The Admirals won 3-0 against the Iowa Wild Sunday night. In his twenty-fifth game of the season Scott Darling picked up his sixth shutout of the season. He has faced 113 shots on goal against the Wild and has only allowed one goal. It was his third shutout against the Wild this season
“Darling has Iowa’s number for whatever reason,” said assistant coach Stan Drulia after the game on 1250 Sports Radio WSSP. “We didn’t give him a whole lot today but there was a big breakaway that he stopped in the second period that kept it at 1-0. There were a couple flurries there in the third that he was big and strong. He defended the net real well.”
In the second period, following an interference call taken by Steven Kampfer, the Wild nearly scored shorthanded. Tyler Graovac picked the pocket of Filip Forsberg in the neutral zone. Standing tall, as he has all season against the Wild, was Scott Darling – who stopped the shorthanded breakaway and froze the puck.
Just as that very same penalty came to a close – Charles-Olivier Roussel scored his fourth goal of the season to give the Admirals a 1-0 lead. Roussel took care of this whole play by himself. He raced through neutral, carried the puck down the slot, and wired a wrist shot past goaltender Joel Martin to score unassisted.
The Admirals picked up two more goals in the third period – both coming from pucks that were skipping around Martin in the Iowa net.
Mathieu Tousignant scored his eighth goal of the season after an initial shot by Vinny Saponari was pushed out into the left wing. Tousignant was in the right place at the right time to corral the puck and put a shot on target to make it a two-goal game.
When Dylan Labbe was called for a hook over halfway through the third period – Francis Wathier scored his ninth goal of the season and fourth since joining the Admirals from the Texas Stars. A solid shot from Saponari from the left wing wall caused a loose puck scramble in front of the net. Wathier, like Tousignant before him, was in the perfect spot to snag a goal – and that would be the final tally of the game.
The Admirals win today, combined with a shootout loss for the Abbotsford Heat, means that Milwaukee has officially leaped into fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The Admirals have two-games remaining (home/road) while the Heat have three remaining road games to end the season.
Ramblings: Tonight’s lineup saw the professional debuts of Mikko Vainonen and Kirill Gotovets. In addition to the roster tonight: Mike Liambas (scratch, upper body injury), Mark Van Guilder (scratch, lower lody injury), Taylor Beck (healthy scratch), Scott Ford (healthy scratch), Joe Piskula (healthy scratch), Bryan Rodney (healthy scratch), and Joonas Jarvinen (healthy scratch). With the Admirals captains all out today the team gave the “A” patches out to Scott Valentine, Austin Watson, and Francis Wathier.
Thoughts on today’s game? What more can be said about Scott Darling this season? How well do you think the newbies all played today for the Admirals? How do you feel about the Admirals now becoming the fifth seed in Conference?