Ads Grind Out the Wild, 5-2

The Admirals won 5-2 on the road against the Iowa Wild late Sunday afternoon. Penalties were pretty abundant in this one: 64 combined penalty minutes. Yet, goals from five different Ads (Budish, Beck, Rodney, Cehlin, and Van Guilder) kept the point streak alive through eight games. The Ads have yet to lose in regulation this season. Netminder Marek Mazanec now has five wins in five starts. How about this team right now?

“It was not the type of game we expected today,” said assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “We knew [the Iowa Wild] were playing three games in three nights and we had a fairly late travel day coming over yesterday. We were hoping to play a game of five-on-five hockey, but we got into all the penalties, power-plays, penalties. It shut a lot of guys down in certain situations. It was kind of feast or famine for both teams.”

As expected, the defense was given a slight shake up ahead of the game. Bryan Rodney returned to the lineup after serving his two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head. Also suiting up, for the first time all season, was Joonas Jarvinen who had been sidelined with an undisclosed injury. The roster shake up meant Teddy Ruth was sent down to the Cincinnati Cyclones. Ruth had played in four games for the Ads, didn’t score a point, and had neutral plus-minus. Perhaps the time down in the ECHL could help Ruth in the same way it did Bitetto last year.

The Ads managed to score the opening goal for the second straight game. Zach Budish scored his first goal of the season off of a one-time shot beat Wild netminder Johan Gustafsson. The goal was set up by Mark Van Guilder and Miikka Salomaki.

Iowa tied the game up in the final minute of the first period on the power-play. A shot from Steven Kampfer was denied by Marek Mazanec. Another robbery by Mazanec took place on Erik Haula. Yet, all the net front pressure meant that any rebound would be a tap in. That’s exactly how the power-play for the Wild would end when Jason Zucker backhanded the rebound to tie things up with thirty-nine seconds remaining in the first period.

Just forty-five seconds into the second period the Wild put a puck past Mazanec to give them a 2-1 lead. The goal, scored by Steven Kampfer, squeaked through the arm of Mazanec on the short-side.

Fight I. was between Mike Liambas and Corbin Baldwin in the second period. Talk about fearless. Liambas (5’9”) versus Baldwin (6’5”). With Aaron Sims call, this sounded like a pretty good one. Here’s hoping the YouTube machine cooks up some footage!

Fight II. took place moments later. This go-round was Mathieu Tousignant against Raphael Bussieres. Much quicker scrap. Take down for Bussieres in the end.

Fight III. was between Anthony Bitetto and Jake Dowell. Bitetto was called for slashing and lined up the experienced tough-man Dowell. The tussle was the third fight in the space of 3:02 of ice time. Egads!

The Ads responded to the Wild’s late first period goal with one of their own to end the second period. Taylor Beck managed to knot the game up at 2-2 with twenty-six seconds remaining in the period.

Bryan Rodney scored a power-play goal in the third period to give the Ads a 3-2 lead. This has to feel great for Rodney. First game back after suspension and he scores a rocket on the Ads PP unit. That is his first goal as a member of the Ads.

“[Rodney] is a real presence on the bench,” said Drulia on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “Saying the right things. Leading the group. On the back end, adding Jarvinen today for his first game of the year. The [defensive] core changed drastically overnight with the insertion of those two players. We have so much veteran leadership on the back end. They play hard. [Rodney] is so calm, cool, and collected with the puck. He makes things happen.”

Rodney continued his good return when one of his shots from the point would be cashed in by Patrick Cehlin. That’s Cehlin’s second goal of the season and it put the Ads up 4-2.

The third period, much quieter by the second period’s standards, was capped off by a Van Guilder empty netter. It would seem the three-in-three did just have a slight effect in the third period. The Ads were in relative control most of the period. Shots on Mazanec were managible. The game finished 5-2 and the Ads remain the AHL’s lone team to not have a loss in regulation.

“They have tremendous work ethic,” said Drulia on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “I think it goes to your leadership group. Scott Ford, we brought him back last year for a reason. We didn’t want [Ford] to leave when he opted to sign with St. Louis and end up in Peoria. Bringing [Ford] back is a huge factor for us. [Ford] makes a difference on and off the ice. I think we’re just a calm group.”

Thoughts on Rodney’s return performance? How about Mazanec’s run in net? Hey, how about this team in general? In the words of Aaron Sims in his post-game show, “What is going on?” The Ads are the only team in the AHL unbeaten in regulation. They have earned a point in all games played. What do you all feel is the biggest factor in this great start to the season?

17 thoughts on “Ads Grind Out the Wild, 5-2”

  1. Is Milwaukee the only place where the 3 stars are legit? Iowa loses by 2 goals(3 with the empty net) and has the second and third stars? I can understand the third star , he had a goal and an assist, but the second star has 1 assist? What else did he do, keep the Admirals from scoring 5 more goals? Meanwhile Van Guilder has a goal and 2 assists and gets shutout. I know its a small thing but I still find it irking that other arenas are such homers.

  2. Glenn: Did you catch the other night when the Flyers gave Emery the third star despite giving up 4 goals on 15 shots? One of those responsible on the vote tweeted, “Wouldn’t it be funny to just do it?” …the answer is no, but sadly common sense isn’t a common thing now-a-days.

    Still… I take the win over a post-game victory trot.

  3. The team is so much fun to watch this year. Obviously the point streak will come to an end at some point, but there seems to be an overall better attitude throughout the team than the past two years. It is definitely showing. While we are enjoying it now, the future looks bright for Nashville.

