Coming into Saturday night’s contest against the Lake Erie Monsters – the Milwaukee Admirals had only trailed an opponent for 1:48 of ice time in five games. That was pushed to the point where the Admirals were only seven some odd minutes shy of their first loss of the season – it would have been a regulation loss – and it would have been a shutout against an offense that registered no less than three goals a game.
Up stepped Garrett Noonan who smashed in his first professional goal to equalize for the Admirals. Then the wild and crazy speed game that is the new AHL overtime format. And then Magnus Hellberg, really needing a good result tonight in relation to how superb Marek Mazanec has been, delivered where he has so often – a shootout. Hellberg now has won 6 career AHL shootouts and has stopped 31/37 attempts in the process.
These last two games that have trickled into overtime haven’t been the best performances that the Admirals have laid down this season. Yet they are finding ways to win them. Six games. Six wins. Four road games. Four road wins. Two overtime games. One overtime win. One shootout win.
I think what excites me the most about this year’s Admirals team isn’t this performance that we are seeing now. It’s how it is going to respond to hitting its first big wall of the season. When that happens. If that happens. I believe this team really could be special this year with the talent and amount of young leaders that it possesses.
After the game, I joined the scrum for head coach Dean Evason. I also had the chance to speak to Magnus Hellberg, Triston Grant, and Garrett Noonan. Here is what everyone had to say following the shootout victory.
Dean Evason on the Admirals six-game winning streak to start the season:
Evason talks about the importance of getting Hellberg involved:
Evason is enthused to talk about the new AHL OT format:
Evason on what Lake Erie did that disrupted the Admirals offense:
Evason provides an injury update on Mike Liambas and Patrick Cehlin:
Evason talks up the performance of Brendan Leipsic:
Magnus Hellberg on getting a chance to take part in this winning streak:
Hellberg on if Mazanec gave him any pointers in regards to the new OT format:
Hellberg’s philosophy on how he plays the shootout:
Triston Grant’s thoughts on the Admirals unbeaten start:
Grant, whose nose started to bleed again, and I converse about his fight:
Grant talks about team finding success early in the season:
Grant’s thoughts on gaining points and wins early in the season:
Garrett Noonan on Budish having to dodge the puck on his goal:
Noonan on the importance of his goal in the game:
Noonan talks about the transition for the young Admirals defense to AHL hockey:
Comments from the comments? Any questions or musings related to the AHL’s overtime format being used this season? Do you prefer three-on-three over a shootout? What does the performance of Magnus Hellberg tonight do to your confidence level in him? Are we looking at a 1-A, 1-B goaltending situation?