The Admirals won 2-1 in overtime against the Rochester Americans Sunday afternoon.
Pekka Rinne wasn’t tested too much from this game, stopping seventeen of eighteen shots, but exerted himself past regulation and seemed no worse for the wear.
Charles-Olivier Roussel goes down as today’s hero. He entered today’s game having only scored one goal all season. He scored twice today – including a backhander for the game-winner in overtime.
It took the Rochester Americans more than six-minutes to register a shot on Pekka Rinne and their opening ten minutes were rather slow. It wasn’t until 14:14 when they had sustained pressure and that was due to a five-on-three power-play that lasted 0:33 seconds. Mark Van Guilder made a fantastic individual play, while laying down on the ice, to deny a shot and then clear the zone – effectively killing the two-man advantage.
The latter half of that power-play for the Americans was their best play of the period and required the most amount of work from Rinne that he had in the opening frame. It was less about setting up chances and throwing pucks to the net and Rinne held his own. He would finish the first period with six saves – most of which came late in the period.
The second period cruised by with some penalties here and there but neither team could find the back of the net. That came mainly due to an incredible defensive effort put up by both sides making blocked shot after blocked shot. The shots in the period were only 8-5 in the favor of the Admirals.
The Americans did do plenty of good things offensively, lots of plays tight to the front of Rinne’s net, but just couldn’t get their shots on target. Block. Block. Block. It felt a lot like that during the second period.
The deadlock was finally broken in the third period by one of the most ludicrous goals of the season. Charles-Olivier Roussel flew down the right wing wall, tossed a puck on net, was all the way to the end boards by the Wisconsin Vision graphic, threw his rebound off of Nathan Lieuwen and in for his second goal of the season.
During the thrill of that moment the Americans won the faceoff, flew a pass through neutral, found Jamie Tardif, and scored a full seven-seconds after the Admirals goal. There were no defensemen back off the faceoff loss. Tardif’s goal went underneath Rinne for his seventeenth goal of the season.
The game would haul into overtime – the Admirals arch nemesis this season. Rochester had a golden opportunity to bury the game after a rare Rinne fumble behind his net. Having lost the handle on a puck, Rinne was left sprinting back to the front of his cage only to see a puck ping of far post and fly out. Luke Adam had an entire net to shoot at and he missed the winner by just that much.
When it comes to goal scoring – these last two games have been phenomenal for Ads defenseman. Having scored once already in the game, Roussel put the finishing touches on the game after a great pass from Austin Watson turned him loose directly in front of Lieuwen. He whipped a backhander out of the bag and picked up his third goal of the season – second of the game – and gave the Admirals two wins under the Pekka Rinne microscope.
Thoughts from today’s game? What have you made of the Admirals defense in these last two games? Is this level of play something we can expect from the Admirals moving forward? Who starts in net from this point?