The Admirals won 3-2 against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. In front of a massive crowd, nearly 17,000 fans in attendance, the Ads were able to come back and hold off Rockford. The goals from the Ads included a brilliant shorthanded goal from Colton Sissons, a wicked wrister from Austin Watson, and a game-winner from Mark Van Guilder off of an IceHogs turnover. Marek Mazanec also played a big part in the win tonight – making twenty-eight saves in the win.
For the most part, the Admirals outplayed the IceHogs in the opening period. They spent more time on the attack and outshot the visitors 17-12 in the first period. The IceHogs work from their defensive half on a counter rush did force some big saves from Marek Mazanec throughout the period – but there was never anything that really caught Mazanec off guard.
After a Mike Liambas high-sticking call, the IceHogs were able to score the opener from a power-play with thirty-seconds remaining in the period. A shot from BLURBLE was spilled out into the path of Mark McNeill. With Mazanec out of position due to the initial save – all McNeill had to do was smack it in for his eleventh goal of the season.
Zach Budish was called for a trip early in the second period. Cue Colton Sissons and one of the best individual plays by an Admiral this season. Sissons was able to jar a turnover loose, win a race in the neutral zone, skate over and in front of DEFENSEMAN, and beat Simpson’s glove for a shorthanded goal. The goal leveled the game at 1-1 and extended Sissons team-lead for goals with sixteen.
Then something that hadn’t happened in the previous three meetings this season between the Ads and IceHogs: a fight. Off of a faceoff Mike Liambas dropped the gloves with Brandon Mashinter. It appeared like this was all instigated from the draw by Mashinter and then Liambas obliged him. I scored my fight card: Liambas 10, Mashinter 9. The edge goes to Liambas who landed solid body blows throughout the fight. Both ended the scrap with solid punches landing flush to the face.
In the third period the Ads were able to gain their first lead of the game from Austin Watson’s tenth goal of the season. Watson skated in from the right wing and fired. His shot may have taken a deflection off of a stick in front of him before it got to Simpson. The shot appeared to knuckle en route to goal and snuck through Simpson’s arm.
The eventual game-winning goal came through an IceHogs turnover in their own zone. Mathieu Tousignant was able to intercept an outlet pass at the top of the blue line. This kept Van Guilder onside and right on target for a Tousignant pass. Van Guilder threw it by Simpson to give the Ads a two-goal lead and picked up his eight goal of the season.
The IceHogs were able to score a shorthanded goal of their own with five-minutes remaining. A bit of miscommunication and steady pressure from the IceHogs generated a turnover from the left wing pocket. Brandon Pirri was able to score directly in front of Miikka Salomaki and Mazanec to make it 3-2 – where the game would remain.
Ramblings: Filip Forsberg missed tonight’s game due to an illness and was a very late scratch from the lineup. In his place the team dressed seven defensemen with Charles-Olivier Roussel – who actually played the full game as a right winger. A pleasant surprise in tonight’s pre-game skate was the return of Patrick Cehlin. The Swede played the full skate-around and might return at some point this weekend. Taylor Beck, who was called up to the Nashville Predators this week, has been a healthy scratch in two-straight games since his call up.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Can the Ads sweep the weekend?