(Photo credit to Scott Paulus)
The Admirals won 3-2 in a shootout over the Chicago Wolves Friday night. The Ads overcame a two-goal deficit to win in the shootout thanks to regulation goals by Kevin Henderson and Simon Moser. In the shootout, Mathieu Tousignant and Austin Watson scored the goals that set the stage for a glove save by Magnus Hellberg on Keith Aucoin to wrap up the comeback victory.
“If someone could tell me how we won that hockey game,” joked a very pleased Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Because, for two periods, we thought we were outcompeted. Such a credit to our group. They just keep going.”
After a scoreless first period the Wolves managed to strike for two goals in the second period after two poor plays in the Ads defensive zone.
The opening goal by the Wolves was scored by Cody Beach after a relentless shift by Chicago. The Wolves came in waves with that shift but finally scored from a rebound. The shot by Sergey Andronov was stopped from a left-pad save by Magnus Hellberg but spilled out to Beach. The forward, ghosting behind the Admirals defense at the mouth of goal, was quick to strike for his first goal of the season.
The follow up effort by the Wolves came two minutes later after a communications breakdown between Hellberg and his defensemen. Hellberg played the puck behind his net, left it there as if a defensemen was going to swoop in, and no Admiral did so. Instead Tyler Shattock flew in, collected the free puck, and passed it out from behind the net to Pat Cannone. A flustered Hellberg might not have even seen that puck after leaving it behind his net. It was 2-0 to the Wolves.
Capitalizing on a Wolves mistake lead to the Admirals surge back into this game. A bad turnover by the Wolves, spearheaded by Mathieu Tousignant, lead to a mini-break for Kevin Henderson. The winger powered to goal and showed some soft hands with a silky smooth backhanded finish to beat Jake Allen in net. It was Henderson’s first goal since the last season’s finale in the playoffs on May 5th in Texas. The goal by the Admirals also broke a scoreless drought of 128:50.
“It feels great,” said Kevin Henderson about scoring his first goal of the season. “To get that goal. To help the team get in the right direction to get back against Chicago was huge. Hopefully there is more to come.”
As the second period horn sounded to signal the end of the period some of the chippiness you can expect from a rivalry game came through. Anthony Bitetto and Keith Aucoin got into it a little bit and both received minors for roughing that would carry over into the next period. With the team looking for a boost, the coaching staff turned to veteran leader and team captain Scott Ford during the second intermission.
“To be honest with you, after the second period, we [the coaches] didn’t even go in the room,” said Evason. “We just told Scott Ford that it’s their team and we see what happens. [The team] figured it out. Whatever was said between the second and third was all them.”
So, with four-on-four hockey to start the third period, there was space for the speedsters to shine. The Ads cashed in just twenty-eight seconds before the teams were about see Bitetto and Aucoin return to the ice. Much like the opening goal for the Wolves the Admirals equalizer came from a blast from the point and scored from the rebound. Bryan Rodney was the man whose rocket shot pounded off the end boards, twisting Allen in net, and causing a loose puck to spill over to Simon Moser. Allen had no chance to recover after committing to the shot by Rodney and Moser scored his fourth goal of the season.
This game then went buzzed through overtime and needed a shootout to decide it. The Ads decided to shoot first. Goals in the shootout were scored by Tousignant and Austin Watson. The shootout goal for Watson held the game in the balance for the Ads as Aucoin skated out for the Wolves crucial shootout attempt. Hellberg made a glove save and the Ads skated off with a big come from behind victory over their Amtrak Rivals.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? How good does this win feel after those previous two losses? Do you think this game can send the team off on their upcoming lengthy road trip in the right direction?