Last night the Admirals went toe-to-toe with the best in the Western Conference and came up short. Of all the recent losses, to which sadly they are now piling up, this one hurt a little bit more because it was the top team in the West and the Admirals didn’t just hang with them during the game – they outplayed them through two periods of hockey. This was a game to step up, knock off a big dog, and get momentum going ahead of a big weekend. Instead, we get another loss at home – and more head scratching as to what is the missing ingredient that the team needs to push the over the top.
Being that last night was a concert night (and a loss) I zipped through post-game interviews. I sat in on Dean Evason’s post-game presser and talked with Anthony Bitetto before heading back up to press row to complete my story before loud noises happened (Cheap Trick, for those who missed it, was the highlight of the night). Here is what Evason and Bitetto had to say following the defeat to Abbotsford.
Dean Evason talks about the game-winning goal for the Heat:
Evason on whether or not he is concerned by the recent defeats for the team:
Evason speaks about Scott Darling’s returning performance to the Admirals net:
Evason provides an update on Scott Ford and Marek Mazanec:
Anthony Bitetto on his late power-play chances:
Bitetto on the current run the team has been trudging through:
The injury news regarding Scott Ford is a blow to the team for this weekend and I’ll tell you why. This team, outside of perhaps Joonas Jarvinen, really lacks that type of pure stay at home defenseman. With guys like Anthony Bitetto, Charles-Olivier Roussel, and Bryan Rodney they always seem to get caught out trying to chip in more offensively than defensively. With the right defensive pairings – this isn’t such a bad thing to have because at least one man is there to bail the other one out. With Ford out, it is going to mean holding back some of those ‘skate forward’ types on the defensive end and trying to get them settled into defensive anchor roles.
When I came in for interviews Thursday – I found out about Marek Mazanec‘s injury and was told he should be out for the weekend and return to skating on Monday. Tonight? I find out he skated in the morning and is possible to return to the team as quickly as tomorrow night – but more likely Sunday afternoon. In any event that -that- actually happens… where does that leave Hannu Toivonen?
IceHogs: Scouting the Enemy
The Admirals pair up with the diabolical Rockford IceHogs later tonight. There might be no better wake up call for the Admirals than a rivalry game with a divisional opponent that has leapfrogged them in the standings this week.
The IceHogs have a record of 27-21-4-3 (61 points) and have been an outstanding 8-1-0-1 (17 points) in their last ten games – including a points streak of 8 games and a winning streak of 3 games. They have been simply on a tear – and they now face an Admirals team that has won 1 game from its last 6 contests.
During this incredible run for the IceHogs they have been hammering out goals. In their 8 game point streak they have tallied for 36 goals. That’s 4.5 goals per game. If you want to look back to where this surge really all started for the IceHogs – it started by taking two games of a three-in-three against Milwaukee at the end of January. Since then they have been shot out of a cannon and difficult to slow down.
Last night, the IceHogs clashed with the Chicago Wolves – who did give them a decent game. The IceHogs won 2-1 from two quick second period goals but had to fight their way over the finish line. This could help the Admirals out – if only a little bit – considering how open the game was against the Heat… it wasn’t a grind it out style of hockey game, really. This could mean a fast start for the Admirals is a must if they are to get points back on the IceHogs in the standings.
What are your thought’s for tonight’s game? More reaction from last night: what are your comments from the comments? Agree with Anthony Bitetto’s assessment?