Comeback Kings: Ads defeat Stars in OT, 3-2

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The Admirals won 3-2 in overtime against the Texas Stars Wednesday night. Yet another 2-0 comeback was required for the Ads to reach OT. Goals from Anthony Bitetto and Austin Watson leveled the score. 33 saves from Marek Mazanec kept the Stars in-check. And veteran Mark Van Guilder sealed the game with a GWG in OT to preserve the Ads hot start to the season.

“We can’t continually get down,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We praised them for not giving up and continuing to push forward, but we have to be better to start hockey games. There is no question about it. We can’t continually do this all year. It’s going to bite us for sure.”

With last game in mind, the Ads started much better than their last outing as far as pace was concerned. They generated some chances from the boards to the net. Best of all, they weren’t letting the Stars blaze past them with their speed.

Sadly mistakes started to mount and the Stars cashed in with the opening goal. A turnover in the Ads defensive zone almost turned into an instant goal. Thanks to a hook by Scott Ford it went down as a power-play chance instead.

Unfortunately, that chance would net the opening goal for the Stars. A skipping and loose puck around the net couldn’t be cleared or closed down by the Ads. Colton Sceviour wound up popping in the loose puck above a scrambling Mazanec. This is the fifth straight game where the Ads failed to score first. The lone time they managed to do so was in the opening game of the season in Abbotsford.

The pace continued ramping up for the Stars. By the end of the first period it proved to be too much for the Ads to handle as they conceded again. This was a goal generated by speed and stellar passing from the Stars. Jyrki Jokipakka to Mike Hedden to Brett Ritchie. Tic. Tac. Toe. The shot by Ritchie was an absolute rocket that flew by Mazanec to give the Stars a 2-0 first period lead.

Period number two featured no scoring but some chippy moments out on the ice. Mathieu Tousignant, not once but twice, was hit to the head by Stars d-man Cameron Gaunce. The second “coming-together” lead to a roughing call against Gaunce which laid out Tousignant.

Next up in the sniper-scope was Mike Liambas. The Ads go-to enforcer dropped the gloves at the end of the first period with Francis Wathier (I call it a draw on the fighting scorecards). Late on in the second period Liambas was slashed on the way to the net by Aaron Rome. Liambas looked to the linesman for a slashing call, looked back down for the puck, and was planted into the boards very awkwardly. There was absolutely no call for boarding. The slashing call was the lone call on the play. Fortunately for the Ads, Mr. Liambas skated off and did not miss a shift despite being down face first in pain after the hit.

Anthony Bitetto continued his hot start to the season as he put the finishing touches off on a great breakout play. The entry into the zone saw the Ads stay wide as a group, keeping the Stars somewhat frozen, and passes by Simon Moser and Joonas Rask set Bitetto up for an open shot. That’s Bitetto’s third goal of the season. He had just one goal all last season.

The comeback was capped off by Austin Watson with 5:50 remaining in the third period. A no-look backhanded pass by Tousignant went straight to the net, bounced off Rask, and into the patch of Watson to make it two goals in two games for the Michigan native.

“I think for me it’s just a little confidence,” said Austin Watson of his recent performances. “I thought I had some good chances the first few games and nothing was going in for me. Credit to [Tousignant] tonight. He grinds the puck out for twenty-seconds. I was on the ice for five-seconds and he hits me for an open net, almost. Guys are putting pucks in the right places and I’ve been fortunate enough to put myself in the right spot to have the chance at a goal scoring opportunity.”

The Ads were getting trapped in their own zone late in OT and allowed a full line change to the Stars before Patrick Cehlin managed to fight the puck out of the zone. Then the unthinkable. Cehlin didn’t dump the puck. He kept skating, skating, skating, and before you knew it the Ads chewed out an OT winning goal off the stick of Mark Van Guilder. The Ads might have skipped a line change on the charge down the ice. Given they scored off of that rush lead by Cehlin – no harm, no foul.

“A win is a win,” laughed Anthony Bitetto. “If we comeback or come out and beat a team early, a win is a win. Yeah we want to come out of the gate a little bit quicker and get on the right page early but, at this point, a win is a win. We just have to keep rolling with it.”

The Ads are undefeated in regulation through their first six games. They are 4-0-2-0 and have claimed 10 of 12 points to start the season. Next up the Ads cap off the homestand with a game against the evil –EVIL– Rockford IceHogs.

Thoughts of the Ads to this point? Scrappy? Too slow at the start of games?

13 thoughts on “Comeback Kings: Ads defeat Stars in OT, 3-2”

  1. Gaunce is a goon. Ref Ragu let him get away with way too many cheap shots in the first and second periods. Tousi was getting mad and hit some Texas guys pretty hard in the third period. Ruth player well on defense.

    I didn’t see Ford for a long stretch in the middle of the second period. Did something happen to him? Why was Salomaki out for the game?

  2. Tousignant got a “checking to the head” penalty which was the same penalty Rodney took on Saturday night. Probably another suspension. Gotta be smarter

  3. There were a few no calls in the first period and then a hodge podge of missed calls (the check to the back of Liambas is a mystery to me how that was missed).

    Didn’t hear anything about Fordo or Salomaki. The update on Henderson and Jarvinen is that both have been skating and that Henderson might be back Friday.

    (video highlights now included in the recap)

  4. adsfan88: In the locker room Tousignant was asking about that. My interpretation of the hit he gave was that it should have been a roughing or charging call… but I would be shocked if he gets suspended. He didn’t even knock the guy he checked “to the head” to the ground. And I’m not to sure he even got him in the head. It was high, but I didn’t see anything suspension-worthy. I could see a case against Rodney for a suspension. I can’t see one for Tousignant.

