The Admirals lost 4-3 in overtime against the Rockford IceHogs Sunday night. The Ads were up by 3-1 until the IceHogs stormed off with two rapid goals from Jeremy Morin in the third period to push this game into overtime. The OT period was nearly over when Adam Clendening blasted in the game-winner from long range to end the Ads and IceHogs three-in-three weekend battle royale.
There were more Vinny Saponari theatrics in tonight’s game. Last night was a double toe drag spin-o-rama for a goal. Tonight he pulled out the toe drag again and almost put IceHogs d-man Theo Peckham on his wallet. The follow up shot from the toe drag was a wrister to Jason LaBarbera’s stick side for Saponari’s seventh goal of the season and second in as many days.
Despite the opening goal, the IceHogs really controlled the first period of play. They outshot the Ads 20-6 in the frame and were able to generate two power-plays. Shortly after a Joe Piskula hooking penalty the IceHogs scored an equalizer. It wasn’t the best goal conceded by Marek Mazanec. The shot from Alex Broadhurst skipped along the ice surface and rolled into goal alongside Mazanec’s right toe. He was simply playing a little too deep in net and it cost him moving side to side. It was the younger Broadhurst brother’s eighth goal of the season.
In the second period the Ads reclaimed the lead on the power-play. Mark Van Guilder guided a pass towards the net to Simon Moser – who expertly tipped a pass across to an oncoming Miikka Salomaki. The pass was backhanded in by Salomaki for his eleventh goal of the season.
Next came some rough stuff. Mathieu Tousignant, our resident chirper, dropped the gloves with Garret Ross. Tousignant was a thorn in the side of Rockford all weekend – playing style and mouth. The fight wasn’t anything special. There were some noogies dished out by both in a grapple fest but no real solid blows landed – if any.
With fifty-seconds remaining in the second period Joonas Jarvinen scored his second goal of the season. Jarvinen stickhandled through Adam Clendening and shot five hole on LaBarbera. The puck took a while to reappear but it had enough gas on it to cross into goal to make it a 3-1 Ads lead.
Then came twenty-three seconds that the Admirals would like to have back tonight. In that third period span they lost their two-goal lead from two goals off the tape of Jeremy Morin. The Ads were just finishing off a power-play when Morin charged down the right wing and delivered a wicked wrist shot that powered top shelf across the grain of Mazanec. Just twenty-three seconds later the IceHogs had a two-on-one and Morin popped it in for his eleventh goal of the season.
The game would head into overtime. Both sides looked gassed from the third period onwards. Just when I was thinking both could be playing for the shootout, and any goal this late in OT would ruin a week for the losing side, the IceHogs scored with twenty-one seconds left in OT. The IceHogs team leading scorer Clendening blasted a slap shot from the far right wing side of the blue line. His shot appeared to take a hit from an Admirals stick just after the shot was taken, lowering the puck’s flight pattern, and burning Mazanec for the late OT game-winner. That’s Clendening’s sixth goal of the season – and the one that makes tonight that little bit sour as the Ads and IceHogs cap the weekend three-in-three.
Ramblings: Marek Mazanec started tonight’s game making him the first goalie since Magnus Hellberg (the final three games of the 2012-13 season) to start all games of a three-in-three. With his assist tonight on Miikka Salomaki’s goal – Mark Van Guilder scored his 100th career point as an Admiral. Only fifteen other players have reached the 100 point plateau in Admirals AHL history.
Thoughts from tonight’s game? How about this series? Should Marek Mazanec have played all three games in net this weekend?