The Admirals won 4-1 against the Rockford IceHogs Friday night. With the victory the Ads have officially clinched a playoff spot for the twelfth consecutive season.
The Admirals scored the opener tonight just seven seconds into a power-play. Klas Dahlbeck flipped a puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty. After Colton Sissons won the draw, the puck circulated down by the net to Miikka Salomaki who was all alone by netminder Jason LaBarbera. Salomaki passed across the veteran goalie to Filip Forsberg on the left wing who scored on a one-timer for his thirteenth goal of the season.
We then had a fight of the year candidate as far as the Admirals are concerned. This whole situation was a spillover from an earlier incident in which Francis Wathier hit d-man Adam Clendening into the boards at an awkward angle. Wathier didn’t get called for any penalty from the play – but that didn’t stop Brandon Mashinter from wanting to drop the gloves with him. The two landed big time right handed bombs and resulted in Mashinter getting really bloodied by Wathier. You can give the win to Wathier in your fight cards.
With just over a minute remaining in the second period the Admirals extended their lead to 2-0. Wathier was skating down the right wing and fired a puck through the net front traffic to Taylor Beck. The eventual shot by Beck was deflected in by Austin Watson who was racing in on LaBarbera. The goal went under review before officially being counted as Watson’s eighteenth goal of the season.
As the third period neared the halfway point Teuvo Teravainen marked his AHL debut with a goal courtesy of Scott Valentine. With the puck behind Marek Mazanec’s net, Valentine passed the puck out into the slot if he thought Scott Ford was there. He wasn’t – but Teravainen was for a quickfire goal to make it a one-goal game.
Valentine went from lowlight to highlight in the space of five minutes. After his blunder in his own defensive end – Valentine scored his second goal of the season to restore the Admirals two-goal lead. He received a feed from Simon Moser, entered from the right wing, and whipped a wrister over the blocker of LaBarbera to make it a 3-1 game.
The Admirals sealed this one with a long range empty netter by Colton Sissons for his twenty-sixth goal of the season. The game ended 4-1 and the Admirals officially punched their ticket into the 2014 AHL Calder Cup Playoffs. It is the Admirals twelfth consecutive season of playoff hockey.
Mazanec, who may have been unfortunate not to earn his first AHL shutout tonight, was named the first star of this game. He stopped twenty-five of twenty-six shots faced tonight. It goes down as his sixteenth win of the season and, after so many two or more goals allowed performances, he has picked up back-to-back games of one goal hockey. He’s starting to get fired up at the right time.
Ramblings: Simon Moser made his return to the lineup tonight after missing fourteen games with a left shoulder injury sustained on 3/7/14 against these very same IceHogs. Defensemen Scott Ford and Scott Valentine also returned tonight having missed Tuesday’s game in Milwaukee.