The Admirals won 3-2 in overtime on the road against the Chicago Wolves Saturday night. Austin Watson scored the game-winner with twenty-two seconds remaining in OT to end the Admirals three-game losing streak. Hannu Toivonen made his first start of the season for the Ads and made twenty-eight saves in the OT win.
The Admirals were able to score the opener from a rare even-strength goal by Filip Forsberg. Austin Watson did the dirty work and fired a shot off of Matt Climie’s pads – spilling the puck into the net front presence of Forsberg. It’s Forsberg’s eighth goal of the season with the Admirals and his third scored from even-strength play.
Much like last night’s contest against the Iowa Wild, the opponent quickly flipped the script seconds after an Admirals goal for one of their own. A mere thirty-one seconds after Forsberg’s opening goal a shot from Ty Rattie ricocheted off some bodies in front of Ads netminder Hannu Toivonen. The puck, which squeaked past Toivonen, was given a tap in from Shane Harper his seventh goal of the season.
We did have a quasi-fight between Mathieu Tousignant and Mark Cundari. I would say this was slightly like last night’s bout for Mike Liambas. The real victor would be the helmets – if anything. It was quick and nothing really seemed to land flush. Helmets, 1. Players, 0.
The Wolves took the lead in the second period off of a beautiful play by Ty Rattie. Vinny Saponari deflected a point shot and Rattie, from the left wing faceoff circle, smashed it baseball-style. The midair shot has enough juice on it to beat Toivonen to make it a 2-1 game. It was Rattie’s nineteenth goal of the season – and undoubtedly his best this season.
Five minutes later the Ads tied things up 2-2 from an odd man rush. Colton Sissons and Vinny Saponari broke into the zone on a two-on-one. Saponari passed over to Sissons whose shot hit crossbar and down for his eighteenth goal of the season.
For the fifth time in seven contests of this season’s Amtrak Rivalry – we headed into overtime. In those previous contests the Admirals had only won a single contest – Nov. 22, 3-2 (SO). With just twenty-two seconds remaining in overtime Austin Watson won it with a blind backhanded shot to the front of the net that took a deflection off a defenseman’s skate and past Climie near post. It’s Watson’s thirteenth goal of the season – and perhaps one that could jump start the Ads. The win tonight ended a three-game losing streak.
Ramblings: Hannu Toivonen made his first start as an Admiral tonight, first appearance in net since subbing in for Magnus Hellberg in San Antonio on Jan.16 (stopped four of six in a shootout loss – where he faced no shots in regulation or overtime), first start since Jan. 12 with the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL (a thirty-three save shutout), and first AHL start since Apr. 10, 2011 with Rockford in Chicago (a thirty-seven save overtime win). Anthony Bitetto was a healthy scratch tonight. Scott Darling made his second start in as many days and won again. Darling made 27 saves in a 5-2 Cyclones win.
Thoughts from tonight’s game? What do you make of Hannu Toivonen’s performance tonight? Is this the sort of a game that can give the Ads a boost moving forward?