’t sharp in this one (especially that opening period). Lots of pucks being turned over (in the offensive zone on the blue line). Lots of getting caught flatfooted. The Stars seemed to jump off of every mistake in that 1st Period… as Evason told me, it could have been a lot more than just 2-0 after one.

    Still. I was happy to see the response from them right out of the 2nd Period. They had the jump on them from the 2nd all the way up until the final minutes of the game when the net was empty.

    Small shout out to the Rask-Tousignant-Liambas line, as well. I was pretty impressed by some of Liambas’ efforts around the net. He’s starting to add a new dimension to his game going there. Add some speedsters around him and you have a unique line pairing that can control the wall and toss pucks to the net where a stocky guy like Liambas can plug away. I’m hoping they continue working Liambas that way.

    Note: As soon as the Ads post game highlights I’ll add them to the story.

  3. Random thoughts.

    Mazanec played very well. Once Hellberg is back we will have a great goalie combo.

    Rodney seems like a reincarnated Blum. Where is the effort?

    Beck continues to show why the Preds were right in sending him back to Milwaukee.

    Sissons will be in Nashville before the end of the season, especially if the Preds play anywhere close to the way they played tonight and he keeps playing the way he has been playing.

    Liambas’ improvement over last season is great to see.

    Moser looks to has promise, but with so much hype around him from training camp, I think people were expecting more already. I think he will just keep getting better.

    As for the former Ad, I still think Mueller continues to show why he can never sick in the big league. He is good, just never good enough.

  4. Rodeny frustrates the living hell out of me! At the very least, get him off the power play!!! I really hope he’s the odd man out when Jarvinen comes back… I also stand by my comment from last week about Beck. I believe that shorty was the result of his turnover! Mazanec played great! As much as he was hyped up, I’m always a little weary about having our backup, especially facing the best offense in our conference, maybe even league, but he did great, and should have been reflected with a 4-1 victory had it not been for that shorty!

  5. Beck seems to be missing a gear as far as speed is concerned. His pass from the corner setting up Sissons was a great all around effort from him though. Just like Watson, I wonder if they’re running a bit banged up at the moment. The two were completely gassed after last week’s game against the Wolves. Watson, outside of his goal tonight, hasn’t appeared to be all that “there” yet to where he was last season. I think time and more games is the best medicine for both of them though. It’s stunning to see how few games the Ads have played compared to others in the league right now. Slow start for some, but as games pick up I expect consistency to improve big time from the bigger names in camp.

  6. Mark: That shorthanded goal was -really- ugly. Not just the turnover but the lack of movement out of their own zone while Texas applied shorthanded pressure. The Ads are a man up and Toby Petersen single-handedly pressured the play behind the net to trip up and get flustered. The puck needed to get forced up the ice quicker under that and a mistake was made and instantly capitalized on. At the very least they settled down and accounted for big mistakes like that after the first. They still need to solve the mystery of slow starts though because that’s now 4 out of 5 games the other team scores first… and actually 4 straight games now that I think about it.

  7. Fan in the falls…
    I have to disagree with you on the comment about Mueller. He is a consistent power player and go to guy. He played all aspects of the game as we saw on a nightly basis here in Milwaukee. I saw the interview he did and loved being an admiral and for you to make a comment as just never good enough is easy to do sitting behind your computer who prob never once played. I miss having him here in Milwaukee. I wish him success.

  8. Agreed with Ads Fan. I had mentioned in “Scouting the Enemy” he had a decent stint in the NHL last season. What I think people forget is, with players like Mueller, sometimes it is not all about putting up massive numbers. A guy like Mueller, or in our case for this season Van Guilder, if he gets called up isn’t filling the role he was in the AHL nor is he meant to perform the same way. I think Mueller wasn’t flashy with the Preds last year (but who honestly was for them last year) but he certainly was told to fill a lower line role. I expect with enough results like the Stars have put up they’ll have a few names brought up this season who are in their mix now, Mueller included.

  9. My old favorite was in the building so I was insistent on listening to the game. Not easy to do with two littles ones running me ragged! I totally agree with Lavender on Mueller. When up in Nashville he’d get 10 minutes playing on the fourth/sandpaper line. He’s not a banger-he’s an all around tough scorer. Misused for sure but that’s Nashville for you.
    Something is off with Beck to me. He seems to have a gear missing. Glad to see Watson hit the scoresheet. I gotta get to a game to see Sissons in person.

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