The Admirals won 6-2 against the Rockford IceHogs Saturday night. The rematch of last night’s chippy affair had some similar grit to it but, best of all, a similar lopsided score highlighted by an Admiral offense that is finding its game lately. They’ve now scored twenty-five goals in their last four games.
There were questions whether or not we would have spill over after the events of last night’s game. It took thirty-seven seconds before we had Mathieu Tousignant and Garret Ross drop the gloves. It was a quick little scrap – nothing crazy – and ended with Ross winning the take down on Tousignant. Just a little over two-minutes from there, Kevin Henderson dropped the gloves in an attempt to engage Phillip Danault. There wasn’t a fight between the two – but they did enjoy two minutes in the box for their troubles.
The Admirals managed to score the opener through an in-zone turnover. Vinny Saponari picked up a loose puck and tossed back to the point for Bryan Rodney. His following shot flipped through the net-front screen by Colton Sissons and past goaltender Jason LaBarbera. At game’s end, the scoring on the goal would go from Rodney to Sissons – giving the rookie his twenty-third goal of the season.
Keeping with his Thunderdome nature – Rodney was on the negative end of the game’s next goal as Pierre-Marc Bouchard picked his pocket in the defensive zone en route to a mini-break on Marek Mazanec. Once Bouchard beat Rodney – he set his sights on a slap shot high to the glove side of Mazanec and picked up his eighth goal of the season – and second as a member of the IceHogs.
To start the second period the Ads did a little bit of mimicking. If Bouchard could do it – why can’t we? Filip Forsberg ended up wide in space, skated in on a breakaway, and his wrister burned LaBarbera for his ninth goal of the season to make it a 2-1 Admirals lead just 1:27 into the second period.
Then a major momentum shift. The Admirals had twelve-seconds worth of five-on-three power-play. The IceHogs survived the kill and instantly turned the other way for a goal. Terry Broadhurst’s rush from the wing led to him throwing a puck to the net. It managed to sneak through Mazanec – who might have been paying attention to the center lane drive from Mark McNeill. For the elder Broadhurst of the Rockford Broadhurst Brothers – it is his fifteenth goal of the season.
The Ads responded with a stellar link-up between Tousignant and Miikka Salomaki. There was nearly no space for the pass from Tousignant to Salomaki but the feed came through. Equally, there was next to no room for Salomaki to score from the side of the net – but he did anyways. Quick pass. Quicker finish. Salomaki’s fourteenth goal of the season gave the Admirals a 3-2 lead.
One of the central figures in last night’s key incidents was at it again tonight. Having just lost the lead, Brad Mills decided it best to lose his temper as well and smashed Tousignant into the boards. Mills was the man responsible for the hit to the head of Patrick Cehlin. Unlike last night – there was a call made here. It wasn’t a match penalty – but a five-minute major for boarding.
Before the second period ended, the Admirals were able to score on the opening minute of that five-minute “score at will” major penalty. Like last night – the newbie was at it again. Calle Jarnkrok was able to zip a shot past LaBarbera to extend the Admirals lead to 4-2 and give him his third goal in two days as an Admiral. He now has sixteen goals on the season. It would prove to be the only goal scored by the Ads from the major penalty.
In the third period, Sissons made it back-to-back games of scoring two goals. He was in the right place at the right time as Saponari’s initial spot kicked out right to him. He now has twenty-four goals on the season.
Things then got nasty in the opposite direction for a change. Mike Liambas was called for a kneeing major and a game misconduct when he took out the human bull’s-eye Brad Mills. Liambas went to the box, was asked to leave the box, and -as he attempted to exit the ice- LaBarbera tried to engage him. Mills was down for a bit following the hit. You hope the intent isn’t there from Liambas – but he clearly is open for review from the AHL following a hit such as this.
This gave way to the game’s second five-minute major penalty of the game. At the time it was a three goal contest. The IceHogs power-play has been brilliant. The game was by no means over when this penalty was assessed with 6:50 remaining.
During the lengthy non-stop power-play for the IceHogs they played patiently, wound up emptying their net, had a two-man advantage, and still didn’t manage to score a goal on the major penalty to Liambas.
Joonas Rask put the finishing touches to this game by scoring an empty netter to make it 6-2 Admirals. He was a healthy scratch in last night’s game – and, empty net or not, responded with a good performance on the fourth line and his third goal of the season.
I now expect four incidents to be reviewed from the AHL offices following these two games. Mills on Cehlin. Shea on Moser. Mills on Tousignant. Liambas on Mills. It could be a busy day in the office when they get all the materials in front of them.
Ramblings: Patrick Cehlin and Simon Moser, both injured in last night’s game, didn’t take part – and were replaced in the lineup with Kevin Henderson and Joonas Rask (both of whom were healthy scratches Friday night). Calle Jarnkrok now has three goals and an assist from his first two games as an Admiral. Scott Ford has tallied an assist in back-to-back games. The last time Ford recorded points in consecutive games, 12/12/10 vs. OKC and 12/17/10 vs. LE.
Thoughts from this game? What are we looking at in terms of suspensions from these two games? What has happened to the Admirals offense lately? Who or what has changed things to make the offense as dynamic as it has been all season these past four games?