The Admirals lost 2-1 in overtime against the Rockford IceHogs Wednesday night.
While they may have earned a point on the road this is certainly a game that the Ads should have walked away from victorious. The goalies were brilliant at both ends of the rink in this one – neither allowed a puck to get behind them until the third period. Yet the backbreaker comes in OT with a poor penalty taken by Scott Valentine that leads to a four-on-three power-play opportunity that sealed the Ads fate tonight.
While the goal scoring came later on in this contest the Ads produced one of those rare fast starts. Credit that to the weekend off and very fresh legs on the ice. The Ads outshot the IceHogs 12-7 in the first period and 15-9 in the second period. Major credit has to be given to IceHogs’ netminder Kent Simpson who was pretty much lights-out tonight – stopping 33-34 shots on goal.
The third period is where the goals came in and, against the run of play through the first two periods, it was the IceHogs who managed to score first. Joakim Nordstrom picked up a feed in the slot from Mark McNeill to finally tally the game’s opening goal at the 7:07 mark of the third period.
After a holding penalty against Austin Watson the Ads aggressive penalty-kill were able to race into attack mode and score their third shorthanded goal of the season. A shot by IceHogs d-man Brett Skinner was blocked in front by Joonas Jarvinen. The big Fin acted quickly and delivered an outlet pass for Taylor Beck who broke off on a breakaway. Beck went forehand-to-backhand to beat the tip-top Simpson in net to level the game at 1-1. The goal by Beck is his fifth of the season and fourth of this month.
After a late surge by the IceHogs, one that required a last second save of Magnus Hellberg to deny Jeremy Morin, the two teams headed to OT. Just a minute and a half through OT Ads defensemen turned forward turned defensemen Scott Valentine took a swipe up high on Alex Broadhurst and went to the box for roughing. The Ads special teams at this moment in the game had gone 0-4 on the power-play and 3-3 on the penalty-kill with a shorthanded goal. Still, this is OT hockey where there is plenty more space to operate and the IceHogs didn’t waste time delivering the goods. A one-timed shot was deflected in past Hellberg and the IceHogs edged the Ads in a game they probably shouldn’t have even earned a point in. The game-winner was officially credited to McNeill. For the Ads, who have played in four OT games this season, this was the third time they have lost on a power-play goal in OT.
Some other notes out of this game: Scott Ford was listed as out with a lower-body injury. Initial reaction on my end was that this might be something precautionary. According to Aaron Sims on his radio call tonight the captain might miss a few weeks. In light of that, the “C” patch is off the ice meaning there will be an added “A” divvied out to Admiral veterans Kevin Henderson and Bryan Rodney. Henderson will wear the “A” at home and Rodney wore it on the road black uniform tonight. The new kid on the block, Vinny Saponari, played on a line with Henderson and Mark Van Guilder tonight. Saponari didn’t register a shot and was on the ice for the IceHogs opening goal in the third period. Mike Liambas made his return to the lineup after missing the last eight-games. Liambas picked up ten-minutes worth of penalty time after getting into a verbal bout with Theo Peckham. Both players received ten-minute misconducts for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Thoughts on the game tonight? Could the lack of a finishing touch on all those shots just have been a sign of some “off-day” rust or is there a bigger issue when it comes to this team burying chances? Would you say Hellberg and Beck are starting to show that they are back in form? How will this team fair against the Checkers?
On behalf of my family to your’s – Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Let’s just eat everything and get ready for the Charlotte Checkers this weekend.