The Admirals won 4-0 on the road against the Iowa Wild Saturday night. It is only the third time in team history that the Milwaukee Admirals will have started the season off with four-consecutive wins. You’d have to go back to the 1988-89 and 1982-83 seasons to find the other two.
Tonight’s standout performers were highlighted with man in net shutting the door and another picking up a natural hat trick. Marek Mazanec earned his first career AHL shutout by stopping all twenty-nine shots he faced in net tonight. And rookie winger Viktor Arvidsson scored the Admirals first road hat trick since 3/29/09 when Mike Santorelli did so in Chicago.
The Admirals fourth line kept their solid start to the season going by scoring tonight’s opening goal. Zach Budish fired a low-wrister from the right wing that netminder Johan Gustafsson kicked back into the slot. Joe Pendenza’s center-lane drive saw him get to the rebound before Gustafsson could spot the puck. It was a tap in for Pendenza – his second goal of the season.
After a frantic night for the penalty box last night there was only one penalty called in the first period. The Wild’s captain Stephane Veilleux was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct as he was on the bench.
The resulting power-play saw Viktor Arvidsson score his second goal of the season. The Wild’s penalty kill was pressuring the puck carrier heavily and the Admirals cycled along the wall to escape the thick puck pursuit. Garrett Noonan jumped up on the play and stationed himself behind the net before laying a pass off to Arvidsson that was taken first-time. The shot would have missed the net completely if not for the unintentional assistance of ex-Admiral Jonathon Blum. The puck hit his leg and flew past his goaltender to give the Ads a 2-0 lead in the first period.
Arvidsson’s scoring would continue in the second period as he tallied two more timed to complete a natural hat trick. For his second goal of the night he was leading a two-on-one rush with Triston Grant on the left wing side of him. Rather than slip a pass, Arvidsson faked a slap shot and threw a change-up along the ice and past Gustafsson’s five hole to make it 3-0.
On the Admirals second power-play of the night – Arvidsson would complete his first North American hat trick with an absolute howitzer. His slap shot was borderline violent and resulted in his fourth goal of the season, third goal of the night, and third power-play goal of this young season.
The third period was really cruise mode for the Admirals. The defending stayed strong and allowed for a first career AHL shutout for Marek Mazanec. The 23-year old Czech never looked rattled for a moment in tonight’s game. He stopped all twenty-nine shots he faced tonight. It’s the fourth time in two seasons that Admirals have shutout the Wild.
Ramblings: The defensive shuffling continued tonight with Taylor Aronson being brought back into the lineup at the expense of Jimmy Oligny. Jonathan-Ismael Diaby kept his place in the team-sheet for his second appearance of the season. Scratches outside of Oligny included the injured pair of Patrick Cehlin and Mike Liambas. The hat trick by Viktor Arvidsson was the first by an Admiral since Austin Watson’s teddy bear toss night performance on 4/12/14 against the Chicago Wolves. Raphael Bussieres of the Iowa Wild was injured late in the second period and did not return to the contest. The Admirals have scored 17 goals in 4 games this season. The next closest in the AHL are the Bridgeport Sound Tigers with 15 goals.
Thoughts from tonight’s game? Is Marek Mazanec becoming a rock for a young Admirals defense? Is there something wrong with Colton Sissons and Miikka Salomaki offensively or are the rookies just looking that much better through four games? How long can this unbeaten run to start the season last for the Milwaukee Admirals?