The Admirals won 3-1 against the Rochester Americans Wednesday night.
The Ads steamrolled the home-side in the first two period of play: leading 3-0 and outshooting them 25-6. The victory caps off the four-game road trip – and the Admirals managed to take five points from a possible eight.
“We really liked the way that we came out,” said Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on Sports Radio 1250 WSSP. “We wanted to make sure our guys started real good today and they did that. They really hunted the puck.”
It took the Americans over twelve minutes into this game before getting their first shot on goal. That shot came after a failed five-on-three power-play but during the back half of that opportunity.
With the shots heavily favoring the Admirals, finishing 14-3 in the first period, they found the payoff with Miikka Salomaki’s eighteenth goal of the season. Anthony Bitetto flipped a backhanded shot on starting goaltender Andrey Makarov. The puck knuckled in on the young netminder and Salomaki was in front of the net to pop in the garbage for the opening goal.
Mark Van Guilder was injured during that initial penalty kill in the first period. For those who remember back – Van Guilder blocked a shot in the Hamilton game last Friday, was on crutches after the game, and played the rest of the weekend. He was helped off of the ice, not putting weight down on his right leg, by Bryan Rodney and Doug Agnew.
I mention that injury out of sequence because the legend of Van Guilder continued tonight with yet another warrior mentality display. In his first shift back on the ice, the same period in which he was helped to the bench, he scored a goal to make it a 2-0 Admirals lead. Patrick Cehlin forced a turnover directly in front of the net. With the panic button firmly hit for the Americans – Cehlin and Van Guilder, and both defensemen covering them, crossed paths. Van Guilder took a whack at the loose puck to the side of the net and scored his fourteenth goal of the season.
In the second period, Salomaki was able to score his nineteenth goal of the season and second goal of the game. He made a power move to the net from the left wing with Johan Larsson all over him. There wasn’t a call made against Larsson but it wouldn’t have mattered. Saloamki’s initial shot was saved by Makarov but the young Finn drove in the rebound to extend the Admirals lead to 3-0.
Through two period of play, the Admirals outshot the Americans 25-6. The Ads season low for shots allowed in a period was three back when they played in Charlotte against the Checkers on 12/1/13. Tonight, the Ads achieved that in, back-to-back periods through forty minutes.
The Americans finally broke through the Admirals defense in the opening minutes of the third period to make it 3-1. A backhanded pass from Phil Varone picked out Kevin Sundher who slapped one past Marek Mazanec to end the shutout bid. It’s Sundher’s sixth goal of the season.
After two shots pinged off the posts surrounding Mazanec – the Ads found themselves on a breakaway with Joonas Rask getting tackled down by Nick Petrecki. Rask was awarded a penalty shot but failed to convert from the opportunity. His forehand shot was snagged with the glove of Makarov.
The game would end at a 3-1 scoreline. The Ads defense was brilliant tonight and the shots disparity really shows that: 32-16, Admirals. In addition, tonight marked the first game from twenty-six previous appearances that Mazanec allowed less than two goals in a game. He wasn’t tasked with too much work in the opening two periods tonight – but really shined in the third period when the Americans pushed heavily late in the game.
Ramblings: With his goal in tonight’s game, Mark Van Guilder now has fifty career goals with the Milwaukee Admirals. Van Guilder is just the thirteenth player to reach that milestone since the team joined AHL. He is now tied with Scottie Upshall on Admirals all-time AHL list for goals scored. Austin Watson’s seven game point streak ended tonight. The Rochester Americans have now lost eight straight games.