  4. Mazanec has been really good in goal. For his first year on the small rink, he’s adjusted really well.
    The team has done really well and seems to be clicking and seems to have good chemistry. Ford definitely is a factor in that. Since the Ads have gotten Ford back from Peoria, they seem to be working better together. That’s nothing against Mike Moore as he was hurt pretty early in the season last year.

    Please tell me the Iowa Wild brought back the person who did the recaps for the Chops. Those were always the best recaps back in the ASS days picking them apart.

  5. Fan in the Falls: Nashville has always been a great team that develops from within. The current team I think is really gelled well with a coaching staff they’ve been around for more than a full year now lead by Evason. It’s never anything aggressive or flashy. They just work really really hard. If they start getting quick out of the first period… this could get even more fun. I expect the point streak to stop in the three game Texas swing coming up. It’s always been tough to go down there. If they get back to Milwaukee without a loss I would be through the roof!

    admiralfreak: No idea about this person you’re speaking of. It’s been two years since the Chops so I’m not sure how jobs have turned out (if Houston brought everyone up from Aeros-land). Good call on Mazanec as well. Remember Hellberg this time last year? His first few starts weren’t so great. He found some wins but let in some softies as he learned the North American game. The players rated Mazanec really big out of pre-season. Now I’m starting to tell why. He’s really consistent.

  6. Well I said I hope Rodney makes me eat crow on Sunday, sounds like he may have done just that, and I couldn’t be happier! Good for him, and hopefully this side of him is what we can expect in the future.

  7. So what happens when Hellberg gets sent back down?? If Mazanec keeps up this play, how can you sit him?? hah! I just hope Hellberg doesn’t get rusty warming the bench and opening the door…

  8. mark sumner: Ditto!

    CreedFeed: It’s an interesting position to be put in. Evason said they always saw this as a 1a/1b situation and that it was never going to be all Hellberg all the time. I feel bad that Hellberg isn’t really getting to do much more that practice and basically watch at the NHL level right now. When he comes back down he’ll definitely be a bit behind Mazanec who is consistently playing in games. They’ll probably work him back in as best they can when the schedule starts piling on (we actually have a three games in three days scenario of our own next weekend in Texas… the games are coming). My guess is when Hellberg comes back, Mazanec gets the first game – Hellberg gets the next – and the coaching staff gets to have fun picking between the two from there on out. Fun problem to have, though! Not all are so lucky to have a 1a/1b in net.

  9. Mike Liambas. I salute you.

    Nice find on the video, too! This YouTuber has the other scraps as well:

    Mathieu Tousignant vs Raphael Bussieres

    Anthony Bitetto vs Jake Dowell

  10. Situations like this makes me wonder why NSH doesn’t swap them aorund if they’re going to stick with Hutton in net. Let Hellberg open and close the door a few days and Mazanec do it a couple days. Hellberg definitely earned his time over Mazenec, but if all he’s doing it sitting around and rotting, swap them to keep them loose.

  11. Mark — Poile has gone on record saying that what you said is a possibility. Way to think like a GM!

    Admiral Freak….my goodness….thanks for the callback! Those Iowa Chops recaps….works of art. I’ll have to see if the archives exist in some dark place on the Interweb… They were DREADFUL. Worse than bad blog writing, but a lot funnier.

    The Wild have some pros in there now. Between Joe and Fish, they’re in good shape.

  12. Lavender, definitely agree about Nashville developing from within. That’s one of the things I really like about their organization. It’s great to see when players who are doing well with the Ads get the call-up, and especially when they end up signing a one-way contract with the Preds.

    So many things going right with the Ads this year. It’s very exciting to watch. I’ve been a fan of Evanson since they brought him in. I like his accept no excuses/takes no crap approach and I’m not sure that sat well with some players last year.

    Ford being back, and as captain, is great as well. He provides great leadership that I felt was missing when Moore was captain.

  13. I know it’s still early but you can’t argue with the results of this Admirals squad so far. During the last few off seasons my question always has been how are the Admirals going to score goals this season? We never seem so have a clear cut offensive player in our mix. Who needs em’! Everyone is pitching in and we’re winning games. With the 10 year anniversary of the Ads Calder Cup win upon us I took a peek at the stats from that season.

    You knew Gamache was there to score goals and Haydar was the set up guy but I had forgotten how even the scoring spread was among forwards AND defencemen. That was a scary group, everyone could score because they worked so well together. Great one two punch in net and the prefect mix of vets and up and comers. Again, it’s still early but so far this seasons team is showing many of the same strengths.

  14. Laura: It is fairly early to tell where the goals are coming from, but I think Watson and Beck have started to pick things up recently. Saying that, they would probably be top of the list of forwards to get called up to Nashville should they get hot. Who fills in after them? The team really wants Patrick Cehlin to be a big provider to the offense this year. He had some growing pains last year it seemed. He started hot and went away. So far, he’s looked good. He just needs to be consistent. The other guys who have looked sharp to start the year: Sissons and Tousignant. Sissons always seems to be in the right place at the right time on both sides of the puck. Tousignant plays with such great speed he creates chances, not only for himself, but for the line around him. Of the young guns: Cehlin, Sissons, and Tousignant are the guys who’ll need to step up the offense. I feel like Joshua Shalla could fit in that same category, too. Of the vets: Mark Van Guilder and Kevin Henderson (get better and stay healthy Hendo). They can and have put up good numbers before. They just have to get in their groove because they typically are on the same line.

  15. @Johnny: From the audio, it sounded like Baldwin won the fight. My eyes told me a different story as several of the landed punches were invisible on the far side and others clearly missed. I don’t think that Baldwin will want to fight Liambas again.

    Congrats Admirals, keep rolling!

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