Admirals Stay Hot

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(Photo courtesy of Scott Paulus)

The Admirals won 4-2 against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. Goals scored by Shalla, Salomaki, Bitetto, and Beck powered the Ads to their third-straight win. The victory also holds the point streak to seven consecutive games. The Ads have yet to lose in regulation this season.

The Ads finally snapped two ugly stretches by scoring the opening goal of the game on the power-play. Entering the contest, the Ads were on an 0-9 run on the power-play. Plus, it was the first time since the opening game of the season where the Ads managed to score the first goal. How? Scott Valentine took a one-timed howitzer that IceHogs goalie Kent Simpson couldn’t get full grasp of. Right there to reap the benefits was Joshua Shalla who poked the puck in for the opener and his second goal of the season.

“We were great in the first period,” said Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “We took the game to them. We were physical. We didn’t turn pucks over. We got pucks to the net. [The team] did exactly what they wanted to do in order to give them a chance to have success.”

Mark McNeill managed to score his seventh goal of the season to tie things up quickly for the IceHogs. McNeill was on the Marek Mazanec’s doorstep after a deflected shot from the point knuckled in on goal. Mazanec was down and out with the entirety of the net for McNeill to shoot into.

After a two-on-one between Watson and Rask broke down on the way to goal, the puck fell behind Miikka Salomaki who spun around and let fly. The 20-year old Fin managed to sling his shot past Simpson for his first career AHL goal to restore the Ads one goal lead..

In the second period an outstanding shift put in from a line consisting of Liambas-Tousignant-Budish led to an Anthony Bitetto goal. Crafty skating and puck movement by Tousignant set the stage for a series of passes that eventually went to the tape of Bitetto, who skated in, went with a backhander, and snuck one by Simpson. That’s Bitetto’s fourth goal of the season.

“It’s a good story,” said Evason of Anythony Bitetto’s performance this season. “He got sent down last year. Came back with absolutely the right attitude. He was in tremendous shape. We asked him to drop his body fat, to get into shape, that he’s going to be a key guy for us this year and or the Nashville Predators organization. He did all the right things. He came in [this season] in tremendous shape and it shows. You watch him carry the puck up and lug it out of our zone. The best breakout is if a defenseman can carry it all the way down to the other end and make a play with it. He does that every game.”

Rockford clawed back with a power-play goal after an unnecessary play from Salomaki saw him off for interference. The goal was set up by a behind the net pass by Dylan Olsen that picked out Alex Broadhurst on the right wing. Broadhurst let fly and scored his fourth goal of the season and close the score to a 3-2 Admiral lead.

Taylor Beck put the finishing touches to the game by scoring an empty net goal on an Ads power-play. The goal for Beck is his second of the season and acted as a nice reward for a good defensive night for the more typically offensive puck wielding Beck.

Another game and another win under the belt for goaltender Marek Mazanec. It wasn’t as flashy as some of his outings during this four-game homestand, but he is proving more and more reliable as he gets the chance to start games on a regular basis. Tonight’s game he produced twenty-eight saves and the two goals he allowed weren’t soft by any means.

The Ads are now off to Iowa where they begin the first of a four-game road trip.

How long will the point streak last? Who impressed you the most this opening homestand? Discuss! Discuss!

10 thoughts on “Admirals Stay Hot”

  1. I’m interested in what was said between Liambas and the Rockford bench about midway through the 3rd… He was leaning over and chirping at them for a few minutes. My guess; they were trading recipes, or discussing the latest episode of Sons of Anarchy!

  2. Before that happened, he was chirping with someone on the ice. As they were heading to the bench for a line change, Liambas came up behind the Rockford guy and starting woo’ing at him or something… very loud! The Rockford guy turned around and pushed Liambas as he was getting on the bench, and then that’s when the chirping started… and lasted for several minutes lol !!

  3. Perhaps the fox says “woo” very loud and Liambas was just explaining that?!?! Dammit I need an explanation!

    Too much to like so far with this team, so I’m going to unleash the pessimist in me and point out something negative. I’m really disappointed that Joonas Rask doesn’t share the same lack of emotional stability that his brother possesses…. I would appreciate watching him flip out sometime!

  4. on a serious note. i wish they put liambas on the power play. just plant him in front of the goalie and it will guarantee some garbage goals, just like dustin byfuglien a couple years ago in the playoffs.

  5. I have what is probably a dumb question. With 2:29 left in the game Rockford took a penalty. Why didn’t the Admirals just pass the puck around as much as possible in Rockford’s zone instead of trying to score. I believe there were a couple of stoppages because the goalie covered the puck. Once Rockford was finally able to clear the puck they were able to get the goalie off and have an extra attacker making it 5 on 5. Wouldn’t it have been better just take as much time off the clock as possible?

  6. Mark: Haha, Rask is a wee bit less shot out of a cannon than his brother. I would like to see that goal scoring touch from him, but he has been a part of the team’s top line this season and is actually playing a good two-way game as a winger. In the pre-season he was used a fair bit on the PK unit and looked great while out there. I see him growing up each game he plays with Milwaukee.

    Johnny: I would love seeing that, too. I noticed last night Salomaki was used -somewhat- in that net front area. Not as tight to goal as a Dustin Byfuglien or Tomas Holmstrom. From what I see when Liambas practices, you’d be surprised at how good of a shot he actually has… big difference between practice and a game but any added element he brings outside of dropping his gloves and opposing team players is a plus. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him used in that capacity at some point in the near future.

    sanford943: There is no such thing as a dumb question! I would say they carried on with the power-play because, well, why not? The IceHogs didn’t pull their goalie until the back-half of the penalty. The Ads have an extra man. I would assume keep my foot on the gas as to not get caught out on playing the game too passive and defensively… example, shorthanded goal conceded against the Texas Stars recently. Best defense sometimes is a good offense. If you have the extra attacker in the dying minutes of a game with a one goal lead… I aim for a two goal lead to close out the game rather than try to hold on for 2:29.

  7. SmoothJazZ85: I asked Evason about Henderson and Jarvinen. He said both are possible to play tomorrow’s game. I would say that Henderson has been probable and “ahead of Jarvinen’s progress” since Wednesday’s game, though. We’ll all just have to wait and see. Bryan Rodney is back from suspension. Considering how rested he should be I’d actually like to give him a game against a tired Iowa Wild team who are going to be playing their third game in three days… imagine that in a sport as rough as hockey… only in the AHL.

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