The Admirals won 3-2 against the Toronto Marlies Tuesday night. All three goals by the Ads came on the power-play: Salomaki, Salomaki again, and Sissons. The Ads started fast. The Marlies finished ugly – with eighteen penalty minutes in the third period alone. Despite a goal scored with the extra attacker on – the Marlies shot themselves in the foot in the third and the Ads were able to pick up their first win in three games.
The opening goal tonight came from the Admirals on the power-play. Taylor Beck had a good chance in on goal but his stick exploded. He skated to the bench, got a new twig, skated back into the action, and set into motion the power-play goal. Beck’s wing-to-wing pass found Bryan Rodney creeping in on the right wing. Rodney’s shot nailed the pads of Marlies goaltender Garret Sparks and the puck went directly to Miikka Salomaki for a tap in. That is Salomaki’s ninth goal of the season.
Milwaukee dominated the opening period. It took the Marlies more than ten minutes to force Marek Mazanec to make a save. In total, the Ads outshot the Marlies 14-3 in the opening twenty-minutes. That meant the Ads team leader for shots in the period, Salomaki, was on level terms with the entire Marlies team. Even with a power-play to their credit rarely did the Marlies sustain any offensive pressure.
After a successful penalty kill the Marlies equalized through a rebound goal by Wade MacLeod. Major credit goes to the initial shot from Greg McKegg who waited, waited, and waited for a shot to the net. When he fired Mazanec made the pad save but the puck kicked out to MacLeod who finished the rest. It was his fifth goal of the season.
The second period was much more even between the two. Shots were 15-12 in the Admirals favor. The bulk of those shots from the Marlies were low shots on Mazanec’s pads in an effort to generate rebounds for players crashing the net. It worked once. They kept pushing the entire period looking to make Mazanec’s legs move.
Midway through the second period saw a very ugly boarding penalty by Brad Ross on Scott Ford. The puck was in the right wing pocket as the Marlies were forechecking. Ross had full view of Ford’s name and number – and Ford was a few feet clear of the end boards. Ross put a shoulder to the nameplate and drove Ford face first into the glass. Ford remained down briefly and then got up swinging. He landed one solid punch before things settled down. The call on the ice was a boarding minor. Nothing against Ford for the punch. Blood was drawn from the hit. The only possible reason I can see why that wasn’t a boarding major and a game misconduct was the reaction by Ford once he got up. Should that merit the lack of a match penalty for that type of hit? In my book – absolutely not. It looked ugly at full speed as it happened. It looked even worse on the replays – which were shown before a call was made on the ice.
In the third period some more nastiness came from the Marlies. Right in front of their player bench Mike Liambas was smashed from the back by Andrew MacWilliam. Liambas looked like he was dangerously close to catching his chin on the top of the boards. He went right after scrum following the hit. Nothing more than words from that post-boarding reaction. Also, that hit was also just a minor penalty.
The ensuing power-play for the Ads resulted in their third goal on the man-advantage. A net front scramble for a loose puck finally ended with Colton Sissons getting the crucial touch to chip it by Sparks. That goal extends Sissons team lead in goals to fifteen.
Toronto’s undoing in this game was really their own in the third period. The visiting penalty box’s door darn near needed WD-40 – and may well get treated before Friday’s game. In total the Marlies took four penalties for eighteen minutes worth of PIM’s and hell for Marlies head coach Steve Spott to endure. There were two five-on-three chances that exceeded one-minute in length. And it felt as if, once a penalty was killed or finished off by an Ads power-play goal, another penalty was drawn. The Marlies were beyond agitated in this game. Drawing misconducts on the ice and from the bench.
Through all the awfulness of the third period the Marlies did manage to score a goal with the extra attacker on the ice. They worked low around Mazanec’s cage and Sam Carrick’s pass, post-to-post, was slammed home by McKegg.
Pressure continued for the final 1:31 of the game. Luckily for the Admirals that just wasn’t enough time to level the game. The Marlies, and all their frustration, got the better of them in the last period. By every sense of the word: the Marlies earned the loss tonight.
Ramblings: In tonight’s game, the Admirals fired a season-high forty-six shots on goal. Kevin Henderson was a healthy scratch and the team dressed seven defensemen. Bryan Rodney returned after a four-game spell of being a scratch. Taylor Beck, who tallied for two assists, moved past Neil Meadmore on Ads all-time (IHL and AHL) list with 109 pts – tied for fifty-fourth with Dan Eastman. By conceding two goals again tonight – Marek Mazanec continued his run of conceding no less than two goals in every single AHL start.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Did the Marlies ‘lose’ this game more than the Admirals ‘won’ it? If you were in attendance, because I doubt the footage turns up online, what did you make of the boarding calls to Ford and Liambas? Let’s talk Filip Forsberg on a night when he doesn’t score goals: what do you see from him lately?