The Admirals came out firing with a 5-2 win over the Oklahoma City Barons Friday night. The Ads produced four unanswered goals to start this game. All in all, goals scored by Colton Sissons, Mark Van Guilder, Austin Watson, Anthony Bitetto, and Kevin Henderson proved that a week’s worth of practice went to great use in preparation for this game.
This contest opened with a scrap between Mathieu Tousignant and Travis Ewanyk. The fight started up in the corner after the whistle blew. It was a big time jab fest. Close call as far as calling a winner in this one. Might have to give the edge to Ewanyk for the ending.
The Ads picked up the opening goal thanks to speed and a big time mistake by the Barons. Miikka Salomaki had a mini-break into the zone. He had Brandon Davidson close him down and that forced Salomaki to slow down and whirl a pass.. to no one in particular. Thankfully, in an act of panic or blindness, Barons centerman Roman Horak sent the puck right on the tape of Colton Sissons who fired immediately. The shot beat Laurent Brossoit and extended Sissons team lead in goals with his eighth of the season.
Just a little over two minutes later the Ads scored again. This goal featured a quality pass from Taylor Beck and intelligent skating on the ice by Mark Van Guilder to get on the backdoor of the net. Beck secured a turnover in the corner and skated goalward. The moment Beck picked out Van Guilder there was no hope for Brossoit to stop MVG’s tap in. It was a quick 2-0 Ads lead off of Van Guilder’s fourth goal of the season.
Then came the second period and, quite possibly, the Ads best period they will muster up all season. The Ads scored two more goals, earned three power-plays, and posted a season best twenty-one shots in the period. The Barons posted a woeful four shots in the second period.
Goal number three on the evening was scored by Austin Watson after yet another beauty of a pass by Beck. The Ads wheeled around the zone and Beck teed up Watson with a backhanded pass from behind the net that Watson hit first-time. The shot went to the roof of goal for Watson’s sixth goal of the season.
The Ads finally went slump busters on the power-play thanks to Anthony Bitetto. The sustained offensive pressure by the Ads in the second period was incredible and really showcased on this particular goal. Great keep ins by the point-men, Bryan Rodney especially, lead to Bitetto’s seventh goal of the season. This ended the Ads cringe-worthy 0-25 run on the power-play and also ended the night in net for Barons goalie Brossoit. This gave a chance for Ty Rimmer in the Barons net… which included eleven second period saves on eleven second period shots in 13:26 of ice time… how about that for an offensive outburst?
The third period saw the Barons finally end Scott Darling’s shutout bid after Linus Omark picked up his twelfth goal of the season. Omark raced through the neutral zone and continued his individual rush all the way to goal where he threw a puck at the net that hit off Charles Roussel’s skate and in. The goal for Omark extended his point streak to seven-consecutive games: 2 goals and 9 assists.
After a charging penalty against Mike Liambas, the Barons were able to gather more momentum off of Omark’s goal and make it a 4-2 hockey game. A heavy shot from Brad Hunt on the blue-line produced a power-play goal. The shot kept rising and rising just about clanking the crossbar on its way in.
You know who hates two goal leads? Everyone. The ice was starting to tilt towards the Barons but the Ads were able to finish them off through Kevin Henderson’s second goal of the year. Watson was able to deliver a very soft pass near the slot to Henderson who simply took a whack at it. The puck never left the ice, pinged the near post, and beat Rimmer before he could get a toe to it.
It was a bit of a chippy affair at points. A fair bit of chirping at one-another and some heavy hits dished out. Worst of the worst to me was a cross-check to the neck of Liambas delivered by noted enforcer Steve MacIntyre. The Ads held their composure extremely well in this game. The Ads earned seven power-plays to the Barons two. Still, with a game between the two set for this coming Thursday – message sending may have been on the mind for the Barons after a rough game on their part. With less than thirty-seconds remaining Joonas Jarvinen and Will Acton dropped the gloves in a short but fairly intense fight. Acton landed a good one. Jarvinen had a take down with some particularily nasty things said in Finnish at him… one would assume.
All things told, this was a great response by an Admirals team after several days off. They win 5-2 and outshoot the Barons 44-30 – a season high in shots on goal. Tonight was the first game since 1/25/13 where they held a lead of four goals – that happened in an 8-2 win over these same Barons.
It will be another lengthy break until the rematch. If tonight’s performance says anything about how the team’s compete level was put to the test during a week worth of practice – it’s going to be worth the wait.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Worth the wait? Did the break finally allow the offense to wake up? Thoughts on Darling getting the start tonight instead of Hellberg? Was this the return of the Taylor Beck we’ve come to know?