The Admirals won 4-3 against the Lake Erie Monsters Friday night. The line combination of Taylor Beck, Francis Wathier, and Austin Watson helped the team get two of the team’s four goals in their second straight win.
“We’re sound,” said Milwaukee Admirals head coach Dean Evason of the team’s recent performances. “We’re playing the right way. Everyone is buying in. Our line combinations work. The group doesn’t care who is out of the lineup – who is up in Nashville – they just play the game. It’s a good mix.”
The Monsters came out as the better looking of the two teams in the first period. They had their reward at 4:18 of the frame when Markus Lauridsen scored his third goal of the season. Andrew Agozzino threw a pass from the left wing faceoff circle that picked out the open Lauridsen. The shot whipped past Marek Mazanec to make it 1-0 Monsters.
Vinny Saponari tied the game back up later in the period from a bizarre series. It appeared as though the puck was offsides – and the Monsters sort of reacted with a panic when they realized it wasn’t. Miikka Salomaki cradled it, passed to the left wing side of the cage for Mark Van Guilder, and Van’s pass to Saponari saw him patiently wait for the roof of the net to open for him. It did, and he beat Sami Aittokallio for his fifteenth goal of the season.
Then came an incredibly poor goal that allowed the Monsters to take a 2-1 lead into the locker room with fifty-seven seconds remaining in the first period. Mazanec was run over from an initial scoring chance by David van der Gulik. In the melee, Mazanec lost his goaltending stick and really didn’t have his bearings set as the play continued. Mazanec kicked his stick into the net as he tried gathering himself, set back in net, but Mark Olver’s shot beat him to the stick side – where Mazenec lacked the paddle to make a save. It was Olver’s fourteenth goal of the season. I still have troubles understanding why the play wasn’t blown dead for a goaltender interference call.
The Hockey Gods were there for the Admirals in the second period. They were able to score two goals in the period – both of which were down right spectacular.
Austin Watson scored his fifteenth goal of the season after a massive redirection from the end boards. Scott Valentine was rimming the puck around the boards from the right point and it hit a seam right at the trapezoid line. Aittokallio was looking around the other side of the net waiting for it to reappear. Watson had a tap in to make it 2-2.
“I guess I was just looking the right way,” said Austin Watson. “At the last second I saw it come out. If I don’t put that one away I’d be kicking myself.”
The Monsters took a too many men on the ice penalty in the dying minutes of the second period. Having looked great all night without the goal to show for it – the power-play unit delivered with Patrick Cehlin’s sixth goal of the season. Cehlin’s initial shot caused his stick to explode in half. He raced to the bench, grabbed a fresh twig, skated down the right wing wall, and fired a wrister that whistled into the net with 0.7 seconds remaining in the second period. I wonder if he scored that goal with someone else’s stick for as quick as that play happened.
Taylor Beck hit plenty of iron tonight: power-play, even strength, shorthanded, he pinged pipe a lot. Fortunately for him, Austin Watson set him up perfectly with a wing to wing pass that gave Beck a clean look on net for his fourteenth goal of the season – and first goal since the opening game of the Ads four-game road trip.
Goals of the bizarre continued with an Andrew Agozzino shot from the far left wing corner. The puck seemed to beat Mazanec right along the skate and near post and squeak in for Agozzino’s thirteenth goal of the season.
With the game tightened up at 4-3, and an empty net, the Admirals were able to survive a late push from the Monsters to extend their current point streak to four games. In the month of March, ten games, they are now 7-2-0-1 (15 points).
Ramblings: The team wore throwback uniforms tonight in honor of the 2004 Calder Cup Champions. They’ll be wearing them again for Sunday’s game against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Joonas Jarvinen and Simon Moser remained out with injury. Josh Shalla was a healthy scratch tonight. In the first period, following his goal, Vinny Saponari was injured and did not return from the game. He is probable for Sunday.