  5. I could see a case for Rodney’s suspension too… in fact, suspend him a few more games :)

    I didn’t notice any new defenders out there… but they had Valentine playing wing the last few games, right? I’m guessing they just slid him back on D.

  6. With the injury to Jarvinen and the Rodney suspension the Ads still have six defensemen to fill out three d-pairs. Of the lot, I can’t say enough of how well Piskula has played so far. He and Ford are the veteran anchors to the defense. I’m not seeing anything good or bad out of Ford so far. Piskula though has bailed out a lot of errors out on the ice though. Quite impressed by how he’s done so far.

    Teddy Ruth has also looked the part. Like Ford, nothing all that flashy good or bad – just consistent. Valentine has played strong and very physical. Meanwhile guys like Bitetto and Roussel are growing leaps and bounds over last year with how they look offensively. Just little things like watch Bitetto skate in and pinch along the boards while the Ads forecheck looses some steam shows me a guy who is getting more confident in being able to step up and skate back.

    The more I get to see of the team the more I wonder how exactly Rodney fits into it. Ford and Piskula already bring that veteran d-man mindset to the team don’t you think?

  7. You guys are a little over the top with your hatred of Rodney. You’ve seen him in two games. He’s a puck-handling defenseman that is a useful piece. His mistakes have stood out. Fine. Give him a break already.

  8. Yonkfan: I don’t think anyone is necessarily being harsh on the guy… though the Blum tag is a bit strong. All that comes to mind for me is this. Let’s say Sunday against Iowa, when Rodney’s suspension is complete, not only is Rodney back but so is Jarvinen from his injury. Jarvinen would get priority to be inserted back into the lineup. Who would you sit down in favor of Rodney and why? Because that that to me is where I struggle to see a benefit of him on the team over a Bitetto, Roussel, Valentine, or Ruth. I could easily see Jarvinen coming back and the roster shaking out by moving Valentine into a forward role again. As for Rodney, I have a hard time justifying him over the other defensemen currently playing. Best benefit to me right now is he’s a veteran waiting in the wings should injuries stack up versus the current crop down in Cincinnati (until Taylor Aronson breaks out).

  9. What do you mean nobody is being harsh on the guy???? People are suggesting that he suspend himself for another two games! You think he is best used as an injury replacement? You think Taylor Aronson is going to break out????? WOW!

    Bryan Rodney — a veteran puck-moving defenseman who can QB the power play. A guy with more NHL experience than ANYONE ELSE ON THE ROSTER. Do you see anyone else on the blue line that can fill the puck-moving void left by Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm?

    When Rodney is back, either Roussel or Ruth will sit. When Jarvinen is back, the other one will join him. Roussel and Ruth have played well, it’s true. But they aren’t going to pass Rodney on the depth charts. No chance. Why you think Roussel or Ruth deserve ice time over Rodney?

    Valentine isn’t moving to forward unless it’s an emergency. Who would you sit?

    Rodney. Give him a break. You guys have seen him in two games, and everyone has decided that they don’t like him and have completely written him off as a hockey player. Why aren’t any of you calling for Taylor Beck’s head? He’s been crap this year!

  10. First of all, Mark’s comment about “suspending him more games” is clearly joking around. Secondly, me saying Aronson breaking out is equally as joking around. I think you should take things a little less in black and white as far as comments go.

    And yes. I feel Roussel and Ruth deserve ice time over Rodney. You have to also think of this in terms of Nashville.They’re younger and, especially regarding Roussel, have yet to fully reach their potential. Roussel did well in Cincinnati and impressed in camp during the pre-season. Ruth is in his fourth pro season. It’s been very slow for him, statistically speaking, but there is still a ceiling there for him to reach. It’s not a knock against Rodney. I’m not saying he isn’t a good player for the AHL level. It’s just not the best fit while the veteran make-up of the Ads’ defense already consists of Ford and Piskula.

    As for Beck, both he and Watson started a bit sluggish. I feel Watson is starting to get a bit more comfortable. He doesn’t seem to have a consistent line he’s playing on. They move him all over the place in different roles whereas last season he had Bang and Puustinen darn near the whole season (and they were brilliant together). Beck looked like he was missing a gear the first few games. I think everyone sees why Nashville has him down here to start the season. He isn’t playing at the same speed and aggressiveness to attack as we’re all used to. The reason no one is calling for his head, at least not yet, is he showed last year in the NHL what he is capable of. Same with Watson. Both want to earn their way back into Nashville but both are having slow starts. I think the quality of the two should come out as the games start churning out here. Hard to believe the Ads have only played six games this season while a team like the Texas Stars just finished their tenth. As games come thick and fast players like Beck should start showing their worth.

  11. I agree with Yonkfan here. They didn’t sign Rodney to sit. He will play and rightfully so. He may have made some mistakes but who hasn’t?

  12. …and if you’ve read the past few blogs I criticize Beck more than anybody else on the team! I just didn’t mention him in this one because he didn’t do anything stupid (for example make a horrible turnover leading to a shorthanded goal).

    Rodney; only two games, you are correct, but those two games have been oooogly. Do I really want him suspended more games, obviously not, but at the same time I don’t feel he’s played any better than anybody else on the D that they should sit over him. He has more NHL experience? Yay! Good for him! So is that an excuse to let him continue to play poorly? Not in my mind… In fact maybe a game or two (assuming this play continues) would light a fire under his arse!

    Lastly, this is a fan site that relies heavily on thoughts and opinions and I plan on continuing my harsh, unfair tirade on Rodney until he improves, which in all honesty, I hope he makes me eat crow come Sunday!

  13. I also agree with Yonkfan. Bryan Rodney will not sit. Fenton signed him to QB the power-play. The Admiral’s have played three home games and all of the sudden Rodney isn’t good enough to play ? Roussel and Ruth (7) and (8) will sit when everybody is back and healthy.

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