The Admirals lost 2-1 against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night. The Ads opened the scoring tonight with a brilliant goal by Vinny Saponari. A massive sixty-five delay to repair conditions on the ice set the stage for an IceHogs team that surged in the second period – and found a late game-winner in the third.
“It was a long long break obviously,” said assistant coach Stan Drulia on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP after the game. “I think we lost a little bit of momentum. And then we got into four penalties right in a row. So we kind of lost momentum there in the second period. And then we just don’t get the job done when it got late. We got over committed on our forecheck and gave up a two-on-one. We can’t be giving up a two-on-ones with three minutes to go in a 1-1 hockey game.”
In last night’s game Colton Sissons made a case for the best Admirals goal of the season. Tonight it was Vinny Saponari. The Georgia native skated in from the left wing and into the slot around a sliding Viktor Svedberg (all 6’9” of him), toe dragged around Zach Miskovic, did a clockwise spin, backhand shot, and beat veteran goaltender Jason LaBarbera to the five hole. The goal is Saponari’s sixth of the season – and please YouTube produce the goods.
Next came a massive delay due to unsafe playing conditions. The Rockford IceHogs were having a “Pink The Rink” night. They were wearing pink accented uniforms to promote breast cancer awareness and also tinted the ice a shade of pink. Whether or not that was the route of the problem isn’t entirely known – but, after a sixty-five minute delay, the pink ice was fully shaved and the ice was resurfaced.
“Some guys were on the bikes, stretching, and just trying to keep moving,” said Drulia of how the team dealt with the delay. “We had some time to look at a few things. But we didn’t do a whole lot of coaching because there really wasn’t a whole lot to do.”
Both teams had to endure the delay – but it was clear that the IceHogs started the second period far better than their first. In the second period the IceHogs outshot the Admirals 12-4. They’re attacking pressure was constant in the period and drew four power-play chances.
After a Scott Valentine slash and a delayed call against Joonas Jarvinen for boarding – the IceHogs scored a power-play goal to level the game at 1-1. Brandon Pirri’s shot to the net deflected off of ex-Admiral Brad Winchester and past Marek Mazanec for the tying goal. For Winchester, that is now thirteen goals this season – he had nine all last year with the Admirals.
After a misplay from Jarvinen – the IceHogs were able to spring a two-on-one rush. Brandon Mashinter, who dropped the gloves last night with Mike Liambas, used his hands for good by tapping a shot through Mazanec’s five hole for the go-ahead goal.
The Ads were able to earn an offensive zone faceoff, use their timeout, and play with an extra attacker for the final minute. Nothing came of it. And the Admirals fell 2-1 in Rockford for the team’s sixth straight road loss.
Ramblings: Filip Forsberg returned to the Admirals lineup after missing last night’s contest due to an illness. This meant the team returned to a six-defensemen look with Charles-Olivier Roussel being the odd-man out tonight. Interesting move by the Rockford IceHogs for this game: they benched their top scorer d-man Adam Clendening after costly turnovers in Friday’s game. By allowing two goals tonight, netminder Marek Mazanec continued his run of allowing two or more goals in every AHL start. The lone game where he managed to concede more than two goals game in a 5-4 shootout loss in Oklahoma City last weekend.
Thoughts on tonight’s game? Was the long delay the real buzzkill for the Admirals tonight? Why do the Ads seem to struggle so much on the road? How do you feel in regards to Mazanec consistently allowing two goals per game?