The Admirals won 1-0 in a shootout against the Chicago Wolves Tuesday night. The game was deadlocked all the way through regulation and overtime – and eventually even went to the sudden death rounds of the five round shootout.
The game was given its conclusion courtesy of Patrick Cehlin’s game-winning shootout goal. And Scott Darling capped off a thirty-six save shutout in the win for his fifth shutout of the season.
“It was a pretty good hockey game,” said a modest Milwaukee Admirals assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on 1250 Sports Radio WSSP. “A lot of guys played well. Chicago had their chances. Scott Darling was exceptional.”
This game was stunning for the goaltending and defensive efforts displayed from both sides. For the first time this season – the Chicago Wolves entered the third period scoreless. That scoreless trend lasted all the way to the shootout. Both Scott Darling and Jake Allen picked up shutouts for their regulation efforts.
The Wolves went first in the shootout and wheeled out their top scorer Ty Rattie – whose backhander missed wide. Mathieu Tousignant, the Admirals would-be leadoff hitter of late in these scenarios, did it again. Tousignant was the first man to put a puck in the net, first round of the shootout – second skater, and lifted a shot over Allen’s right shoulder.
Keith Aucoin answered right back in the second round of the shootout and give the Wolves their first taste of a goal in the game. He managed to beat Darling’s glove to make it 1-1. Taylor Beck followed but was stopped Allen’s paddle to keep things level out of two rounds of the shootout.
Not content with stress levels – the 1-1 scoreline in the shootout carried through five rounds and into sudden death. In the sixth round, after Derek Nesbitt was denied from a five hole attempt, Patrick Cehlin skated in from center – stayed center – fired between the circles – and beat Allen five hole to give the Admirals the 1-0 shootout victory.
Darling continued to display just how good he has been with the Admirals this season. His thirty-six save shutout tonight was his fifth shutout of the season and he has only made eighteen starts. He has been phenomenal when given the opportunity.
“When you keep [Scott Darling] hungry he always responds,” said Drulia. After he sat out a for lengthy periods of time with [Magnus Hellberg] playing and [Marek Mazanec] playing, then [Pekka Rinne] was down, then his injury, and all those types of things – his first game back, every time, he is exceptional. He does a lot of good things.”
Despite the lack of games played, which via minutes logged put him out of contention for many of the statistical categories such as goals against average or save percentage, Darling is now tied for second in the AHL in shutouts – trailing only his counterpart tonight, Allen, who earned his league leading sixth in a shootout defeat.
Ramblings: Prior to the game, the Milwaukee Admirals reassigned Josh Shalla to the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. Vinny Saponari returned to the lineup after an upper body injury he sustained against the Lake Erie Monsters last Friday. Scott Valentine moved into sole possession of the twentieth spot on the Admirals all-time AHL games played list with his one-hundred-and-eighty-seventh game with Milwaukee.
What are your reactions from this game? How brilliant has Scott Darling been for the Milwaukee Admirals this season? Shouldn’t Darling be the man in net heading towards the playoffs? Considering the playoff-like atmosphere, and potential that this could be a first round match up, what does this game say about the Admirals defense?