The Darling and Forsberg Show: Ads win 4-0

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(Photo credit to Scott Paulus)

The Admirals posted a 4-0 shutout over the San Antonio Rampage Friday night. It was a 34-save shutout from Scott Darling for his second shutout and fourth win of the season. The headline into this game, Filip Forsberg, also made a massive splash in his first return to game action in over a month. Forsberg scored two power-play goals en route to a highly successful night for the Ads as a group.

“[Filip Forsberg] is such a gifted goal scorer,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason. “Obviously we’ve struggled a little bit to score some goals here. Certainly in our last two games. Our power-play was 0/9 in our last game. To have a goal scorer, a pure pure goal scorer, inserted into your lineup – an NHL goal scorer to boot – injects a lot of life into your group.”

Taylor Beck scored his sixth goal of the season to open this game up in the first period. Beck played off the near wall on a two-on-one opportunity with Simon Moser on the left wing and Rampage d-man John Lee between them. Beck maintained a shooting posture, stuttered a bit, and fired high glove against netminder Michael Houser for a silky smooth finish on the goal.

After a questionable hit from Mathieu Tousignant on Steve Pinizzotto, the two decided it best to have at one-another in the corner. It was somewhat more of a tussle than a fight. Some good punches thrown. Not sure if any exactly landed, but Pinizzotto skated off the victory of that exchange in my book.

San Antonio did manage to light the lamp – if only momentarily. The Rampage ransacked the net, running into Scott Darling in goal, and saw their goal –not only disallowed– but sent Eric Selleck to the box for goaltender interference.

The Ads capitalized off of the Selleck penalty with one heck of a goal by newbie Vinny Saponari. The twenty-three year old winger powered in from the left wing wall, held off a defender, and stickhandled his way toward goal and right past Houser in net.

“Great hands,” said Evason of Vinny Saponari. “He’s making plays, he’s scoring, but as importantly he’s not turning any pucks over. He’s getting pucks out on the wall. Making good decisions. Making good passes. Not only offensively but defensively to exit out of our zone. We’ve liked his entire game so far.”

Instantly off of that goal we were given an early fight of the season candidate. Scott Ford went toe-to-toe with the “goaltending interference” miscreant Selleck and the two hammered each other with some bombs. Give the win to Ford – and get ready for YouTube.

The Ads power-play, which struggled big time against Grand Rapids last weekend, was at it yet again to put an exclamation mark on the second period. This time it was Filip Forsberg who answered – marking his return to game action with a power-play goal. The Swede was stationed on the left wall primed to shoot during his shifts on the power-play. This goal was a solid wrist shot that would end Houser’s night in net and force Rob Madore into the game for the Rampage.

“It felt pretty good actually,” said Filip Forsberg on playing his first game since mid-November. “The first period was pretty tired. I was feeling like legs were pretty tired, but during the game I felt better and better. So it was a pretty good game.”

The Ads smacked in their third power-play goal of the night in the third period in similar fashion. Forsberg was laying in wait on the left wall. Austin Watson teed him up perfectly with a crafty toe-drag pass. BOOM, with a one-timer for Forsberg on a slap shot. It was 4-0 Admirals – and would stay 4-0 Admirals.

“Last time I was here we had a power-play goal and we just picked up where we ended,” said Forsberg. “First, [Salomaki] had a good feed and I put it in. Then a nice empty net pass by [Watson] – so that was pretty easy. Two pretty easy goals and nice play by the boys.”

How about a hand for Scott Darling in this game? As much as the spotlight can be shined on Forsberg, for good reason, Darling delivered yet another composed and no nonsense game in net. It seems, the more I watch Darling, his method is the “Keep It Simple, Stupid” approach. Either that or he makes plays in net just seem that calm. He doesn’t let the puck spill out very often. He’s great at stopping the run of play when it really needs to. And –when he does allow goals– he isn’t allowing bad ones. It takes a lot to fool him in net. Can’t say it enough: strength in depth. This organization has lots of big sized goalies that can play very good hockey. Darling is just becoming another example of that the more he gets the call to play.

“I have to credit the team,” said Scott Darling on his second shutout of the season. “It’s just nice. Any win is a good win. Guys blocked shots. Kept most of the shots to the outside. Didn’t really have too many scoring chances. It was a team effort.”

Thoughts on tonight’s game? What did you make of Filip Forsberg’s game tonight? What are your impressions of Scott Darling through eight starts in net? Should Darling get more games or are the Ads sharing the net well?

9 thoughts on “The Darling and Forsberg Show: Ads win 4-0”

  1. Video Highlights will be added when they get posted online. I’ll add quotes once I get home. (Noisy Bradley Center is noisy because of some basketball team needing a court set up… I don’t believe them sometimes with that, “basketball team” in Milwaukee business.)

  2. Maybe they should keep Forsberg, Watson and Salomaki together for a few games. They sure look like they had Chemistry. But then again what if all three got called up together?

  3. It’s a privilege to watch Forsberg. Unfortunately he probably won’t be here very much longer. His skill is just amazing to see. That steal behind the net when they were on the PP was awesome.

  4. Quotes now up. Massive apologies about that – but it was rather noisy rinkside to listen back to audio. I’ll have a Chatterbox of the hardcopy tomorrow – with Mike Liambas joining myself and Dave Boehler in interviewing Scott Darling… which was hysterical!

    Echoing what CreedFeed said, he won’t be here that long and his play tonight (after missing a solid month) proved it. He’ll be in Sweden for the World Juniors come Boxing Day without a doubt.

  5. What’s the story on Liambas? Injured? Given a time out for being sassy in Michigan? While Ford’s fight was pretty damn good, I still think I’d rather have Liambas out there making a mess over Shalla. Niether player really adds a lot of offensive ability to the team, so why not take the physical upside?

  6. Mark: Liambas took a bad knock to his left shoulder when he had that fight against MacIntyre of the Barons a bit back. He also took a massive check to the head by Triston Grant last weekend. When I saw him Wednesday he was out from practice due to an undisclosed injury. My guess is they want to take it easy with him if they can. No disrespect to the Rampage – but I don’t think you even need to bother playing a guy like Liambas against a team like the Rampage unless you wanted to see if Mike could join in the offensive parade against real slow team defense tonight.

  7. I really wish Forsberg was still going to be with the Ads on the 26th and 27th. I will be at both those games, but alas he won’t be. That guy is NHL talent for sure. I will never understand why Trotz keeps scratching him. It makes the fans in Nashville furious for good reason.

    Darling has been playing great. Sad to say, but I have more confidence with him in goal right now than Hellberg.

  8. i can see why vinny is still with milwaukee he got good speed and it’s great that darling got the shutout we need hellberg to start playing better

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