The Admirals won 4-2 over the San Antonio Rampage Saturday night. Calle Jarnkrok continued his hot start with the Ads by scoring his fifth goal with the Admirals. Also making a major dent in tonight’s game was goaltender Scott Darling who stopped twenty-five of twenty-seven shots on goal in his first win since January.
“Tremendous,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of Darling’s performance. “[Darling’s] game was in control – really in control. To not play for as long as he did and then have the composure that he did in that hockey game – clearly we feel comfortable with either [goalie].”
Calle Jarnkrok continued his incredible start in an Admirals sweater by netting his eighteenth goal of the season to make it 1-0. Jarnkrok’s initial shot, right on the goal mouth, was kicked out by Scott Clemmensen to the front of the net. After some skipping and knuckling the puck found its way right back to Jarnkrok who tipped it by for a power-play goal – and his fifth goal as an Admiral.
The Rampage did have an answer goal in the first period. And boy was it a good one. John McFarland was able to take advantage of Charles-Olivier Roussel as he was skating backwards, deked him to the outside, and flew across Scott Darling – beating him post to post. That’s McFarland’s seventh goal of the season. I doubt he scores a better goal than that one.
With their power-play just set to expire, Anthony Bitetto whipped a wrist shot towards the net and found a redirection from Austin Watson to give the Admirals a late 2-1 second period lead. It’s Watson’s fifteenth goal of the season – and first scored in five games.
Controversy decided to make an appearance in the third period in the form of a shorthanded breakaway and call for a penalty shot. The Admirals lost their zone and Ryan Martindale was off to the races. Patrick Cehlin was the closest man to him and reached out with a stick, catching Martindale ever so slightly on the arm, and it drew the call for a penalty shot – and also robbed Darling of a magnificent save. On the penalty shot, Martindale was able to best the Ads netminder – outwaited him and elevated the puck high once Darling spread out – and it gave him his seventh goal of the season.
“The ref will see it when he watches the replay,” said Scott Darling of the penalty shot call. “It’s just unfortunate, but the Hockey Gods shined on us tonight.”
Hockey Gods, indeed. The Admirals had a karma boost moments later when Mark Van Guilder, sitting on Clemmensen’s blocker side of the net, was in the perfect place at the perfect time. Bitetto’s shot on goal couldn’t be contained by the veteran goaltender and it was a tap in for Van Guilder’s twelfth goal of the season – and restored the Admirals one goal advantage.
The game was capped off by a rather bizarre empty net goal. Miikka Salomaki ended up getting credited with it. If so, he scored the empty netter with the net off of its moorings. There was some discussions from the refs in regards to the play and it could well see a scoring change if they ruled San Antonio intentionally pushed the net off. No matter who receives final credit for the goal – it sealed the Admirals sixth win in seven games.
Ramblings: With their victory tonight – the Admirals have leaped the Rockford IceHogs in the standings. Scott Darling made his first appearance in net for the Admirals since 2/23/14 at Grand Rapids. In that game he earned his fourth shutout of the season, making twenty-nine saves, but losing in the shootout. Calle Jarnkrok now has seven points in five games with the Admirals: five goals and two assists.
Thoughts from tonight’s win? Is the team finally starting to find their identity and groove? Does the effort tonight by Scott Darling have you wanting more or should the balance in net remain as is?